Author Archives: Sean Durrant

About Sean Durrant

I'm a family man, on my first and only marriage, with two grown up kids and too many pets. I have a real passion and interest in the way technology is changing the world we live in.

Why One Size Doesn’t Fit All

CV Advice

How To Get More Interest In Your CV

After years of picking through countless shortlists of candidates, I’ve been forced to develop ever efficient ways of recruiting.

So when dealing with ad response, or merely searching through CV after CV to find the exact skills i’m looking for – I tend to go immediately to the most recent entry and start looking for proof that you can do the job that I’ve been asked to find someone for.

This is just how I recruit.

Everyone’s different. I’m a logical person with (some may allege a slight autistic streak) so I look for facts.

The other reason I do this is because I’ve had countless experiences of Hiring Managers and HR people doing exactly the same thing.

I KNOW If you’ve done a certain type of job you have transferrable skills. (I’ll deal with “if you gave me a little bit of training I’d be up to speed in no time” in another blog post).

But if I send a CV to a client, and they can’t see you’ve done the job they want you to do, there is potential for said client to feel I may not have found them the right person.

I’m afraid the spray and pray brigade have ruined it for all of us.

When you’re applying for a job, look at the must haves, work out where you’ve done it, and then add it to your CV.

The simple fact that you wrote it will mean that it will support what I’m saying, and give the client some comfort.

As an added bonus you’re including more keywords on your CV making it easier to write.

If you have a question about this post, please leave a comment 🙂

image credit


Who Are You?


I was recently asked why we need copies of passports and other forms of identification from candidates that we register.

The person said it all sounded a bit suspicious and in this day and age of Data Theft was very concerned that it was being asked for.

For some time now in fact ever since 2003 it’s been a requirement for Employment Business to confirm the identity of the worker.


The rules say

Regulation 19 – Confirmation to be obtained about a work-seeker

Provides that an employment agency or employment business must not introduce or supply a work-seeker to a hirer unless it has obtained confirmation:

(a) of the identity of the work-seeker. This will mean seeing any document which provides evidence of the work-seeker’s identity, such as his/her passport, driving licence, birth certificate.

By virtue of regulation 32(6) this will extend to those persons provided through limited company contractors, where the notice under regulation 32(9) to opt out of the scope of the Regulations has not been given;

The full document can be read at

Additionally the Preventing Illegal Working rules by the UK Border Agency added a requirement to the process as well.

Whilst there is no legal requirement to carry out the UKBA prescribed checks, where these checks have not been carried out and an illegal worker is found, businesses can be fined up to £20,000 per worker.

Where UKBA believes the business was knowingly employing an illegal worker a criminal prosecution could be brought carrying with it an unlimited fine and a potential jail term.

There are regular news reports of fines being levied to companies and Agencies to ensure that we are all reminded of the importance of confirming our candidates right to work in the UK

Some examples can be found on my Flickr page


Show Me The Money

Salaries Advertised by Recruiters

Image Credit for Salaries Aren’t Always Advertised by Recruitment Agencies

Often you’ll see jobs advertised by a Recruitment Agency and there aren’t any salary details.

It’s Crazy (right?)

You may or may not appreciate the reason for this, so I wanted to give an explanation as to why sometimes I’ve advertised roles and haven’t included salary details.

Sometimes The Client Doesn’t Have A Pay Structure.

I’ve dealt with companies that are small to medium sized businesses, and in some cases the company doesn’t have a salary structure in place.

This often happened when I was working with Engineering Machine Shops to find CNC Machinists.

They started off small, needed some help, hired a person, negotiated the wages on the day, and then rinsed and repeated the whole process the next time they needed someone else.

They ended up with different people, doing similar jobs, on different rates of pay.

So at best they could give me a salary range, but there would always be a small part of them that didn’t really want to say, in case they quoted an amount that was “too high”.

Or tsometimes it was because they didn’t want to lose a good candidate that could be of value to the business.

So they said “NEGOTIABLE”

Sometimes The Client Is Worried

Occasionally people will see an advert for a job that looks like it may be at their company. It could even be their job, they think.

So they call up to find out what they can, posing as an interested candidate (some Recruiters do this as well but that’s another Blog post)

The salary on offer looks far more than they’re being paid for doing a similar job (see above), and so they may complain, or ask some pretty awkward questions of their line manager or HR representative.

Far easier for the client to tell the agency that they aren’t allowed to advertise salaries, and avoid the pain, AND possibly reap some of the benefits mentioned earlier.

This can happen in small, and large companies, and at some point in my career I’ve seen it in both.

But what if the salary IS mentioned but it seems either too high or too low?

This happens also.

In the case of too low the company could either be out of step with salary levels for the role in question, or they could be aiming to keep their costs down.

In the case of too high, if it’s an agency advert, then it could be that the Recruiter has made sure the package looks as attractive as possible, to get the most response from the advert, or that the company in question like to pay well to attract and retain top talent

What I would say is that whenever there is a range, don’t immediately assume that you’re going to achieve the very top, or get offered the very bottom.

My Opinion

Personally I would always prefer to be open and up front about the salary range at the outset.

If the company have a pay structure in place then it shouldn’t be an issue, if they don’t, then there will always be an unofficial range.

Would YOU apply for an advertised job if no salary indication was given? Click the image below to take my survey and answer 3 questions.

Leave a comment below and when I’ve collected 100 responses I’ll send you a copy of the results.

Writing A CV Is Hard!

The last time I wrote a CV I found it REALLY hard.

I was asked to start a business with a former work colleague, and I had to put something together to go along with a business plan.

Because I was working with an organisation that specialised in Recruitment funding, I believed that I wouldn’t have to go into great detail, they were in the business, just giving my job title and some basic information would probably be enough (or so I thought).

This turned out not to be the case, and so I was disappointed, maybe even a little offended when I was asked for more information.

So I started to work on my CV.

CV Writing

Image Credit for Writing a CV is Hard

As an experienced Manager of a Recruitment Agency, I’d seen plenty of CVs in my time, but for some reason……………..Nothing.

Writers Block?

I’d managed to stretch it out to about 3 lines when I realised that it wasn’t showing my backers anything close to my potential or any of my achievements.

Then I remembered something a writer had once said on a podcast.

How I Solved The Problem

He said “if you want to learn to write, then you need to write and write and write and write and write and write and write”.

Basically what he was saying is that you need to just dive in.

Don’t worry about the content or the quality at this stage (see I’m doing it now :), just start the process of writing, and then refine what you’ve written.

And then leave it.

And then refine it.

And then leave it.

So I started to make a list of everything I’d ever done in my current role.

I listed every detail, no matter how small, every achievement no matter how big 😉 and just kept adding to the list.

I closed my eyes and recalled everything I’d done during a typical working day, the tools I’d used to do it, and who I contacted to get it done.

By the time I finished I had too much information, so started trimming back the not so important stuff (to be honest there was quite a lot). But the point was that not only had I pushed past my writers block, but also had given a more comprehensive account of the role I’d held.

If you’re having trouble putting together your CV try it – you may be surprised.

Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Incredulity?

Leave a comment.

I won’t mind…….


How Recruitment Agencies Pay

Recruitment Agency Pay

Who Pays You

When working for a Recruitment Agency on a Temporary or a Contract Basis it’s the Recruitment Agency that’s normally responsible for making sure you get paid.

In most cases you’ll be offered a choice about HOW you will be paid. You may be asked if you want to be paid PAYE or Limited Company.

The best option on how to be paid will depend on your own circumstances and the type of contract you’re working on.

I’ll cover the options for you as best I can but as always before making a decision you should consult your financial advisor or local tax office. (I am NOT giving financial or Tax advice here)

The Options


This is fairly straightforward and will be familiar to you if you’ve ever been an employee of a UK company and been paid PAYE.

The net amount of wages agreed is paid to you MINUS deductions such as tax, and national insurance

Holiday is also accrued on your behalf, in line with the working time directive.

Umbrella Companies

Umbrella Companies are a commercial organisation that will provide a payment service to you.

There will be a small fee for their service which will be agreed with you at the outset.

This isn’t an uncommon way to be paid; hundreds of thousands of contractors use the services of these companies every day.

You can find out more about them at this Wiki page about Umbrella Companies.

Limited Companies

This is normally the option used for individuals that are intending to freelance on a long-term basis and build a serious business.

You would establish a limited company that would be registered at Companies House and you would become a Director of it.

Money would be paid to your company in exchange for the work you do and you would then pay yourself wages from any of the profits.

If you intend to establish a Limited Company it’s important you speak to an Accountant and your local tax office.

The Next Step

You need to check with the Employment Business what options they can offer to pay you and then decide which method is best for you.

If you have any further questions about any of these methods of payment please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help.


Permanent Recruitment Solutions

Recruitment Agency Permanent Recruitment
Image Credit
 A lot of Employment Agencies will find you a Permanent job.

In fact when you’re searching for a permanent job it can sometimes be hard to find jobs NOT being advertised by Employment Agencies (I’m going to shorten it to EA if you don’t mind, I’m getting fed up with typing Employment Agencies all the time).

But if you don’t understand how it works or what’s in it for the agency then it can seem a bit bewildering, and if you’re only point of reference is the Job Centre or whatever they’re called now then this may shed some light on the whole thing for you.

An EA (remember Employment Agency) is the name for a business that will place people into permanent roles.

All EAs are governed by the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003.

I’ll split Permanent Recruitment into 3 areas and give you my understanding of all of them.

In every one of these cases the Hiring Company is responsible for paying any fees to the Agency.

File Search

This is one of the names given to the most common type of Permanent Recruitment.

This is where a company asks an EA to help them find someone (they have to ask! the EA can’t just see a company advertising, copy it, and then start firing off CVs that they hope will be a match – although I reckon some of them do) and the EA will then search their database and use other means to find the best person that matches the brief.

Sometimes the Recruiter will know suitable candidates, as a result of the relationship they’ve built up over the years, and will know just the right person.

Other times they will need to go through hundreds of names (yes hundreds) to draw up a credible shortlist which will ultimately be whittled down to the best 3.

Once this is done, the CVs should be presented with a justification as to why they’re a good match, and then the client will arrange to interview to make their own mind up.

This isn’t the end of the process, during the placement the EA should liaise between both parties until the placement is successfully concluded.

Once the person start the agency is then paid an Introduction Fee.

This can vary greatly depending on the role but typically will be a 4 – 5 figure sum (and I’m not including the number after the decimal point either).

If the placement isn’t successful there will often be a rebate period in which the company would see a percentage or sometimes even the entire fee returned.

Search & Selection

This is a similar process but with often a different fee structure (either more expensive because it tends to be used at the higher salary levels, or staged payments).

In this process the company will again take the brief, but will research and find people in an appropriate role and approach them on behalf of their client.

If they’re felt to be suitable the EA will submit a shortlist and then in agreement with the client will draw up a list of candidates to be interviewed ultimately ending in a placement.

Head Hunting

I’ve heard this term used, in my opinion wrongly, a number of times and I’ll give you my understanding.

Head Hunting is where a company KNOW who they want by name and ask the EA to approach them on their behalf.

Again they give the EA the brief. The EA will generally carry out face-to-face interviews and make recommendations, and the client will carry out their process and make an offer.

Ninety nine per cent of the Permanent recruitment solutions I’ve offered has always been the first type, hence why the explanations on the last 2 may be subject to minor corrections, and a bit brief.