Category: Recruitment

Induction and onboarding for new starts

Starting as a new HR Account Manager at Gravitate HR, I wondered what to expect from my new role and work colleagues.…..I was instantly made to feel welcome which was no real surprise as the whole onboarding experience to date had been really good.

It is so important for a company no matter how large or small to consider the onboarding experience ensuring you are taking into account the whole process from before an employee joins right through to their first day, first week, first month and then beyond.

An Induction refers to the process where employees acclimatises to their new job and working environment in terms of getting to understand their role, the business and build up working relationships within their new teams.

A good induction programme should contain the following elements:

– On the first day, a tour of the office/building to ensure your new employee knows where all the facilities are and including practical information such as opening hours, when the fire alarm tests take place etc.
– An overview of the organisation’s history, its culture and values, and its products and services
– A clear outline of the job/role requirements including showing how the employee fits into the team and how their role fits with the organisation’s strategy and goals
– The expected performance and behaviour you expect from the employee
– Explanation of terms and conditions including key policies & procedures – this may be in the form of a Company Handbook
– An awareness of other functions within the organisation, and how the employee fits within that
– Meeting/s with key employees (either face to face or through the use of technology)
– Providing health and safety information which is a legal requirement

Here at Gravitate HR, we can help support you with Recruitment and Induction so if you require any help or support please give me or one of my colleagues a ring.

Name-Blind CVs: An End to Recruitment Bias?

In October this year, David Cameron announced during his Party Conference Speech that the UK is in need of tackling recruitment bias to support equality and the fight against discrimination during recruitment.

The government has pledged to support a scheme whereby organizations can voluntarily commit to process job applications on a name blind basis, although the Prime Minister is actively encouraging large organizations to sign up. What this would mean is that job applications would no longer contain the names of candidates, and by consequence reduce any unconscious recruitment bias by only showing a candidate’s previous skills and experience.

What spurred on this development?

The government has long been considering how to deal with discrimination and bias in recruitment following research findings that were published in 2009. It was around this time that the government was particularly concerned about racial discrimination towards employees with African and Asian names. A collaboration between the National Centre for Social Research and the Department for Work and Pensions found that candidates who appeared to be white needed to send nine applications before they were invited to interview. Additionally, ethnic minority candidates with the same or similar skills and experience had to send 16 applications before receiving an invitation to interview.

As the government has become increasingly aware of this problem, David Cameron’s recent speech helped to illustrate the severity of this situation. The following were two of the statements he made: “Do you know that in our country today, even if they have exactly the same qualifications, people with white-sounding names are nearly twice as likely to get callbacks for jobs than people with ethnic-sounding names?” … “One young black girl had to change her name to Elizabeth before she got any calls to interviews. That, in 21st-century Britain, is disgraceful.”

Where is this happening?

Since the start of this government pledge there have been a number of organizations that have signed up and who between all of them employ 1.8 million people in the UK alone. These organizations, according to a government press release have so far included; The Civil Service, Teach First, HSBC, Deloitte, Virgin Money, KPMG, BBC, NHS, learndirect and local government. Additionally, UCAS, the University and Colleges Admissions Service have also agreed to name blind applications from 2017 onwards.

As more and more organizations sign up to the scheme, it is becoming clearer that this initiative is growing in popularity. It is possible that these changes alone will go on to influence the way in which many businesses throughout the UK handle their recruitment process.

What will the future determine?

Ultimately it will be time that tells us the extent to which organizations recognize this government pledge as being either a positive or negative initiative. An argument which supports the benefit of such a scheme suggests that employers may identify talent which may have not otherwise been identified. Conversely, from a sceptical perspective it may also be the case that despite best efforts in name blinding applications, the eventual interviews will still carry the same unconscious bias problem in the recruitment process.

If you would like to find out more information about this blog please contact Tom at

Can I provide a bad reference?

Reference Requests

Requesting a reference from your new employee’s previous employers is a very common practice within the recruitment process, but dealing with such requests can sometimes be tricky.

For example, if you receive a reference request regarding a difficult or poor-performing ex-employee, do you need to inform their new prospective employer of the issues that you encountered with them? And can you give an ex-employee a bad reference? In providing a reference as an employer, you have a duty of care to the organisation which has made the request. Many managers’ concern is therefore that they will be liable if they recommend an employee and the new employer then suffers damages due to the employee’s incompetence. But on the other hand, you will equally have a duty of care to the ex-employee and cannot provide a misleading reference. An ex –employee could possibly make a claim to the employment tribunal if you have provided a negative reference. Therefore you must ensure that your response to the request is objective and fair, and does not include any personal opinions. For example, if you inform the requester that the employee was dismissed for gross misconduct, you must therefore stick to the facts of the dismissal only.

Therefore it is possible to give a bad reference if it is not malicious and is based entirely on fact, but due to the possible legal implications, many employers choose to only provide bare minimum information on the individual’s employment with the company. If the request asks you to comment on the individuals performance and attendance etc., you do not legally have to respond to these questions, but can instead state that it is your policy to provide only the basic facts of employment. These would usually include dates of employment, and job title. If you choose to take this safer option, then you should ensure that this is your policy for all employees as not to discriminate. It is also advisable that you ask that all requests go to HR or a designated manager as to ensure that responses are consistent.

However, if you are on the other end, as the requester, receiving such basic information can be frustrating. Many employers will make their offer of employment subject to receiving satisfactory references and therefore not receiving full details may concern managers. However, it is important that you do not make any assumptions upon receiving such a reference as this may be the company’s general policy as discussed above, and will not necessarily mean that there are any concerns surrounding the employee’s suitability for the job. If you are unsure, you can always ask your new employee to provide with you with details of another referee in order to try and gain more information.

Receiving a bad reference will of course cause even greater concern, but before immediately withdrawing your offer of employment you should keep in mind that bad references may not be truthful as they may be biased. You should decide whether the reference appears to be factual or based on opinion and whether the information given is relevant to the role.

Although a very common practice, reference requests can be quite complex due to their legal implications. If you would like advice or assistance in either responding to or making a request, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Gravitate HR team on 0131 225 7458.

Part Time Business Administrator Vacancy at Gravitate HR

Part time Business Administrator

We have an opportunity for an organised and efficient administrator to join the business to take responsibility for the bookkeeping, online accounting package, IT applications and office management. Full job description is available below. If you are interested email your CV to

Part Time Business Administrator [PDF – 379kB] Job Description

We are recruiting…

Gravitate HR are recruiting…

We are recruiting for an HR Account Manager to join our team. If you are interested, and want more information, please click on the link

Hard of Hearing Job Interview Strategies

Interview tips for the hard of hearing

Hearing loss is common in the UK, perhaps even more than you think. The Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID), a charitable organisation working on behalf of those suffering from hearing loss, is reporting an estimated 9 million people hard of hearing living in the UK. In the RNID 2005 survey it emerged that out of the UK’s 9 million hard of hearing, 2.5 million are between the ages of 16 to 60 years which also represents a large majority of the active job market.

It is important to remember that in the UK employers have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments based on your condition. Before attending your first interview, be it a phone or face to face interview you should disclose your hearing condition. If you are using a recruitment agency, they will share this information with the employer and they will help you prepare for the interview by suggesting some of their tips. If you are applying directly, sharing this information will help eliminate unexpected concerns and misconceptions. People who suffer from hearing loss without disclosing their condition or without taking steps to improve the situation could be seen as difficult to work with by their co-workers or by their managers, a situation you could easily avoid.

Hearing loss, especially noise induced hearing loss which can start at any age and age-related hearing loss which starts at the age of 40, affects many job seekers. Here are couple of strategies, which will help to better manage the situation and to improve job interview chances.

Dealing with the phone interview

Often the first stage of the recruitment process is a phone interview. Here are couple of tips you should consider using.

  • 1. Have a written interview instead – if you are more comfortable having a written interview instead of a phone interview, you should ask for this. Employers have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments and often they will oblige.
  • 2. Amplify the telephone sound – it is important that you are able to concentrate on hearing the interviewer rather than the background noise, so you will need to choose the right environment and make sure your telephone is loud enough for you. Consider increasing the volume on your phone and ask the agency recruiter to conduct a mock interview. If you find that you are having trouble hearing, you should consider using an external amplifier or extra loud phone. The external amplifier in particular fits on the phone, is portable and quite cheap.
  • 3. Be prepared – the employer is most interested in your achievements and experience. Before the interview, take the time to prepare a list of your achievements and how the employer can benefit from your experience. This is helpful for anyone having a telephone interview and even more so for the hard of hearing because it can reduce stress and let you focus on listening to the question rather than worrying about the answer.
  • 4. Think about your breathing and control your nerves – some people who suffer from hearing loss, could have other associated conditions such as reduced self confidence and therefore feel more nervous. Before you start talking, take two deep breaths, as it will help you to slow down when you start to speak and create a more confident first impression.

Dealing with face to face interviews

The most common type of job interview is the face to face job interview. You might have one face to face interview with your potential employers or several depending on the position.

  • 5. Position yourself accordingly during the interview – consider these strategies to help you hear the interviewer. Move closer and position yourself so that you are facing the interviewer. Ensure that the room is well lit and you can see the interviewer clearly. Watch the speaker’s face, lips and gestures for clues as to what’s being said.
  • 6. Fill in words – don’t strain to hear every word. People with normal hearing miss words during an interview as well and ‘fill in’ the missing words to understand the concept. You should adopt the same strategy.
  • 7. Use a hearing aid – there are levels of hearing loss and by far the most common is mild to moderate hearing loss. The treatment is often a recommendation to wear a hearing aid. This is a micro-computer which can amplify external sounds and deliver those straight to your ear canal. Many aids nowadays are so small that they fit right inside the ear canal and are hardly noticeable, should you have any concerns about your appearance. Talk to your hearing centre about your hearing aids options.
  • 8. Pay attention to your body language – your verbal content only provides 7% of the message the interviewer is receiving from you therefore both your body language (55% of the message) and the way you speak such as voice tone (38%) are more important than the actual words you use in your job interview answers. The best way to be aware of your interview body language is to practice in front of a mirror. Also pay attention to the interviewer’s body language. You ideally want the interviewer to be doing the same things you are; like maintaining eye contact, nodding, smiling and leaning forward.

For more information…

Article by hearing aid seller, Hearing Direct. If you wish to find out more about hearing loss you can read our guide to hearing and hearing loss.

Contact Gravitate HR on 0131 225 7458

or visit:

18 top tips on surviving your first month in a new job

The first month to six months of a job are the most overwhelming! You will learning job-specific processes and systems and building a new professional network, all while doing the job you were hired for. Here are our top tips on how to settle into and succeed in your new job.

Your First Week

1. Take care of administrative stuff

Pay a visit to HR and anyone else you need to see to get started. Complete the necessary paperwork and have your passport and driving licence ready. Get your computer passwords, building pass and voicemail system set up.

2. Attend an induction

Attend all relevant induction sessions. They are a good way to meet people who are also new and find out more about company systems and processes and culture. If you find you have time between appointments use the time to do online research. Understand your company’s vision, main competitors, current challenges and industry trends.

3. Project positive energy

Look and act as if you’re happy to be joining the team. Show appreciation to everyone who helps you learn the ropes and that you’re eager to learn by asking questions, watching your colleagues and doing extra work in your own time. Your boss wants to see that you are dedicated to your new job.

4. Ask questions

No one person holds all the answers or is always available. So it pays to identify your best sources for questions on different topics from your boss. If you don’t understand anything ask. It’s the only time you get to ask stupid questions!

5. Take Notes

Listen carefully to instructions and advice that people offer and write things down. Also if you repeat back instructions in your own words it will help you remember and ensure you understand things correctly. Listen 80 percent and talk 20 percent. You’ll get more respect by listening and absorbing rather than by showing off how much you know.

6. Get to know your colleagues

Learn as many names as possible. Introduce yourself and find out what people’s roles are and how long they’ve been with company. If you’re stuck on something, go to somebody you already met and ask who the best person is to answer your question.

7. Learn by doing

Jump in and start doing your work. Instructions and advice may get you started but doing is the best way to learn. Remember to check in with your boss half way through to make sure you’re on the right track.

Your Second Week

8. Get a clear picture of your boss’s expectations

Develop a clear understanding of your boss’s expectations of you to prevent any gaps in communication. Find out what your priorities and objectives are, how your performance will be evaluated and how often he/she would like to meet you for updates.

9. Develop a rapport with your boss

In the first few weeks, request regular meetings with your boss. He/she is not a mind-reader, so keep him/her informed of how you are doing. Just don’t bring every little problem. For minor issues ask for help from your colleagues. Going forward, set up weekly or monthly catch ups to discuss your projects, ideas, questions and solutions. 10. Network Communicate in person rather than email whenever possible. Attend staff meetings and professional conferences. Ask your new colleagues if they’d like to lunch. This is a great way to find out more about the office culture. Also find out who the key players and decision-makers are.

Your Third Week

11. Get to know your boss

Ask your new boss how he or she prefers to communicate. Some bosses prefer face-to-face contact and some prefer e-mails. Understand the amount, type and frequency of information your boss requires. Your boss’s preferences are important and the better you understand them, the better you will work with him/her.

12. Ask for feedback

Ask for feedback halfway through your first task or project to make sure you’ve correctly understood what’s needed and that you’re on the right track. If you are not, ask about ways you can improve your performance. If you are feeling overwhelmed or overloaded ask your boss to prioritise when she gives you a list of tasks and remind him/her of any other commitments.

13. Understand the office culture

Learn how employees in the new company operate, as it’s probably different from what you’re used to. Observe and ask questions first before initiating any change. Never feel pressured to make quick decisions. You can always say “I’ll get back to you”, instead of taking quick decisions that you may regret.

Your Fourth Week

14. Keep up your consistency

Make sure that you are as professional now as you were on your first day but more importantly try and relax and enjoy your new role. Remember you’re still new to the team, so treat everybody with respect.

15. Find a Mentor

As you get introduced to senior staff, think about developing a mentoring relationship with a manager who is a level above you and not in your department. By finding a mentor, you will learn the culture of your new environment faster, fit into your new job easier and gain valuable insight.

16. Find solutions, not problems

Don’t take a problem to your boss without offering two or three possible solutions at the same time. You want your boss to think of you as a problem-solver. Tell him about a couple of scenarios and discuss the pros and cons of each and then come up with a solution together.

17. Track Accomplishments

Focus on doing a great job and keep a list of what you’re doing right. It’ll help you stay on track and will come in handy when it’s review time. Your boss will no doubt have a lot of stuff on their plate and won’t always be aware of what you’ve accomplished.

18. Have a “How am I doing?” meeting with your boss

During this initial learning curve, it is normal to feel like your contributions are inadequate. You should speak to your manager for feedback to reassure yourself that you’re on the right track. It will also help you identify any professional development courses to go on.

Guest post by Nikki Ruth, founder of My CV and Me Nikki offers interview coaching and career coaching service which are affordable and personalised.