One of the biggest recent changes to recruitment has been the rise of the video interview. Enabled by lower cost, easy-to-use video conferencing software-based systems, an increasingly global job market and cuts in HR budgets have been key drivers. And with businesses facing pressure to speed up the recruitment process, a first or second interview can be conducted via video conference, played back and reviewed quickly and easily.
So with the traditional face-to-face interview being replaced by video, how can candidates and prospective employers better prepare themselves and what should both be aware of during a video interview?
First, a video interview features the same elements as an in-person interview, so the same rules of engagement, attention and acknowledgement must be observed. This means dressing to impress, looking alert, engaged and professional throughout.
Remember, 93% of communication is thought to be non-verbal, so don't forget to pay attention to body language. Positive body language includes nodding your head, smiling genuinely and leaning forward to show interest or understanding. A furrowed brow, frowning and leaning back can all be perceived negatively.
Also ensure that you have the proper hardware and test it before you start. A good webcam is essential to maintain eye contact without losing sight of the other person, and make sure you adjust your seat/computer to frame your face.
Use headphones too, because they are much better than speakerphones, which can amplify background noise, disturb and distract you from the conversation. Make sure you have a neutral backdrop, because a distracting or messy background may cause the other person to lose their attention. Proper lighting is important to make you look your best, and you also need to be aware of any reflective surfaces that can be distracting. Finally, be prepared. Just because it is remote, a video interview should be treated just like a face-to-face one.
Blog provided by video conferencing solutions provider Vidyo.
Every business owner wants their employees to be dedicated, hardworking and willing to go the extra mile by putting in extra hours when necessary. However, there is a balance to be struck between hard work and unhealthy, obsessive behaviour. So, has Britain become a nation of workaholics?
The stereotype of an overworked executive was once associated with American high-fliers, yet in recent years this poor work-life balance has made its way across the Atlantic.
Figures from the Trades Union Congress suggest that one in eight UK employees works more than 48 hours per week, while research from the BBC suggests that more than half (54%) of Britain's workforce regularly works through their lunch break.
People who work long and unsociable hours could be doing themselves serious harm. Indeed, studies have shown that working 11 hours a day compared to eight increases your chances of developing heart disease by 67%.
In Japan 'workaholism' is referred to as Karoshi ('death by overwork') and is the likely cause of some 1,000 deaths each year.
It is crucial that owners recognise the damage that a long-hours culture can have on a business and its people.
One American firm takes the idea of combating workaholism so seriously that its employees are punished for working more than 40 hours a week.
A less drastic approach is to implement time-management tricks that can help boost productivity and performance. Time wasted by office workers during meetings has been estimated to cost the UK economy about £26bn a year. Rather than sitting around a table, you could request that staff members stand for the duration. This helps to rapidly reduce meeting length, while ensuring the same ground is covered.
Some firms use video conferencing to keep in touch with key individuals. This provides a powerful way to communicate in real time, meaning work can happen anywhere and at any time. Something as simple as implementing a flexible working policy can help to combat workaholism. When handled correctly, flexible working can boost employee morale and motivation, while reducing absenteeism.
If a staff member suffers from ‘workaholism’, your first step should be to review their responsibilities and duties, to determine whether they're burdened with an excessive workload and identify any reasonable adjustments that can made to address the issue.
Under the Working Time Regulations employees aged 18 and over are limited to working 48 hours a week. Members of staff have the legal right to opt out, enabling an increase in their working hours, but this must be done in writing and on a voluntary basis.
Start-ups and small businesses have the upper hand when it comes to tackling overworking. Effectively monitoring and managing the issue helps to prevent a workaholic culture from developing.
Blog supplied by Helen Pedder, head of HR for ClearSky HR.
George Osborne’s 2014 Budget was announced on Wednesday, bringing with it tax changes, legislative tweaks, gains for some and losses for others. With little spare cash to play with, what did the Government announce for the UK’s entrepreneurs?
UK workers can currently earn £9,440 before they start paying income tax. A rise to £10,000 was already planned for April 2014 and on Wednesday Osborne said this would rise to £10,500 in April 2015. This means £800 a year more for the average taxpayer and also means that three million workers won’t have to pay any income tax at all.
The amount of money you earn before paying the higher 40% income tax rate is going up from £41,450 to £41,865 in April 2014, then up to £42,285 in April 2015. Employer National Insurance contributions for under-21s were also scrapped - this is relevant if you employ young workers.
If you have ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts) you’ll know there are currently two types: Cash and Stock. These will be merged into one product, making things simpler, and you’ll be able to save £15,000 tax free from July.
The 10% tax rate on savings has also been scrapped, as well as many of the rules on accessing your pension savings.
To encourage new investors to back social enterprises, the government has introduced 30% income tax relief for social investment. Eligible social enterprises will be able to receive maximum investment of £290,000 over a three year period.
Also, startups are being encouraged to invest in innovative ideas in risky markets, with Research & Development tax credits available for loss-making SMEs increased from 11% to 14.5%.
Finally, the 50% relief on capital gains tax for VC reinvestors has been made permanent, which will help to continue investment support for small businesses.
A small but welcome change for the self-employed. Class 2 National Insurance contributions, which are currently paid weekly by Direct Debit, will be collected via Self Assessment.
There was a reform of Air Passenger Duty, which will reduce the cost of international travel. Extra support was also announced for UKTI - the body which helps UK firms do business abroad - and the lending available to exporters doubled.
A £200 million pot was announced for local councils to help repair infrastructure damaged by recent floods. There will also be support for 200,000 new homes at designated sites across the country, potentially creating thousands of new jobs.
The budget was fairly average for start ups and entrepreneurs - not bad, but not great.
The encouragement of business investment was the most positive news and this should help out a lot of firms, especially in the manufacturing sector. Personal tax cuts will also help to keep a bit more cash in your pockets. Finally, there was some excellent support for specific industries, but obviously this is only good news for a limited number.
Blog supplied by Nick Chowdrey of Crunch Accounting.
It was refreshing to hear that boosting UK exports was top of Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget address this week. For any business serious about scale and accelerating growth, expanding into new markets and territories is key to success.
Recently, CBI reported that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are 11% more likely to survive if they export, yet only 1 in 5 are actually trading outside the UK. The Budget announcement that available export finance will be doubled to £3bn, with interest rates being reduced by a third, is a clear step in the right direction.
As the Chancellor put it, the UK economy is growing faster than any other advanced country right now. But to my mind, a large proportion of this is a direct result of the entrepreneurial growth we’ve seen in the UK across the past few years. The UK government and private sector have both done a great job of putting initiatives in place to stimulate entrepreneurship, but it’s time for us to extend the olive branch even further.
The private sector and large corporations are in a unique position to help in a way the government cannot, for example, by providing access to global business networks that high-growth firms would otherwise have a difficult time accessing.
The global Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, is a great example of how this can be done. It brings together a global group of entrepreneurs with the aim of breaking down some of the barriers to accessing new markets through an annual conference and online network – both aimed at helping to forge cross-border business connections. We need to continue to help businesses at every stage of their growth and by investing in exporting today, we’ll be priming our economy for future growth.
Blog supplied by Sarah Shields, executive director and general manager of consumer, small and medium enterprise, Dell UK
Are you currently considering whether to move into a new office or are you constantly weighing up the pros and cons of your current location? Before making a move, here are five things to think about.
Sitting on your colleagues’ laps may be fun for the first 30 minutes, however, after a while the lack of personal space becomes tedious and it can cramp creativity. Lack of space is often the primary motive for many companies that decide to move. However, choosing the right space is crucial for your future success. Only increase a little and you risk having to go through the whole rigmarole of moving again very shortly, but increase too much and you could land yourself with a monthly bill you’re unable to pay.
Is your internet slower than an asthmatic snail with a bad back? If so, moving to another office with a high-speed connection may provide just the boost you need. For the vast majority of companies, strong, reliable internet is essential, and for many, a poor connection is more than just annoying, it can also cost you money. However, a good internet connection is not the only resource businesses require and many move because of better meeting room facilities, access to parking or even a nicer kitchen.
As TV’s Kirstie and Phil constantly remind us, the key to any successful move is location, location, location. Currently, you may be in what you believe to be the perfect office, however, if it’s in the middle of nowhere and makes your staff’s daily commute impossibly long, it may be time for a change. A business can be made or broken purely on the choice of its location, so choosing the right spot is essential.
It’s a well-known fact that businesses in a similar sector often converge in similar locations. Moving to an area where you can meet, interact and network with like-minded businesses could prove a fantastic opportunity for you and could potentially open up many new avenues for your business.
Technology is changing the way we do business, as is the way we think about office space. Flexible office space has become increasingly popular over the past decade, bringing quality space and high-end tech together in a simple monthly package. Ranging from hot desks to business centres, these hubs now attract start-ups and more established businesses. With many businesses still feeling the pinch, this cost-effective alternative could also prove a useful stepping stone to bigger things. So ask yourself if you really need to take a traditional approach or could your team take advantage of the flexible business hubs that continue to spring up in cities across the UK?
Blog supplied by LondonOffices.com.
The Start Up Donut and Tax Donut were busy this afternoon Tweeting the main announcements from today's budget. But elsewhere in Twitterland, this is how Twitter reacted to announcements made in the Chancellor’s #Budget2014 speech...
What the Chancellor announced: Deficit forecast to be 6.6% of GDP this year, 5.5% in 2014-15, falling to 0.8% by 2017-18 with a surplus of 0.2% in 2018-19. UK GDP forecast to grow by 2.7% this year. Borrowing forecast to be £108bn this year and £95bn next year, leading to a surplus of almost £5bn in 2018-19.
What you said:
@mehdirhasan - Osborne mentions that the deficit is down by a third. But still almost double what he said it'd be back in 2010. #austerity #budget2014
@SkyNewsBreak - Chancellor George Osborne says "we are putting Britain right" and the economy is recovering faster than forecast #Budget2014
@RBSBusiness - #Budget2014 is about building a resilient economy and security for the British public
@FraserNelson - “We're getting on top of our debts” says Osborne. As if. Debt getting on top of us. #Budget2014 pic.twitter.com/xveVxJ5R9l
@jrfKathleen - 2.7% growth forecast from OBR for 2014 #budget2014 > wonder what BoE will do with interest rates, following Carney's strong hints?
@labourpress - Growth in 2014 still lower than OBR was forecasting in November 2010 (2.7% versus 2.8%) #Budget2014
What the Chancellor announced: Official forecasts for UK economic growth have been raised for the next two years but cut for later years. UK GDP forecast to grow by 2.7% this year, 2.3% next year, 2.6% in 2016 and 2017 and by 2.5% in 2018. Today it was announced that the unemployed figure fell by 63,000 to 2.33m in the three months to January 2014.
What you said:
@RichardJMurphy - Don't crow about jobs Osborne: most will be self-employed earning £11,000 or less #budget2014
@stuart_rock - Faster growth alone will not balance the books #Budget2014
@RigelAcctsTax - We'll be in surplus by 2018/19 - really??!! I'll be very impressed if that comes true #budget2014
@sophiehobson - Osborne's most shouted-at statement so far: "Rich are making the biggest contribution the reduction of the deficit" #Budget2014
@MichaelWhite - #Budget2014 "income inequality the lowest for 28 years " says GO. That cannot possibly be true in any meaningful sense
@lucianaberger - No action from Osborne to actually fix our broken energy market. He needs to #freezethatbill #budget2014
What the Chancellor announced: Corporation main and small business rates will be aligned at 20% from April 2015. New 30% tax relief for social enterprises. Doubling of the 100% Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) from £250,000 to £500,000 from the end of next month. Scheme also extended until 2015. R&D tax credits for small, loss-making businesses increased from 11% to 14.5%. No fuel duty rise in September. Personal allowance increased to £10,500 from April 2015; 1% increase in higher rate threshold in 2015 to £42,285. Class 2 NICs to be merged with self-assessment.
What you said:
@RichardJMurphy - It sounds as if there are some welcome moves on avoidance – but the devil will be in the detail #budget2014
@nickknocker1 - Class 2 NICs to move to Self Assessment. About time. #Budget2014
@JONATHAN_RILE - #Budget2014 #gtbudget Tax simplification well overdue. Recommendation from OTS accepted
@accountancyEdge - AIA goes up to £500k. Not many small businesses spend £250k a year, never mind double... #Budget2014
@langbennetts - Annual Investment Allowance of £250k no longer set to expire but increases to £500,000 – a massive help to small businesses #budget2014
@CBItweets - “Doubling & extension of Annual Investment Allowance will be shot in the arm for many mid-sized firms"
@JournoSpursEmma - Income tax threshold up to £10,500. Oooh. Fair play Osborne that's a good one #Budget2014
@GlobalAccWeb - PTA will rise to £10,500 = £800 less tax paid each year #Budget2014
@lexauto_SME - Good to hear the freeze on fuel duty will remain in place, which will help businesses manage their costs #Budget2014 #SMEbudget
@ICAEW - Personal allowances for taxpayers to be aligned at £10,500 from 2015. Tax simplification will make this good news better. ^Anita #Budget2014
@LibDemBen - £10,500 tax-free threshold from next year! #Budget2014 It wouldn't have happened without the @LibDems in Government” Hear Hear!
@ConnectedRoots - And there it is folks, what we hinted at a month ago, a 30% tax break for those who invest in Soc Ents. #Budget2014
What the Chancellor announced: Extension of grants available to businesses, to increase the number of apprenticeships by 100,000. Development of graduate-level apprenticeships.
What you said:
@enforbusiness - Extend grants for smaller businesses to support 100,000 more apprentices #Budget2014
@CNKatieBarker - Doubled the number of apprenticeships – new degree level apprenticeships too. Maybe Osborne read my article on apprentices?! #Budget2014
@john_hocking - Increase in apprenticeships need to make sure these lead to skilled jobs #yorkreacts #budget2014
@The_FPB - #Budget2014 extension to AGE grants for apprenticeships, a key FPB ask for this year's Budget. Thanks!
@Alex_Kitching - FTSE only marginally down post #Budget2014
@CBItweets - Cridland: “The Budget will put wind in the sails of business investment, especially for manufacturers." #Budget2014
@IoD_press - Announcements on export finance and cut in Air Passenger Duty very welcome for UK exporters #budget2014
@FT - UK #Budget2014: Osborne is tinkering at the margins
@emmaljones - Not much good for majority of small business who are micro enterprises .. the doers & makers