How a Positive Candidate Experience Can Enhance Your Brand

Recruitment is rarely considered to be a marketing activity, but establishing a strong company brand is all about building reputation and trust and this extends to the interaction with your applicants and the available talent pool whenever you recruit.

Candidates applying for roles within your company are likely to be supporters of your brand. If they have a less than positive candidate experience they may be left with a negative impression of your brand, and you may lose them as a loyal consumer. Possibly worse, they may choose to share their opinions to a large audience on and off-line.


What people say about your company is the very foundation of your brand. Your HR team should be your brand ambassadors, and all interaction with potential employees throughout the recruitment process should reflect your brand values.

Every time that you advertise a new opening, you are inviting a sample of the available talent pool to experience your brand on a very personal level. Not all of them will be right for your vacancy, however if dealt with correctly, this should not discourage them from working for you in the future.

In this digital age applicants are likely to already be connected to you through their network of friends, co-workers, social and business groups, and they have the opportunity to speak about their experience to the outside world, in either a positive or negative way.

Follow our guide to promoting a positive candidate experience and ensure the review they provide to the outside world remains positive.

1.Carefully worded job adverts

Ensure the language and tone of the advert reflects the culture of the organisation and with all written communication, use your standard format and font.

Carefully construct the job description so it accurately describes the role and includes all the essential and desirable skills. It is frustrating for a candidate to be rejected later in the process for the absence of a skill or experience that was not included in the original job description.

Provide access to clear and concise information about the role, the opportunity and the Company so applicants can make an informed decision about whether to apply for your role.

2.Acknowledge receipt of their application


If a candidate has taken the effort to apply for your role it is only polite to acknowledge receipt. A standard response is acceptable, thanking them for their interest in your opportunity, and giving an overview of the selection process and likely timescales. Providing links to your company brochure, corporate video and any other marketing material that can help strengthen the ‘why work for us’ proposition can be helpful.


If you want to interview a candidate move quickly to arrange a date. Recruitment at present is very fast moving, and if you do not prioritise this activity you risk losing good candidates who may mistake your delay for reticence.

When inviting a candidate to interview ensure all details are confirmed in writing to avoid any misunderstandings. Prepare ahead of time so you are familiar with the content of their CV and profile. In the actual interview be on time, be courteous, and allow time for the candidate to answer questions. Offering a tour of the business or interviewing in a showroom displaying product (rather than in a dull office) can help excite the candidate. Remember an interview is a two-way process and is as much about the candidate deciding whether the opportunity is right for them, as you determining whether they are right for your role.

4.Make a timely Decision

Respect the fact that the candidate has taken the time out of their busy work life to come to an interview with you and it is only fair to give them a decision within the discussed timeline.


If you are still considering your options don’t leave the candidate in suspense. Let them know they are still being considered but you have other qualified candidates.

Be aware that in this time of candidate shortages we are seeing a lot of companies losing out to competitors who have a swift recruitment process and move quickly to make an offer to strong candidates.  Act quickly to ensure you secure the right person for your role.


Delivering bad news to a candidate who really wants the job is never easy.  Rejecting candidates is probably the most uncomfortable part of the recruitment process, but it is essential to do it right.

Candidates seek closure, so it is of huge importance to reject unsuccessful candidates and provide constructive feedback so they can take something positive away from the experience.

Using a specialist Recruitment Agency may make the rejection less stressful for you (as the recruiter will be skilled at delivering the bad news on your behalf); however this does not mean you don’t need to give detailed feedback.  The candidate has a right to expect proper feedback, and the recruiter will need the information to deal effectively with the applicant and also to accurately determine your requirements to find the right person for your role.

6.Give Constructive Feedback

Make your feedback constructive and personalised. Start with the positives before tackling areas that may have let them down. Be honest – in these cases most candidates will b

e aware of where they may have struggled, and remember there is a difference between being ho

nest and being blunt. By being honest you are benefiting the candidate in ways they can improve for next time.

7.Making a Job Offer to the successful candidate

If you are looking to make an offer move fast. In this competitive market good candidates are often fielding multiple offers meaning you can lose a good candidate through inactivity.

Decide on a realistic salary – whilst money is not everything, a low offer can demoralise a good candidate and make them feel they have been undervalued.  If you are using a Recruitment Agency discuss the package so they can sense-check the offer before putting it to the candidate.

Always speak to the candidate to make the offer rather than sending a letter or email. This allows you to sell the benefits of the role and the organisation and also to sense their reaction. Be enthusiastic and explain why you feel they would be a good addition to the team.  Often clients feel that the candidate should be ‘grateful’ for a job offer and then are surprised when the offer is rejected. Good candidates are always in demand and they have options.

Follow up with confirmation of the offer in writing.


The fair and proper treatment of all candidate, irrespective of whether they are right for your role helps you to maintain a flow of prospective employees and in this time of skills-shortage that can only be a good thing.






Successful ‘On Boarding’ your New Recruit

Congratulations! Your first-choice candidate has accepted your job offer and returned their signed contract. At this point it is tempting to breathe a sigh of relief, but it is too early to relax. In reality this is just the start of the process to successfully introduce a new starter to your business. A process called ‘on boarding’

Without nurturing and support, some candidates may have a change of heart during their notice period, and could be persuaded to accepting a ‘counter-offer’ from their current employer. Others may continue interviewing and accept an offer from an alternative company, and a small number may even start their new job but then quit after a bad first day or week.

Following our steps below will help you avoid these scenarios and increase the likelihood of successfully integrating your chosen candidate into your business

1. Welcome to the Team

As soon as your job offer is accepted, send a personalised letter or email to your candidate welcoming them to the team.  Advise them of key details such as the start time, and who they should report to on their first day, and let them know in the meantime you are available to answer any questions. Reiterate how pleased you are that they are joining your team.

2. Keep in Touch Throughout the Notice Period

Keep in touch throughout the notice period to ensure your candidate remains excited about their new role and is looking forward to getting started. Talk to them about the dress code, parking, and catering facilities or any other useful information that will help prepare them for their first day.  Invite them to any forthcoming social occasions so they have an opportunity to meet their future team members.

 At People Marketing we also set up the work station and send our new consultants a photo of their desk, to show we are eagerly awaiting their start.

3. Plan their start

Email all employees in advance so they know who will be starting and an outline of their new role within the business.

Tailor a detailed induction programme which should include an overview of the business, an introduction to all the departments within the business and an introduction to all key personnel.  Include regular feedback sessions with their line manager to ensure the desired aims are achieved, and include a review session at the end.

4. First Day

Make sure your new starter is welcomed into the team, introduced to key personnel, and made to feel comfortable. Perhaps appoint a ‘buddy’ to show them around and ensure they know everything they need to know, and support them in the first few days.

Some companies prepare a ‘welcome pack’ for new employees containing for example; branded pens, notepad and company hoody etc. One company also give a box of chocolates and the employee is encouraged to send an email introducing themselves to the whole company and inviting people to come over, say hello, and share the sweets.

Ensure all the technology is set-up in advance and working correctly and there is someone on hand to train and then assist the new starter.  It can be frustrating and embarrassing not to be able to do the basics.

Make sure they are fed and watered. Arrange for them to be accompanied at lunch time and shown where and how to get coffee and tea.  It is the small things that make the difference.

5. Check-in & Feedback

It is important to build in regular feed-back sessions during the induction period and beyond. These allow for two way communication and means any potential concerns can be raised and resolved.

At the end of the induction period, review how it has gone and discuss if any areas need to be re-visited or added into the programme.

The aim is to ensure that the new starter feels prepared, excited, and ready to start their new role.

 How can People Marketing Fashion Recruitment help?

For more information call for a chat and find out how we support our clients during the on boarding process.


People Marketing Fashion Recruitment LLP

Tel:         +44 (0)115 922 3335




Where Have All The Candidates Gone?

Last month the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced the unemployment figures for the UK were just 4.6%. This is the lowest unemployment rate since 1975 – a 42 year low.

In answer to the question of where all the good candidates have gone….it would appear that they are working.

On the face of it, record low unemployment figures may seem like good news, but it also underlines the challenge for Businesses of finding and recruiting the right talent. This is even before we exit the EU with the potential issues surrounding restrictions on the free-movement of labour.

In our sector, the Fashion Industry we are only too aware of the existence of skill shortages particularly Garment Technologists, Fabric Technologists, Sample Machinists, and Merchandisers. There is also a need for experienced staff to support the recent growth in domestic production, following over two decades of clothing production moving overseas.

Attracting potential employees is also complicated by the fact that the behaviour of candidates has changed, making the advertising of job roles far less effective. Ten years ago it was possible to prepare a carefully worded advert, select the right media to post it and then sit back and wait for the many responses to flood in. Our audience knew where to look for a new job and we knew where to put it, sadly this is no longer the case.

The number of candidates responding to job adverts continues to fall. Last year ‘Adzuna’ (UK’s largest job aggregator) stated the average was just 0.5 applications per job advert in the UK. This means there are a large number of opportunities that go unnoticed by potential candidates.

So what happened?

The digital coming of age is certainly one reason. Whilst all marketing professionals in our industry will agree that paper based job adverts are very much a thing of the past, they will probably also agree that maintaining a digital footprint and ensuring job adverts are searchable, relevant and distributed amongst the highest ranking recruitment websites in a sector is of paramount importance. Now, more than ever we have to be more direct and targeted in our candidate attraction using cutting edge Business Intelligence tools along with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to engage with our potential candidate audience

Added to this, experienced candidates in particular, often take a more passive approach to job hunting and wait for suitable opportunities to be presented to them. Building of longer term relationships is therefore of vital importance, and recommendations by colleagues and friends go a long way in persuading individuals to consider an opportunity. Candidates who have received poor treatment at the hands of an agency or direct employer – understandably- have very long memories and sites like Glassdoor provide a forum for them to voice their dissatisfaction.

Never has there been more methods open to us to as a Recruitment Agency to find candidates, but no single method will deliver the spread and breadth of experience required. The reality is we have to work harder than ever to continue to grow and expand our network on and off-line. As a recruitment agency the availability of loyal experienced candidates is our most valuable asset and we forget that at our peril.

What is the future of the Trade Show?

Large and influential trade shows have long been a part of the fashion calendar, but over recent years it’s been hard to miss the changes in the perceived value of such shows. From both the point of view of the exhibitor; investing sometimes hundreds of thousands of pounds into stands, models, marketing and freebies which show little measurable ROI, and of the Buyers;  increasingly pushed for time and working within budget constraints, no longer having the luxury of 3 days of trade shows, hotels and swanky dinners.

One of the most notable changes in recent years was decline of Bread and Butter as we know it, having spent a number of years as one of the top shows in Europe, lack of commitment from exhibitors resulted in bankruptcy and the closure of the show.  Most recently held at Berlin’s Templehof Airport, the show was an all-out parade for the big brands, investment was huge with many brands splashing the cash and the marketing time to develop ever impressive stands and gimmicks, Hilfiger’s immense container building and billboard, and pool for the swimwear clad models from summer 2011 is still talked about today.

Image Credit: (Yukihiro Taguchi)

Whilst Bread and Butter still exists today as a Fashion Event, it is now a very different animal, bought by Zalando in 2015 the show now opens to all with the intention of personally engaging with the consumer.

Toward the end of the Bread and Butter era, we began to see an emergence of smaller shows, such as Seek, Panorama and Premium, offering exhibition space at a fraction of the cost of B&B and catering to more specific markets. These smaller shows give visitors the opportunity to see the city and visit showrooms and stores as well as take in the show, they are able to focus on their given area in a measured time slot.

Image Credit: by Sven Raphael Schneider

The Florence shows remain ever popular with the Fashion Dandies, the Menswear show, Pitti Uomo, now planning its 92nd edition for summer 2017, is as much for the ‘peacocks’ of the menswear fashion world as it is for the exhibitors although it’s clear to see over the last few years, stands have reduced in size and gimmicks have become fewer, it’s no longer the bargain hunt for the visitors who’s only aim is to collect swag from the top brands, these brands are now looking to engage in other ways.

The UK shows such as Pure, Jacket Required and Moda have reported positive vibes, but as yet we have no attendee data to compare to recent seasons. Some shows are rumoured to be offering hugely discounted rates in order to compete and draw in the brands that this season, may only invest in one show. Pure seemed to have a positive vibe, although Drapers reports that 80% of the exhibitors were international and the buyers were largely independents. Paris’ main event Premier Vision, seemed quieter than in recent years although partly considered to be due to security fears.

Amongst the uncertainty of a global recession, budget cuts and potential travel fears, will we see the landscape of the trade shows dramatically change in the coming seasons? Footfall is certainly unpredictable and in an ever more digital world, should we look to engage with all parties on a digital level?

In the same way as we more and more turn to digital technology such as Skype for meetings, wanting an instant fix, this is the direction the traditional trade show is taking. When we are looking for new supplier/new product, we don’t wait for the next trade show to find that perfect partner, we use the digital world. Many of the aspects of a trade show can be replicated in digital format, at a fraction of the cost.

So is the end nigh for the fashion trade show? I don’t believe so, after all, networking is important and relationships would undoubtedly suffer but most importantly, all of us have a desire, a need, to touch and feel product the fashion world is a tactile one and digital can never offer this option. I think it’s fair to say we can expect to see some notable changes in the next few seasons…

What do you think? Have you been out at the shows this season, what are your observations?

People Marketing Fashion Recruitment LLP, 4 Bowden Drive. Boulevard Industrial Park. Beeston Nottingham UK NG9 2JY

Switchboard: +44 (0)115 922 3335

How Do Employers Decide Who To Offer The Job To?


You have applied for an exciting new role. On paper you meet all the required skills, qualifications and experience detailed in the job advert, so you should definitely get the job. Shouldn’t you?

In reality there are other considerations that come into play when an employer decides who to make an offer to. According to research (DWP research report 754) there are seven key features that employers look for, and it is important to be aware of these whilst looking for your new job.

  1. Personality – It is very subjective, but the reality is that people choose to work with people they like. Understandably employers want people who will fit seamlessly into their team, who will cement good working relationships with colleagues, clients and suppliers and will represent the company in a positive way. Sometime employers will even forgo some of the supposedly ‘essential or desirable skills’ if they feel the personality fit is right, and then train that person on the job.
  2. Flexibility – Employers value personnel with a flexible attitude to work, and who have a willingness to perform other roles. We are seeing an increase in ‘hybrid’ roles. This is where two previously separate roles are combined. For example import merchandisers may now also be required to do demand forecasting. This flexibility is important to employers at any time, but becomes increasing important during challenging market conditions.
  3. Attitude to Work – A strong work ethic is valued by employers and a willingness to ‘muck in’ and put in extra hours at busy times is also deemed essential by most companies.
  4. Reliability – Employers will look for assurance that the person be at work when they are supposed to be.
  5. Stability – Personal stability can be taken by some as a sign of reliability and is therefore viewed as a positive by potential employers.
  6. Location – Employers perceive that employees living close to their workplace would be able to minimise costs and disruptions associated with travelling to work. (I am sure anyone affected by the recent disruption caused by industrial action on Southwest trains can understand this- however unfair it may seem).
  7. Honesty – Employers wanted someone they could trust to work with the best interests of the business.

When preparing for interview, it is important to be aware of the above considerations and to talk to your recruitment consultant about the culture of the organisation as well as the requirements of the job. Prepare scenarios that you could discuss at interview that would demonstrate how you possess the characteristics described above.

Finally, remember if you aren’t successful at a particular interview it doesn’t mean that you are not good at your job, rather you were not right for that particular role. The right opportunity is out there for you, and taking the time to find the right job is always worth the effort.

It is important to consider that a potential employer will be looking to evaluate you against these criteria throughout the selection process, before deciding whether to offer you the job.


How to Write a CV


What is a CV and why do I need one?

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a summary of your career and academic history, which a recruiter will use to determine whether you have the skills and experience to fill their job vacancy.

It needs to be concise, accurate, engaging and thorough.

CV writing advice

Begin by assembling the facts and information you need to include in your CV, and display in reverse chronological order (i.e. the most recent items first).

Make your CV look professional.  Write it in MS Word in a suitable font, and use clear, consistent formatting.

Don’t have any unexplained gaps in your CV. If you have been travelling, unemployed or had a career break to raise children, include an explanation and remember that time-out can be a good discussion point at interview.

Be concise. Your CV should ideally be about 2-3 pages long. Short paragraphs and bullet points look neat and make the CV easy to read. Ensure you add achievements to each role citing tangible benefits you bought to the role.


What details should I include in my CV?

  1. Personal profile

This is your chance to sell yourself. Use short sentences to highlight key aspects of your CV such as your key skills, job roles and most importantly your achievements.  You may also use this section to briefly outline your career aims and reasons for seeking a new role.

  1. Personal details


Postal address

Telephone number

Email address

  1. Employment history

List all work experience in reverse chronological order, beginning with your current or last position.

Provide brief details of the companies you’ve worked for i.e. the name and type of business plus turnover. State the dates of employment and include details of your key responsibilities and key achievements within the role (especially if your job title is an ambiguous one).

Ensure the detail is factual and quantitative. Future employers want concise information that sells your skills to them.

  1. Education & qualifications

In reverse chronological order list qualifications achieved, including any you’re currently studying for. Include professional qualifications, your university, course & degree gained (if applicable), your secondary and further education including A-Levels, GCSEs/O Levels and the grades obtained.

  1. Additional skills

Detail all the computer systems you are literate in or have used previously, for example Microsoft Word, Excel; SAP; Photoshop; etc. State your proficiency in each honestly.

List any foreign languages along with your proficiency at each – for example; basic, conversational or fluent.

  1. Hobbies and interests

Listing interests and hobbies provides a more personal profile for employers and helps to present you as a rounded individual.

  1. References

It is up to you whether you include referee’s details in your CV or prefer not to disclose them at this stage. It is acceptable to leave out or state ‘available upon request’. As a courtesy ask permission first.

Common CV Mistakes

Once you’ve completed the first draft of your new CV, read through the below list and check you haven’t made any of these common CV mistakes:

  • Don’t write “CV” or “Curriculum Vitae” at the top. This is a waste of space as the employer will understand the purpose of the document.
  • Don’t add in details such as age, marital status, religion. These are irrelevant to an employer and take up valuable space on your CV. All the employer needs to know is how suited your skills & experiences are for the job.
  • No Typos! Use your computer’s spelling and grammar checker to avoid embarrassing errors. Pay particular attention to anything in capital letters as many computer spell-checks are set to ignore words in capital letters. Check carefully and then ask a friend or relative to proof-read as they may be able to spot things a computer can’t.
  • Keep it relevant. Only include information which is relevant to the job you’re applying for – the employer doesn’t want to know your life story.
  • Don’t include a photo on your CV. This is irrelevant and some employers really don’t like it.
  • Leave out salary information. Don’t put your salary information on your CV. A savvy recruiter will be able to estimate from your job title & responsibilities what salary bracket you fall into.
  • Don’t stretch the truth – this will only serve to trip you up further down the job application process. For example, if you state your MS Excel skills are excellent when in truth they’re basic and you’re presented with an Advanced Excel test at interview, you’re going to look pretty silly.
  • Don’t try to use humour in your CV. What people may find funny in person generally doesn’t come across well on paper. While humour may make your CV stand out to a recruiter, they will probably remember you for all the wrong reasons.

Once you are happy with your CV, forward it to a specialist recruiter in your field, together with an overview of the types of position you are looking for, desired location and salary range to give them the best opportunity to find your dream job.

Good luck.



The Counter Offer


You have accepted an exciting new job offer and are about to break the news to your boss but the likelihood is that they will not want you to leave.  It is natural for people to resist change and disruption and your boss will be no exception.  To avoid losing you, they are likely to make a ‘counter offer’ whilst at the same time persuading you that your acceptance of a new job is a mistake

Are they right? Take a deep breath, and follow our guide to ensure you make the right decision for you and your career.

The offer

The most common ways an employer will try and persuade you to stay is by offering you a pay rise either equal to or above what you have been offered in your new job, or offer additional responsibility or a promotion.

Of course it is flattering that your company is concerned to hear that you are leaving and your boss is now recognising your value to the business, but while the promise of promotion, responsibility and extra money may sound tempting, will it make you want to stay in the same organisation for the next few years?

Remember why you looked for a new job in the first place

You initially wanted to change employer because your present position no longer offers the growth potential to match your career aspirations.  It is true to say that your present company has helped you progress professionally and as a result, you may feel uncomfortable resigning.  You will also be leaving fellow managers and colleagues, and whilst these people may have been instrumental in advancing your career, this should not deter you from moving forward.

Don’t be persuaded into staying because you are scared of a change, or worried about inconveniencing others.

The implications of the counter offer

Before making a decision, stop and ask yourself these questions:

  1. “I made the decision to leave because I felt the new position offered me the best opportunity to fulfil my career needs. If I stay will the situation here really improved just because I said I was leaving?”
  2. “If I stay, will my loyalty be suspect and affect my chance for advancement once the dust has settled?”
  3. “This rise makes me expensive for the job position I’m in. How will that affect any future rises?”
  4. “I got this counter offer because I resigned. What will I have to do that the next time I think I’m ready for a rise or promotion?”

Evaluating your choices

To assist you in making your rational decision it is useful to do the following:

  1. Write a list of the reasons you wanted to leave in the first place
  2. Score theses on a scale of 1-5 of how unhappy they were making you
  3. Write a list of the reasons you want to accept your new role
  4. Score these on a scale of 1-5 of how happy each element will make you
  5. Now look at the counter offer. How many of the original reasons for leaving are you really confident will change? Score these and compare to your new role

Before accepting a counter-offer you need to 100% confident that your current employer will deliver on the promises they have made, and you won’t regret losing your new job offer.

Feel Good about your Decision to Move On

Once you have made you decision to leave, don’t feel guilty. Working is a business arrangement and moving jobs is part and parcel of that.  You are in control of your career and only you can decide which direction it should take.  If resigning from a job will bring you closer to your career goals then it is a step worth taking.

Move ahead with the intention of making yourself as valuable to your new employer as you now know you were to your old, and take yourself one step closer to your ultimate career goal.


Completing a Successful Design Project to Secure your Ideal Role



During the interview process a client may decide to set a project to assess the design capabilities of the shortlisted candidates or to determine which of the candidates to make a job-offer to.

In order to successfully complete the project and secure your new role, it is vital to understand what the client is looking for and why they are setting a project.  This is what our clients told us:

  1. Commerciality – Can you put designs together within the timescales, follow the brief and adhere to any specified price points?
  2. Do you have the right ‘handwriting’? -It can be difficult to ascertain from existing design work how your design skills will translate to the Brand you are being considered for. This is particularly the case if they are interviewing for a label with a different price point or market position to the one you are currently working for. (E.g. designing for a luxury label after working for a fast-fashion value line).  Can you adapt successfully to their brand?
  3. Range building – Are you able to put a range together that fits within the ethos of the Brand?
  4. Can you identify key trends and influences and incorporate them into the range?
  5. Presentation skills- How well can you present your designs and are you able to talk in a confident and coherent way? This skill is invaluable if you will be required to present to Buyers in your future role.
  6. Bringing something new? –Can you bring originality, quirkiness or add something new to the Brand or the existing Design team?

Ultimately this is an opportunity to showcase your skills and demonstrate your suitability for the role.

Enjoy the challenge and good luck!

The People Marketing Recruitment Team



Trial Days – What Do Candidates Gain from Them?



As recruiters, if a client is unsure of a candidate’s practical skills or is concerned about how well they will fit into an established team, then we will often recommend that they invite the candidate in for a trial. This is usually a single day but could be for a longer period of time.

Trials are particularly common within Technical roles – for example Pattern Cutting, Sample Machinist, Garment Technologist, or Sealer Grader positions.

The benefits for the client are obvious (and were covered in our earlier blog), but this can also be a very positive experience for the candidate too.

As a candidate you may benefit from the following: –

  • It provides a unique opportunity to get a feel for the working environment and the culture of the organisation.
  • An opportunity to see what the facilities and equipment are like.
  • You get to work with the product and confirm that the product area is right for you.
  • You may see for yourself the management style of your potential line manager and other senior members.
  • Witness how busy the team is.
  • See what the team do at lunchtime and for breaks.
  • Check how long the commute takes at peak times.
  • An opportunity to ask questions that may not have occurred to you in an interview setting.

Top Tips

Dress smart and be punctual – ensure you leave adequate time, arrive punctually looking smart (dressed appropriately for the company environment) and unflustered.

 Paid or not? – Some clients will pay for your time especially if you have taken time off work.  Many however will see this as part of the interview process and so will not pay, although they may cover travel expenses. For longer trials, (and dependent upon the level), clients tend to pay you for your time.

Trust your ability – It’s OK to be nervous as you want the job. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, it’s reasonable to expect a few mistakes, learn by them, and complete the task to the best of your ability.

Stay calm – If you do make a mistake it is better for you to be up-front about it and explain what happened and how you would avoid this in future.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions – This is the general rule, however, if it is a question unrelated to the set task try and save this for when the task is completed.


At the end of the trial many clients will have a closing session with you. This is an opportunity to discuss your performance, your experience of the day and to ask any questions you may have. Always remain calm and polite, and avoid being defensive if any issues are raised. If you feel that you haven’t demonstrated your skills as well as you would have liked, then this is your chance to voice this to the client.

Leave on a positive note, thank the client for their time and agree when and how the client will be in touch.

Hopefully a job offer will soon be coming your way, and after a successful trial, you can be confident that you will perform well in your new role.

Trial Days – Are they worth the effort for Clients?


As recruiters we are often asked by clients and candidates “Why do a Trial Day or Week?”

From a client perspective, a candidate can look great on paper but it can be very difficult to assess their capability and suitability to fit into a team through an interview alone. This is particularly common with technical roles – for example Pattern Cutting, Sample Machinist, Garment Technologist, or Sealer Grader positions.

We asked our clients why they invite candidates to a trial day or week and what they are looking to assess. This is what they told us: –

  • The trial allows them to assess a candidate’s technical or practical skills in situ.
  • Did the candidate come prepared?
  • Can they accurately pattern-cut as they advised in their interview?
  • If they are a creative pattern cutter can they provide 1st patterns from design sketches to toile and make amendments.
  • If CAD is required (Gerber, Lectra, Assyst, Investronica) how proficient are they?
  • How are their time management skills and did they cope well with the deadlines or tasks set?
  • Are they a good personality fit within the current team?

Costs & Expenses

Generally clients are open to paying expenses for a trial day and will look to pay the candidate if the trial is to run for several days or a full-week. It is however, important that this is agreed in advance with the candidate to avoid any misunderstandings.

The Candidate’s View

It is important to remember that that with a trial (just like every other part of the selection process) it is a ‘two-way’ process.

As well as being an opportunity for you to assess their capability, the candidate will be making their mind up about your organisation and you as a potential boss.  They will have an insight into the role, the working environment, and also the team they will be working with. It is important to make them feel welcome, comfortable and supported throughout the trial.

Ensuring a Successful Outcome

Finally we advise you to hold a feed-back session with the candidate, at the end of the trial day, to review their performance. Discuss any issues and give the candidate the opportunity to ask questions or voice any reservations about the potential role.

A well organised trial gives you the client the confidence that you are recruiting the right person for a pivotal role within your organisation.