Thursday, 26 November 2015

Skype: A quicker and greener way to be interviewed. Find out more...

It is our best practice, as part of our thorough appraisal process, to meet face-to-face with any new candidate on our books. 

We will also try and do the same to guide and brief existing candidates before we decide to put them forward for a particular role, and during the selection process. 

Due to either time constraints or convenience and location factors, it is not always possible for face-to-face meetings. There is a solution to this.

Skype is rapidly becoming a cost-saving and greener way to discuss roles with potential candidates, quickly and on a face-to-face basis, during the early stages of the recruitment process. 

It is a tool we are beginning to adopt and usually proves significantly more beneficial for both parties than a traditional telephone conversation and without lots of lost time, travel, and money spent on fuel, the benefits of Skype are realised by all parties. 

We are also finding that many of our clients are using Skype as part of their recruitment process. Therefore, it is important we fully embrace what Skype can offer. 

At Pinnacle Consulting, we can arrange a Skype consultation with a candidate almost immediately. If you are a candidate, it allows us to help you more quickly and with added clarity and understanding. This ultimately helps us to assess your needs and aspirations in greater detail than a phone call, CV and covering email. 

It also allows us to react effectively to a live recruitment situation, ensuring you don’t miss out on a potentially superb career changing opportunity.

In most instances, we would still arrange to meet you physically face-to-face at a later date, as this further enhances the close and long-term relationships we build with all our candidates. It is our philosophy to help candidates develop throughout their entire career in the building and construction industry. In addition to providing opportunities for future alternative positions, we also provide, advice on training, share industry trends, and help you progress with current employers. 

A Skype interview is a very useful tool in working with our candidates, but it also has many potential pitfalls, and these could create a disadvantage for you before you even start.

Guide to Skype calls with potential employers
As a general guide, you should try and do your own risk assessment of everything that could go wrong, and try and reduce or negate their negative impact.

Here are a few things to consider, before either an agency consultation or more usefully an actual real live Skype interview with an employer.

Consider your Skype name, mood message and profile photograph
It is obvious, but if your Skype name is a little too informal or personal, perhaps you should set up one for professional use for interviews and detailing on your CV. Keep it simple and based around your actual name.

Check, remove or change your ‘mood message’. You really don’t want a potential employer to see something like: “Still hung-over from last night.”

A profile photograph should also be business like, not you on the beers or the vino, having fun and looking a little worse for wear from your holiday excesses. 

Physical surroundings and environment
Again most of this advice is just common sense, but it is amazing how often we find that common sense, can leave even the most sensible of us!

Make sure you tell people in your home that you are having a Skype call; you do not want the sound of your partner shouting from the next room or your kids running riot. Make sure that nobody is watching TV or has music blasting in earshot, resulting in the background noise being rather off-putting for all parties during the interview.

Turn off all your notification sounds on your computer, tablet and mobile, likewise with your landline, and do not start reading and answering emails; however discreet you think you might be. Just shut down your email client and concentrate on the interview.

Check the physical background of your room that will be seen by the webcam, check the lighting too and the ambience it creates. Move anything you would  rather not be seen out of the way – you know the kind of thing we’re talking about! Check your bookcase, pictures, and posters, and the cleanliness of the room. Don’t make a silly error that could cause embarrassment.

As Skype interviews are still quite new, it is best to take extra time to prepare and practice.

To help you with this, we suggest you call a friend for a dry run; make sure you look into the webcam, rather than the screen, and ask your friend how you look, sound and what your general demeanour and body language is like. Listen to their feedback and fine tune or adjust your camera angle, your body posture, the background, your eye contact and hand movements, as well as your voice volume, clarity, and pacing.  

It might also be advisable to record and video yourself and then critique. You will be your own biggest critic, but you will improve by doing this, and remember your opinion of watching yourself is always much worse than what others think.

Watch what you are doing when you are not speaking. Make sure you look attentive and interested in the interviewing party. Don’t forget to smile either!

Try and use a laptop or desktop if possible and plug into the mains, rather than use a mobile or tablet, it will give you much better results. If you do have to use a tablet, make sure it is on a plinth and not handheld. Be wary of battery life. 

If your built-in camera and microphone are not of the quality they should be, buy a separate microphone and webcam. Tell the retailer why you need them and take advice on the best solution. It won’t be very expensive.

You should still research the company, the market, and the role; think how you can help them and what their needs are, prepare questions too - just like you would do in a physical interview. So don’t forget this aspect. Prepare, prepare, and prepare again.

You can have notes and reminders with you, preferably out of camera shot; you could also have them on screen – which can be quite advantageous. Please use these discreetly, though, and only if you must. 

It is polite and a good idea to ask if they mind if you can take notes, this might also give you a discreet way to check your guide notes and prompts too.

Your interviewer will make some allowances because of the different type of interview environment, so don’t get too nervous about it all, but the more comfortable and relaxed in this you can look, the more professional you will come across.  

You are in your own space, and this should help you relax, but make sure you are in position and on-line in advance of the agreed call time, you don’t want any last minute panics with your computer taking ages to fire up or connecting to the internet for the Skype connection. Make sure you have a glass of water available, and a handkerchief!

Dress code
Your attire should be professional, relevant and appropriate. Wash and brush your hair, clean your teeth too, in other words, do exactly as you would do if you were going to a physical interview.

You may have heard stories of newsreaders doing their broadcasts only dressed from the waist up, or wearing shorts or jogging bottoms, don’t follow this trend! If you did need to get up to get something during the interview or needed to reconnect or check a cable, you really don’t want your potential employer to see you in your Darth Vader boxer shorts. Even Jedi mind tricks won’t help you then!

Technology problems
As with any form of technology, there is always the chance of problems. If you cannot hear the interviewer due to a poor connection, ask them to repeat the question or suggest you end the call and make a new connection. It is vital not to let the interview continue when there are sound issues; both parties could miss something important.

If you completely lose your connection during the call or there is another issue, be calm, use the free moments to take stock, have a sip of water, and collect yourself.  When resolved, call them or wait for them to call back, and explain what happened at your end. 

Remember if the problem is not quickly resolvable, it might be advisable to use a phone line to call them and let them know. Sometimes how you act when things go wrong are the things that impress.

Post Interview
Thank the interviewer(s) at the end, just like you would in a traditional interview, and ask about the next stage of the recruitment process. 

It is good practice to send a thank you letter ‘post-Skype’ interview too, and email is the preferred and recommended option for this. It is amazing how many people do not do this, but quick and simple things like this show you are professional, polite and care about the people you have meetings with – that will give them confidence, especially if the job you are going for is in Sales. So don’t forget to do it. Moreover make sure you get their names and spellings correct.

Don’t delay; arrange a Skype Consultation with us today!
If you see a job you are interested in, or want a comprehensive consultation about your future career, contact us to arrange a Skype consultation appointment. 

We will promise to be nice and understanding about using this form of communication. After all, we’re still in adoption mode with it too. However, it will become more and more common as you progress your career, so a more informal practice with us can only help prepare you to shine in a more formal Skype interview with a potential employer. It will happen, so embrace and hone your skills, starting today. 

Call us on 01480 405225 or email us at

It could be the most important appointment of your career!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Chancellor announces biggest housing drive since Thatcher came to power in 1979.

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has announced in his eagerly anticipated Autumn Statement the government's plans to deliver 400,000 new affordable homes by 2020. He summed this up with the soundbite "we are the builders". The drive is part of the biggest drive on affordable housing since 1979 - the year Thatcher walked into No. 10.

He stated that half these new homes will be sold as starter homes which will be sold at a 20% discount. Osbourne also tried to help the housing crisis in London, stating that the capital's new Help to Buy scheme will give a 40% interest-free loan to buyers with a 5% deposit.

Housing was targeted as Mr Osborne's key area for focus, he said: "In the end Spending Reviews like this come down to choices about what your priorities are.

"And I am clear: in this Spending Review, we choose housing. Above all, we choose homes that people can buy for there is a crisis of home ownership in our country.

"We made a start in the last Parliament, and with schemes like Help to Buy the number of first-time buyers rose by 60 per cent.

"But frankly we need to do much more. Today, we set out our bold plan to back families who aspire to buy their own home."

Ministers are to change planning rules to release land specifically for developing starter homes. And developers are to be offered cash from the Government to construct starter homes and regenerate 'brownfield' land.

The Chancellor also committed to 135,000 new "shared ownership" homes. Buyers will be able to buy an initial stake in a new property and increase their share over time if they are able to.

The Government will provide £4 billion for housing associations, local authorities and private-sector developers to build shared-ownership dwellings. These properties will be available to families with an income of £80,000 outside London or £90,000 in London..

And he promised £400 million for housing associations and private developers to build 8,000 homes specifically designed for older residents or those with disabilities.

Treasury officials said the package will represent "the largest programme of affordable housebuilding by a government since at least 1979, and the biggest ever programme of government building of homes for sale."

Monday, 23 November 2015

Building Industry Featured Jobs for November 2015: Focus on Executive/Director level positions

November 2015: We currently have some fantastic executive level vacancies available in the building and construction industry and we feature some of them below.

If you are interested in any of these roles or are looking to develop your career, contact us or take a look at our website for more details on our construction sales jobs and recruitment services.
Keep informed of ALL our latest jobs when they become available on our Facebook page. Remember to click LIKE! to ensure you receive the full benefits of news, jobs, entertainment, articles, events and promotions.

See below for full details of our featured jobs (click 'Read more' if required).

Monday, 16 November 2015

Commercial construction output growth in October results in the fasted rate of new work in 12 months

A new report shows that October data highlighted another upturn in overall UK building and construction industry output, alongside a rebound in new order growth and the fastest pace of job creation for almost a year. Commercial building work was a key growth driver in October, as housing and civil engineering activity both expanded at slower rates than in September.

Despite a robust and accelerated rise in input buying, latest data indicated the lowest strain on supplier delivery times for almost five years. Meanwhile, relatively subdued cost inflation continued in October, helped by falling raw material prices (especially metals).

The headline seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) registered 58.8 in October, which was down from 59.9 in September but still well above the 50.0 no-change threshold. As a result, the latest survey marked two-and-a-half years of sustained output growth across the UK construction sector. While the pace of expansion remained weaker than seen on average in 2014, the latest reading was comfortably above the pre-election low recorded in April (54.2).

Higher levels of activity were recorded across all three broad categories of construction monitored by the survey. However, housing activity growth eased from September’s 12-month high, and the latest rise in civil engineering was the slowest since May. Commercial building work increased at the sharpest pace for eight months.

Reports from survey respondents suggested that greater output volumes reflected a strong pipeline of work-in-hand, alongside faster new order growth over the month. The latest rise in incoming new work was the steepest since October 2014, with construction companies highlighting new project wins from both public and private sector clients. 

Looking ahead, construction companies remain highly upbeat about their prospects for growth over the next 12 months, with more than half (59%) forecasting a rise in business activity and only 7% expecting a decline. Anecdotal evidence cited an encouraging number of new invitations to tender and expectations of solid spending levels among key clients. 

Construction companies responded to the rebound in new business growth by taking on staff at a faster pace. Moreover, some firms commented on efforts to reduce their reliance on sub-contractors. Latest data pointed to a fall in sub-contractor availability for the twenty-eighth month running, which is the longest continuous period since 2003. 

Input buying increased at the steepest rate for nine months in October. However, supplier performance deteriorated to the least marked degree since November 2010. A number of construction firms noted that greater capacity among suppliers had helped to alleviate the pressure on average lead times for raw materials. 

Commenting on the report, David Noble, Group Chief Executive Officer at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, said: “Supplier performance deteriorated to the least marked extent for almost five years in October, as capacity was increased to meet an upsurge in purchasing activity – the strongest for nine months.

“Prompted by a rise in new orders, pipeline work, low raw material costs and more marketing activity, the sector also experienced the speediest expansion in staffing levels since November 2014 to meet this increased volume of contract demands.

“With sustained growth now for two-and-a-half years, respondents also reported more confidence in the sector and from clients, and an expectation of an even stronger performance next year.”

A surge in new work across the UK construction industry in October cheered financial markets and sent the pound close to a 10-week high against a basket of currencies.

Tim Moore, a senior economist at Markit, said: “Another relatively buoyant construction PMI reading indicates that the sector remains in rude health. Rather than acting as a drag on the economy, as suggested by recent GDP estimates, the sector is continuing to act as an important driving force behind the ongoing UK economic upturn.”

He said construction companies noted a rebound in new business flows in October and responded by taking on extra staff at the fastest rate for almost a year.

“Shortages of skilled staff persisted as a result, with the current period of falling subcontractor availability the longest seen in over a decade,” he said.

  • Stock Photo from Sky and clouds reflected in a modern building glass facade Image ID: 129478415
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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Shower equipment market estimated to grow by 4% in the UK says new report

The KBB market is one of the most vibrant in the industry and it is also a sector where we have see a very large increase in sales jobs in the last few months. The shower equipment market has been particularly healthy and this is confirmed by a new report from AMA Research.

The report predicts that in 2015, the value of the UK shower equipment market is expected to have increased by around 4% compared to 2014, reflecting the growth in the building & home improvement markets. 

Between 2010 and 2012, the market for showering products was relatively volatile, but since 2013 there has been a notable increase, with demand picking up as the housing market recovers and consumer confidence levels improve. 

Showers are more popular
The majority of UK households now have at least one shower installation in their property, the number climbing since the 1990's to 89% in 2014, equivalent to 23.8 million UK homes. 

The growing popularity of showers has been driven by a number of factors such as smaller average household size, smaller average property size, and a rising proportion of houses, flats, and apartments that have small bathrooms.

In addition, the trend towards multi-generational living has positively impacted on demand for accessible solutions that make bathrooms more functional. 

Other factors include rising disposable incomes and lifestyle changes, product development focused on quality, and design with a trend towards higher value products and contemporary styles. 

At the luxury end, these products include large rainfall shower heads, steam hydro-massage shower cabins, digital shower controls, and minimalist wet room areas. 

The energy-saving effect
Sustainability and water efficiency has also become a major concern with UK householders, and as a result, water saving shower equipment is in greater demand.

Shower controls account for the greatest proportion of the overall shower equipment market, though enclosures, screens, and trays account for only moderately less than the shower controls sector. 

Time for an upgrade!
As a result of the maturing shower market and high level of shower usage, replacement products such as shower accessories have grown share to 13%. Many products are now designed specifically for retrofit purposes with ease of installation an important consideration. 

Great news for on-line and in-store sales
Shower products for the domestic and commercial sectors are distributed through a wide range of channels. The main distribution channel continues to be builders and plumbers merchants, with the DIY multiples also holding a substantial share. 

Other retail channels include bathroom specialists, grocery multiples, mail order retailers, and department stores. 

On-line retailers are also important as consumers use the internet to source the best deals. Manufacturers are also selling spare parts and accessories direct to the consumer online. 

Hayley Thornley, AMA research manager, said: "There has been a continued growth in the popularity of showering over the last decade, and showers have become an essential fixture in the modern home. 

"While showers are now installed as standard in most new build homes, as the market matures it is the replacement market that is likely to hold the most potential for growth. An increasing number of shower products are now designed specifically for retrofit purposes" 

The outlook for the UK shower equipment market in 2015 looks positive with growth of 3-5% per annum anticipated into the medium-longer term. 

However, pricing pressures are likely to remain intense due to rising levels of imported products and an increasingly competitive distribution market. 

Wetrooms are the future
Future trends include the growth in wetrooms and walk-in shower areas, the increasing popularity of digital showers and forecast growing demand for 'inclusive' shower products due to the ageing UK population. 

Other trends include the growth of water efficient shower controls driven by the introduction of the Water Label on shower products from 2014.

You can order the report here.

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Monday, 9 November 2015

Job in Focus: Managing Director required for Commercial Fit-Out Products/Systems - South London

Our latest Job in Focus is a fantastic opportunity to take responsibility for the UK business unit as the Managing Director of a global Commercial Interiors manufacturer and installer. You would be based in South London and would be responsible for all commercial and sales activity included driving specifications.

Our Construction & Building Industry Job in Focus feature takes a detailed look at some of the fantastic sales & marketing construction and building materials job vacancies currently on our books. Job in Focus is also promoted on the home page of our website. 

Job Title: Managing Director
Job Ref: J6576
Product: Fit Out / Commercial Interiors
Location: London & South East
Salary: £90k

EMPLOYER: Our client are a leading luxury brand in the commercial interiors market manufacturing, supplying and installing a prestigious range of high quality, high performance fit out products and systems. The company operate globally and within the UK have an incredibly well established and respected brand. 

JOB DESCRIPTION: Managing Director - You will inherit full responsibility for management of the UK Business unit, managing all aspects of the business with a key focus on developing the brand and driving sales via specification with key London Architects and Designers. This is a very hands on role where you will be responsible for building a personal project specification pipeline, securing high value projects within the Commercial sector, predominantly within the Office fit out space but also in Leisure, Hospitality, Education and Public Sector applications. Reporting to the international board you will be tasked with managing an already very successful business with the view of taking it to the next level in terms of sales revenue and profitability. 

LOCATION: Based in South London you will ideally be located in Surrey, Berkshire, Middlesex, Buckinghamshire, West Sussex or the Westerly region of Kent. 

CANDIDATE: We are seeking a very specific type of individual with proven experience in design led specification, you will have an established contact base amongst the key Architect and Design community in London, with a background in commercial interiors. Ideal backgrounds could be Flooring, Carpets, Furniture, Ceilings, Partitioning, Glass, Blinds, Specialist Joinery or any interior finishing or Fit-out based product or solution. My client is looking for a hard working, hands on and influential leader who will lead from the front and is prepared to have direct sales responsibility. Candidates do NOT need to have previously held an equivalent mantle and the role is best suited to a senior sales manager or Sales Director within this marketplace. 

PACKAGE: On offer is a basic salary of between £65,000 and £90,000 with a lucrative bonus scheme and excellent secondary benefits. 

For further information or to discuss your career options contact Steve Brennan on 01480 405225 or apply online.

Search for more building products sales jobs >>>

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Job in Focus: Fantastic Sales Director role for Water Management Systems selling Service Contracts

Our latest Job in Focus is a superb role as Sales Director responsible for leading and managing the Sales team to sell service and maintenance contracts.This is an opportunity to work for a global company with sustainability high on the agenda.

Each month our Construction & Building Industry Job in Focus feature takes a detailed look at some of the fantastic sales & marketing construction and building materials job vacancies currently on our books. Job in Focus is also promoted on our website. 

Job Title: Sales Director
Job Ref: J6555
Product: Service and Maintenance for Water Management systems
Location: National
Salary: £90k - car/benefits

COMPANY: Our client specialise in the design, manufacturer, installation and maintenance of Pumps and Water Management systems, renowed for developing innovative, efficient and green solutions for water related issues. They employ more than 100 people in research and development with sustainability and environment at the core of everything they do. Our client operate globally achieving more than £3bn in revenue last year. 

ROLE: Sales Director - A fantastic opportunity to inherit ownership of the leadership and management of the sales team maximising sales revenue and profitability through selling service and maintenance contracts. The role will involve coaching the field based team into Facilityies Management and Public and Private End User channels as well as liaising with key M&E Consultants and Contractors. The maintenance contracts are sold on own brand products and those from other manufacturers including Pumps, Pumping Equipment, Water Management and Industrial Irrigation. The divison already have an impressive range of existing contracts with major National Housebuilders, Supermarkets and Retail groups. 

AREA: National - Ideally you will be based centrally 

THE PERSON: We are looking for a proven Sales Manager/Sales Director with experience managing a field sales team. It would of course be beneficial if you have previous exposure to Pumps, Pumping, Water Management or related product backgrounds however most important is that you have a strong knowledge of After Sales and Service Contracts. You will have an exceptional commercial accumen as well as the ability to absorb technical information. 

BENEFITS: £80,000 - £90,000 + Excellent Package + Car, Mobile, Laptop, Private Health, Pension and 30 Days Holiday. 

To Apply, call Steve Brennan on 01480 405 225 or apply on-line.

Search for more building products sales jobs >>>

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

UK Construction Industry braced for its biggest skills shortage in almost 20 years

With building and construction high on the political agenda in the coming years, the UK’s construction industry is facing its greatest skills crisis since 1998, a survey released today by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has revealed. 

Despite this hinderance to growth, the report still showed that the industry is experience sustained and significant growth.

Key Points:
  • Highest skills shortage on record set to limit sector growth potential
  • UK construction skills shortage at highest since 1998
  • Bricklayers and quantity surveyors in shortest supply
  • 69% of firms also report problems accessing credit
  • Despite this, sharp growth in construction reported across UK
The survey shows that the country’s skills shortage has reached its highest levels since the survey was launched 18 years ago, with bricklayers and quantity surveyors in shortest supply. Over half of respondents (53%) reported difficulty sourcing labour, with 71% saying they had particular difficulty sourcing bricklayers and 64% highlighting a shortage of quantity surveyors.

During the same period in 2011, just 1% of respondents were struggling to find bricklayers and only 15% noted a shortage of quantity surveyors.

In addition to labour supply, 69% of firms said that financial constraints, such as access to credit, were among the biggest constraints to growth, while 60% said that regulatory and planning issues were potent constraints. 

However, despite these challenges, the survey shows significant areas of growth, with the number of new construction projects increasing, particularly in private housing and commercial sectors. While official figures (which are often subject to revision) highlighted a slight contraction in output over the three months to August, a substantial proportion of respondents to the RICS reported an increase in their workloads (net balance +39%), with 29% of firms saying that they were operating at full capacity.    

The private housing and commercial sectors continue to lead the growth in workloads with net balances of 47% and 46% respectively reporting an increase. However, momentum was least firm in the public sector with net balances of 12% and 21% reporting growth in workloads in the housing and non-housing segments respectively.

Meanwhile, in the infrastructure sector, growth accelerated somewhat with a balance of 34% seeing workloads rise, up from 25% last quarter.

Interested in a Sales Job in the Construction Industry? >>

Image: Builder worker in safety protective equipment installing concrete floor slab panel at building construction site. Image ID: 125206808. Copyright: Dmitry Kalinovsky