Friday, 17 December 2010

Christmas Top 10

Hello Again
New Year News 
Well that went quickly! Another festive period is almost upon us here at the expanding Picture More office. We will be announcing exciting new members of the team in the New Year and have continued to place more and more high quality candidates into permanent and contract roles. Our consultancy is now an official supply partner of another “Magic Circle” law firm in London.

We also stretched our global wings again by placing some great professionals in America. As usual we would like to thank our client organisations for working with us and send our congratulations and gratitude to all the people who have represented us so brilliantly in 2010. We told you the downturn was going to ease!

Christmas Top 10 
Despite our positive news we know many of you are still looking for your next roles. Our vision is to become the first choice IT recruitment consultancy for professional services and because our clients demand the highest standards we like to share the insight you need to help you to fit the profile. It seems you like this too because we have looked at our most popular blog posts over the last 2 years and it is the job hunting advice that really gets you going. So Pop Pickers, this December we present our seasonal top 10 tips…

At number 10: Make sure that the interests on your CV are genuine and try and have one each that cover the following criteria:

• Evidence of teamwork

• Something eye-catching

• Something you really enjoy and can enthuse about

Mr X had done that back in August 2009 and he was a very employable man.

At number 9: In October 2009 we talked about online job boards. This was surprisingly important because it is one of the places recruiters will look for you. The tip is to complete the online forms and use different ways of describing what you do to make sure people find you.

At number 8 there are various elements to this idea including one of our top 3. A tip from December 2009 was to increase your profile. You can blog, write articles and white papers. You can set up a LinkedIn site and share expertise in online discussion groups. You could put your CV on the job-boards. Be visibly good at your job, let people know what you are doing and who for, make it easy for people to find you.

Number 7. In an ambitious blog in October 2009 we advocated adding new skills to your toolkit. Branch out from your core competence and learn about marketing, trading, HR or a language – anything that could differentiate you from the other 300 people with the same core skills applying for the same job.

Moving up to number 6 we remind you to be business focused. Hopefully this seems obvious to you, the best candidates for IT roles are not mere techies but understand wider business concepts and their own effect on the bottom line. We talk about this a lot and brought it up last January incidentally we also said that the first quarter is statistically the best for finding a new role so why not go for it in the New Year!

At number 5 we remind you of a very simple tip that some people forget is to be polite to everyone you talk to in your search. This includes recruitment professionals, people in your network, journalists and people from industry bodies. Recruitment consultants want to place the best people for their clients and the best people are not rude. Remember that when the phone rings.

Holding steady at number 4 is this combination of tips from August 2009: Be prepared for interviews. Back then we broke it down under key headings:

• Only go for jobs you really want.
• Be ready for any question

• Practise!

So that’s three tips really and there are plenty more if you look at our permanent interview tips page.

Actually you can have three more straight away. We like to share current themes and we have had candidates miss out recently due to the reasons below so straight in at number 3 it’s avoid interview faux pas:
  • Not wearing a jacket or tie.
  • Not appearing motivated by the job in question. 
  • Saying terrible things about one’s current or past employer.

These faux pas will guarantee interview failure. If you have been guilty of these in the past we suggest you line up your New Year’s resolutions right now!

Just missing out at number 2 is being referred; the most powerful weapon in getting a job. In our first ever blog we advised networking. It’s a question of letting your professional network, including at least one recruitment professional, know what you’re trying to achieve.

…and our Christmas number 1…

Tailor your CV to the company and role you are applying for. This is vital for any application made directly or through a consultant. Look at the role requirements and the company’s values and make sure you are presenting a good match in a concise, clear way.

We hope that was a fun way to share some good advice. We at Picture More wish you and your families a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful, prosperous New Year. See you in 2011!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Leadership Potential

Hello again

I hope you had a good summer. The growing Picture More team certainly did!

Continued Success
Last time we blogged the election result had only just been announced but despite austerity measures on the near horizon we didn't expect our specialist sector of professional services IT to suffer. It seems our optimism was justified as we are placing more and more IT professionals in permanent and contract roles. As usual we would like to thank our recruiting clients for having confidence in us and offer congratulations and good luck to all our successful candidates!

Team Spirit
You may remember from our last blog that we are partial to a round of golf so it seems fitting that we theme this October edition to the Ryder Cup, which starts today. What makes this event so special? If we think back to the World Cup, England had a group of players who were used to being in teams but who seemed to be playing as individuals. It was an uninspiring performance. In the Ryder Cup, Europe (or America if you prefer) have a group of individual sportsmen who have to play as a team. It becomes an emotional experience for them. The players who are remembered as Ryder Cup heroes (and who become great captains) are not the ruthlessly focused individuals like Tiger Woods or Nick Faldo. They are players like Monty or Seve who make a huge emotional investment and lift the team to victory. What lessons can we learn from people like this?

Learn from the Leaders
Well a golf lesson wouldn't go amiss but the extra ingredient these guys put in is "emotional labour." They're not afraid to go the extra mile, to show passion or to take risks to help the team achieve its goal. If we think about the great leaders we've worked with they generally have these traits. Have you ever looked at one of these people and thought "I write better code than him" or "I create better spreadsheets than her"? Despite these thoughts you know they're doing something right and it serves them very well. In an economy where being competent at one's role no longer guarantees job security it is worth learning from these people what can make an employee, i.e. you, indispensable.

  • Being in a job you love* where you see your contribution as an art-form.

  • Not being afraid to push new ideas and paint a vision.

  • Not being afraid to connect people inside and outside your organisation.

  • Not getting too bogged down in defensive or aggressive responses to feedback.

  • Not charging for every extra 15 minutes worked or for every piece of knowledge shared.

What the World is Looking For

During an economic downturn there is an understandable tendency for recruiting companies to look for people who've "done it all before." A Ryder Cup captain would never do that as he knows that a mix of potential, experience and leadership creates a stronger team. As the recession eases and forward thinking companies start to look for that mix it means two things:

  • A consultancy like Picture More can add more value for its clients by identifying the people with the potential to become leaders.

  • Experienced professionals need to show more of the qualities that differentiate them and display the potential to become indispensable in the right environment.

We've talked about training before which is still a good idea but addressing these personal skills could really help shape your career. Books on the subject include Linchpin and Think and Grow Rich; a 70 year old classic that still rings true today.

We hope we've given you something interesting to think about and would welcome your comments. We'll be back with you before Christmas to let you know what's happening at Picture More and in the wider market.

Speak soon.

*NB. If you're not in a job you love you should think about how you could be (see Ambition).

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Post Election Post

Hello again and welcome to a lively Picture More blog.

It’s been an exciting couple of months with a new style of political leadership emerging from the ashes of the old administration and a new style of ash emerging from an unpronounceable volcano in Iceland.

New Faces

Meanwhile the Picture More offices have been expanding to accommodate new recruitment professionals…

Mark Irwin gained recruitment experience prior to stints in HR at Linklaters and Baker Tilly. He has now joined the Picture More team as a recruitment consultant. He is looking forward to working with our expanding portfolio of professional services clients and will focus on the legal sector.

Simon Bristow has previous experience of legal sector IT recruitment. He has been brought into the team to strengthen our IT Infrastructure expertise in professional services industries.


Picture More was proud to sponsor a hole at the KnowList Golf Day on the 29th April – a charity day in aid of the Martha Trust. £3000 was raised in a well attended event at Woldingham Golf Course.

On the subject of social responsibility we were also delighted to successfully deliver on a pro bono recruitment project for the charity See The Difference.

Ash cloud permitting, we will be sending two delegates to Legal Week’s Strategic Technology Forum being held at the Ritz-Carlton Villa Padierna in Andalucia, Spain. This yearly event is attended by many IT Director level delegates and a select number of specialist suppliers to the legal industry.


In amongst recruiting for our own team you will be pleased to hear that we have also been filling roles. We’d like to thank our candidates for representing Picture More so professionally and wish them all the best in the next stage of their careers and, by the same tenet, thank our clients for continuing to place their confidence in us. It was particularly satisfying to place 3 excellent candidates in America which just shows what can be achieved in the information age.

The New Politics

Whatever your point of view that was an interesting election and we seem to have come out of it with a genuine coalition. Austerity measures are less than 50 days away by which time we hope some of the European turmoil has started to settle down. A £6B proposed saving in the public sector is a huge number but in terms of jobs the impact may well be limited to an admittedly large number of senior civil servants and quango members.

Picture More doesn’t expect the announcements to have a huge effect on the recovery in its specialist sector of professional services IT. Maybe you have a different opinion and although we don’t want to turn this into a political forum, we’d be delighted to hear your views on the market.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Be Agile

Hello Again

The Latest
In the last blog we tentatively forecast some improvement in the market during the first quarter and, despite the lingering political and economic uncertainty, things are definitely getting busier. Not just here at Picture More but, we’re delighted to say, across the market.

We are always keen to inform you of new trends we notice in the market and recently one such trend has been the requirement for Agile methodology in project management. This may seem like bad news to you if you’ve just completed your Prince2 certification or if the idea of iterative development flies in the face of your tried and tested planning and documentation policies. Let’s take a step back for a second.

How has Agile come into existence? For years, professors on the world’s leading MBA programmes have told us that companies are complex adaptive systems and that in an environment that is changing exponentially they need to be reactive. Getting away from the scientific reasoning they have identified what effective leadership looks like and guess what, on an individual level it’s what we in the real world always knew.

Great leaders sell a vision. They empower others to achieve it and hold them accountable whilst removing obstacles from their path. They manage with a light touch whilst making sure everyone understands the guiding practices that will achieve success. They collaborate with their customers (internal and external), share information and respond to change.

Hopefully that doesn’t sound so bad. Your technical knowledge and experience is still vital and prioritising working software over comprehensive documentation can’t be so bad. Even the most dedicated long term planners know that tweaks have to be made along the way and Agile simply embraces that and the extra responsiveness it brings. If you have an XP (eXtreme Programming) or SCRUM qualification that’s great. If you have Prince2, especially the latest version, you should see that this can be compatible with Agile. Away from qualifications think about the personal “soft” skills that confirm your ability to work in an Agile environment and what it means to be a leader rather than simply a manager.

Whether you are working or between roles think about the iterations of change that you could bring to your skill set (and CV) to match the requirements of your next role and keep abreast of the latest developments to make sure you can talk the talk. Put simply, the best project managers from the old world will be the best in the new world and it’s a question of being able to demonstrate that. In a market that is just starting to flourish again you should soon get the chance to do just that.

...and as the market flourishes our organisation continues to grow. We are looking for high quality candidates with recruitment experience. If you are interested you can find full details in the job advert which is amongst the many professional IT positions on our job board.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Happy New Year from all at Picture More!

We hope you’ve all thawed out from the icy excesses of the winter, and yes, we do know there’s more on the way. What we want to look at today is whether the frozen job market is going to be warming up any time soon.

The Picture More blogger was in London speaking with Business Coach Jan Hildebrand last week and her opinion was that things can be slow in January and February as budgets tend to get signed off at the end of the financial year. We decided to do some quick analysis for you using government statistics which showed that, on average, the best months for new vacancies becoming available were January, February and March. Based on this evidence it looks like channelling that New Year energy into immediate job searching is a very good idea. Coming off the positive employment news today this could be a good quarter.

Statistics generally show that widespread uncertainty of any kind is bad news for the housing market, the stock market and employment. The forthcoming general election is likely to destabilise any recovery we are seeing in the first quarter and could be prolonged if we get the hung parliament that some commentators are predicting. This is another serious motivator for immediate action.

Many of Picture More’s candidates are IT professionals and many of our clients are senior IT managers who have a big say in how their teams are recruited. What profiles of staff will they be looking for in 2010? The best CIOs are business led; they are focused on company performance in terms of growth and profitability. This is a move away from the, sometimes unfair, perception of the IT Department living in its own hi-tech bubble and continually trying to justify its budget to the rest of the business. At one of Picture More’s major clients we have seen the CIO promoted to run the whole company due to his management skills, commercial acumen and knowledge of business and its systems. In 2010 IT leaders will be under increasing pressure to deliver business results for the lowest costs.

This sends a message to the modern IT professional. You need to see your role in terms of how it impacts the bottom line. How does your activity help the business to succeed? How well do you interact with the wider business? How well do you understand business concepts? Don’t be talking about technology for technology’s sake. Actually, let’s get real, of course you’ll talk about technology for technology’s sake, just don’t be doing it in an interview!

What are the 2010 trends to position yourself for? Well, you read the industry press so you probably know as well as us. In the wake of mergers and new regulations and with data centres taking up as much as 70% of IT spend we see convergence of infrastructure solutions being a boom area. Information at suggests that Infrastructure Programme Managers could have a lucrative niche in 2010. Legacy system migration, cloud security and iPhone application development will all continue to grow. We expect to see a strong flow of developer, business analyst, project management and security roles this year. Relevant industry expertise is likely to remain important to some recruiters but as things pick up, maybe post election, then we think there may be a move back towards recruiting criteria based on talent and potential, certainly for non-management positions.

We hope this is helpful. It could be an exciting year if you define your goals, define your brand and talk the business talk. Good luck!