Great day at the MFN Careers Fair yesterday…


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Doug, Emily and Kat met with some great candidates from a range of courses and backgrounds yesterday at the Manchester Fashion Network Careers Day. Interestingly for us, the rise of ecommerce and marketing in the North West was evident with a number of enthusiastic and talented candidates registering with us.

Also notable were some great forward thinking designers, flexible attitudes and varied portfolios, with great knowledge of wearable technology and emerging technological processes. It’s great to be out with the candidates, meeting face to face and seeing portfolios, it makes us feel closer to the action.

We hope we were able to give some helpful tips and advice to those we met with yesterday. Thanks for sharing with us.

 

10 things you should know before studying fashion!


 

WGSN INSIDER SEPT 2015

 

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  1. You have not experienced true sadness until you’ve gone through regular brutal critiques of your work (after which you’ll need tissues. And booze)
  2. In the weeks running up to your graduate show, you’ll lose your mind, friends and about a stone in weight (all of which you’ll get back between the after party and graduation).
  1. Start cataloguing everything you do and building your portfolio from day one. No one will prompt you to do this – but the smart people do it anyway.
  1. Commercial fashion is not a dirty term. Don’t feel like your designs have to be crazy to get you noticed.
  2. Your professors actually don’t know everything but you do jump through hoops to meet their sometimes crazy specifications (no back zippers, no buttons, nothing black, etc).
  3. At the beginning, everyone’s certain they’re the next McQueen. By the end, 96% of your classmates are happily headed to a mid-market retailer. Time + massive overdraft = realistic expectations.
  4. Being at school is suddenly amazing. This is what you’ve wanted forever and it’s happening. INSANE.

 

 

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  1. You have to do work experience almost constantly to get anywhere near employment by the time you graduate. In fact, when you start there will be people who’ve already done a bunch of placements. God damn them.
  1. Can’t sketch? Learn and do it pronto.
  1. It’s a slog. Continual grunt work, ego-shattering professors and you never end up creating the kind of designs or being the kind of designer you think you will. But the truth is, there’s nowhere you’d rather be – and it’s totally worth it.

 

 

London Fashion Week


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Fashion lovers came out in force at London Fashion Week, and I was fortunate enough to be one of them on Friday thanks to the lovely and extremely talented Womenswear Designer Jean-Pierre Braganza who was kind enough to invite me to his SS16 show… and what a show it was!

Vogue described it perfectly when they said “Hems were left undone and suits were radically reconfigured with entire panels left to hang loose. This may all sound wildly experimental, but, in fact, these clothes will do nothing to alienate Braganza’s eternal muse, that all-powerful female.”

The digital print which we were teased with on the beautifully designed tickets was definitely the star of the show. The elegant, Bauhaus inspired print which was bold and graphic was used on beautiful, light fabrics – my favourite being a stunning, one sleeved dress!  Wow!

Another highlight for me was the striking pop of cobalt blue which was complimented perfectly by the dreamy, primary coloured swirl print; one look in particular which combined these was a pair of blue, tie- belt trousers to die for, teamed with an amazing printed top which was wearable, fun and a real key piece for spring. I especially liked the cut out panels on the sleeves which made the piece even more exciting! As well as being a genuinely lovely guy Jean Pierre is incredibly talented and as you can tell I am a real fan of his work.

In true London Fashion Week style the location of the show was cool and unique – the Brewer Street carpark in Soho was transformed into a fashion haven – the concrete floors, walls and pillars provided an interesting contrast to the colour, texture and general fabulous-ness of the fashion!

Celebrities and fashion royalty were seen on the ‘Frow’ taking note of the exciting fashion on offer for next season. The vibe was chilled but with an air of excitement, the music was cool and the house was packed! Flashing lights of the ‘Paps’ greeted everyone as they entered and left the carpark and celebrities were interviewed on the street outside under huge ‘brollies to protect them from the September showers.

My job at People Marketing has given me some amazing experiences and I have been so privileged to see behind the scenes at so many exciting fashion houses, and even the odd photoshoot, but this was by far a highlight for me and something that will most definitely on my fashion calendar next year!

Aimee Ridler – Fashion Recruitment Consultant

a.ridler@peoplemarketing.co.uk

0115 9223335

 

 

Stand Out On Social Media


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There is one simple fact with Social Media – you will be judged.

This judgement will come from visitors to your profile, readers of your blog or even those who see your photograph and a suggestion to connect.

People process the information in front of them and make up their mind about what sort of person you are. They will look at your photo and subconsciously paint a picture of what it would be like talking to you or working with you. They look at the (theoretically) carefully selected content of your summary and wonder why you have decided to present yourself in a certain way. If your profile is bare, they will wonder what you are hiding, if it is too busy, they will wonder if you love yourself.

You can’t escape it.

There are lots of articles telling you how to make the most of your LinkedIn profile. This is not one of them.

As a recruiter, I go through hundreds of profiles of potential candidates every day. The lack of care taken with the majority shocks me every time. No amount of articles telling people how to make improvements can help with that. They need to realize the cold, hard truth for themselves first.

They are decimating their chances of moving on in their careers.

They may spend hours perfecting their CV, but a hiring manager will look at their LinkedIn profile at the same time. If it’s not up to scratch, the candidate will have a great big black mark against their name.

This is not only about LinkedIn now. Companies will look them up on Twitter and Facebook. For goodness sake, if you are going to have a profile on these websites, make sure that it is cleaned up and make sure that it has a respectable amount of suitable activity. If you are job searching, tweet industry news and insights. Stay away from posting personal updates and clear your history of embarrassing episodes.

Again, if you don’t do this, you will be judged. It is a standard expectation for a candidate to have a certain level of polish on their social media presence. If you are taken on by a company, they will not want to look bad by association. If you do not care about your personal brand online, what is it to say that our attitude will be any different with your employer’s brand.

So, my advice would be to attempt to stand out. Make an effort to be visible above the noise. Write a few blogs. Get active on Twitter. Make sure that your profile is a word-perfect reflection of who you really are as a person – let it reflect your personality.

All this activity doesn’t take so much time, but it ensures that your profile doesn’t stagnate. People will notice that. They will value that.

They will see you in a different light.

Are Millennials Taking Advantage?


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I am not so old for this to be one of the “when I was a lad” type blogs, but it seems to me that new entrants to the workplace have it far too easy these days. All the chat is about how the “millennials” should be accommodated within the workplace, rather than how they should be adapting to the realities of working life.

This panders to their sense of entitlement and there are yet more problems down the road as they have no experience to hand on to the next generation about the “school of hard knocks.”

I realise that a career is no longer for life, and I also realise that loyalty is almost an old-fashioned concept in the coming era of the portfolio career. It used to be the 60-somethings who would move into consultancy in their twilight years. Now it is the 20-somethings who are flitting from company to company, imparting their wisdom and moving on to the next pot of gold.

Please, understand me correctly, they have a huge amount of skills to bring to the table and they are the ones driving the technological revolution that we are currently benefiting from. I just think that their laissez faire attitude may not be entirely healthy….

In a world where long-term projects take years to come to fruition, what benefit can there be from a project team that will not be there when the results do come in? In the “olden days”, employees would have been dedicated to such projects and personally invested in their success. If they failed, it was their name on the project, and that was their reputation and career chances down the toilet. Now, the youth of today might up and leave before that even happens.

People are undoubtedly leaving companies sooner, swapping industries, job functions and countries more readily than the past. Again, this engenders a more diverse workforce, which is definitely a positive, but it doesn’t ensure consistency, it doesn’t ensure accountability for the future.

I think that it could soon be time for the CV to get a more transparent makeover. There could be a place where people (and employers) record achievements, projects, recommendations, but in such as way that it can’t be “doctored” like a LinkedIn profile. I have lost count of the times that a LinkedIn profile does not tally with a candidate’s CV.

The world needs to show these “young guns” that they are still as accountable as ever for their actions, that short-term gain is not always the best option, that they can be incentivised to produce long term solutions rather than take out their sticking plasters and do some first aid.

Millennials are our future, they will be supporting us in our retirement, but if they don’t take on a little more accountability for the longer-term performance of the businesses where they work, then who knows what the next generation will be like…

Sell the Role or Lose the Candidate


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Sell The Role Or Lose The Candidate

If companies want to attract the best talent, then the interview process has to be focussed on giving both parties the opportunity to understand the mutual fit. The structure of an interview is such that the information flow is stronger from candidate to client, but especially for market leading candidates, there should be more of a balance. The client needs to appeal to these candidates and know which buttons to press.

The recruiter plays the role of a facilitator in this situation.

They often have a prior relationship with the candidates. They understand their personal and professional motivations, and know why they have made career moves in the past. Recruiters use this knowledge to pique the candidate’s interest and throughout the process they ensure that the candidate is sufficiently motivated to continue.

Then the internal HR Manager or Recruiter takes over.

Their job is to ask questions (amongst others) about what motivates a candidate at work, their preferences in terms of working with others, their future ambitions and what they enjoy about their job. During this conversation, every candidate question should be answered, and every concern allayed. The candidate should be left in no doubt that it is a great place to work.

 

In tandem, or in a separate conversation, the Hiring Manager chips in.

For him, the professional motivations of the candidate are of paramount importance. What do they want the role? What do they want to achieve? What can the company offer them that their competitors can’t? Hand in hand with the professional considerations, come the personal aspects of the job. What sort of a boss do they work well with? What is their preferred style? The hiring manger should aim to build a quick rapport with the candidate, as this is the one thing that makes or breaks any recruitment process. You have to feel an affinity for the person that will be your immediate boss.

The Big Boss finally supplies the big picture.

Whether this is an MD or a Department Director, it is vital that there is a wow factor to finish the process. They can sell the strategic direction of the company, and they too would, hopefully, look to build a fledgling relationship with the candidate. If all the boxes have been ticked to this point, it is this last stage that often “seals the deal.”

In any recruitment process, never assume that the candidate has enough information and motivation to say “yes” should you offer them a role. At all stages, it is always worth asking questions, assuaging their doubts and hopefully beating their expectations.

A candidate who feels that he has been wooed is far more likely to join than one who has been given the option to “take it or leave it.” Candidates want to feel wanted. Make sure that the best ones do, or you might miss out.

 

People Marketing are Expanding


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Have you considered working in recruitment? People Marketing are looking for high calibre individuals, with experience of the fashion & textiles industry experience to join our growing team of recruitment consultants.

Recruitment is fast-paced,  competitive, with plenty of frustrations but ultimately lots of job satisfaction. Highs include finding a candidate their dream job, setting good people back on the right career path after taking a wrong turn or suffering a redundancy, and helping a client find the right person for their team.

Look at the testimonial page on our website to see what our candidates and clients say about our team, and consider if you have the passion to deliver the same high level of service?

To succeed in this role you will need lots of energy, enthusiasm and tenacity. You must genuinely enjoy working with people, and have excellent communication skills. Detail is everything in recruitment so you will need strong attention to detail, excellent administration skills, and the people skills to probe and coax information out of both candidates and clients.

In return for your hard work, we offer an excellent salary & benefits package with unlimited earning potential. You will be given full training and support and be offered career progression. At People Marketing we offer the advantages of joining an established but growing organisation, as part of a hard working but fun-loving team.

If you would like to find out more please contact Scott Davies s.davies@peoplemarketing.co.uk

The Human Cost of Direct Sourcing


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Strategic decisions are often made which have direct and indirect consequences for the people have associated with those businesses. In the Retail industry, save wholesale store closures, there is nothing more disruptive on a human level than when a Retailer announces that it is going to be sourcing it products direct.

Retailer prices are being squeezed like never before. The internet has introduced a low-cost operating model which undercuts store prices and Retailer’s margins are consequently lower than ever. As a result, many are putting huge pressure on their supply base, to the point where they decide that it is more economically viable to source products in-house.

This trend has been prevalent over the past ten years – first in food, then DIY, and lately fashion has increasingly jumped on the bandwagon. In the summer of 2014, Marks and Spencer’s (the stalwart of the British high street) announced a project to source 60% of its clothing direct.

When a Retailer sources direct from factories, redundancies were inevitable. This has sparked profit warnings far beyond our shores. From Israel to Bangladesh, the shockwaves are being felt.

But what does it mean for companies in the UK who have supplied M&S for decades?

They are now forced to seek new business with the rest of the high street, looking to differentiate their business, but many will fall by the wayside.  Whole teams have disappeared, and businesses are restructuring to make themselves attractive to new customers.

In terms of people, traditionally when M&S have been supplier changes in the past, employees have been able to step into their next role working for a competitor or fellow M&S supplier and possibly broaden their product knowledge. Now this is no longer possible, and there are hundreds of people in the market wondering how to make the move from the supply side into Retail. It seems that is the “safe” move to make.

There is no doubt that M&S needs to boost its design team and a few top management roles have been filled from their suppliers. This sourcing experience is crucial, so for the lucky few this has been a fortunate development. Social compliance, sourcing and costings are some of the key areas where skills are especially transferrable.

The shifts in the marketplace will not slow down. The UK “middle man” supplier is gradually disappearing and although there will always be a place in the market for them, the size of the pie is getting ever smaller.

There is however a light at the end of the tunnel. Offshore manufacturers are setting up satellite offices in the UK, with a view to supplying M&S directly. In addition, those with supply chain and commercial experience are increasingly seeing the internet operators as a destination. In this way, they will be eating into the profit margins of the retailers that once deserted them for this very reason.

Strange how the world works sometimes….

 

Are Internal Recruiters The Answer?


 

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The “in-house” or internal recruiter has become a vital asset for many companies. In the world of social recruitment and with ever more candidates on the radar, it has made increasing sense to bring the function in-house. This, of course, depends on the volume of annual recruitment and the type of hire to be made, but in most cases, having an internal recruiter who intimately understands the culture is crucial. They are accountable for long-term performance of hires and focused on quality rather than making commission at all costs.

However, there are circumstances where they are far from the optimal solution, and rather than acknowledge this, companies tend to put unrealistic pressure on them to deliver the impossible. When they are recruiting for specialist roles in a candidate poor market rife with skills shortages that is when a specialist recruiter should be involved.

For me, there are three key areas where internal recruiters can experience problems:

Lack of reach. Internal recruiters have a huge amount of different roles on the go at any one time. It is difficult to reach the best passive talent in niche areas as their networks may not extend that far. They should be asking searching questions of those candidates who are “available” in candidate-short areas. The best candidates should not be on the market for long. Just because they are available doesn’t mean they are the ideal fit.

Lack of knowledge. As a specialist recruiter, we know our market, we also get the candidates that apply to job adverts or candidates who are unhappy and want to move on. We also have the knowledge and expertise to search out candidates who aren’t actively looking and can present an opportunity to get their interest in. We can make approaches to the client’s competitors which for them would be unprofessional to do directly. We can carry out competency based interviews and challenge candidates for them the qualify and quantify their knowledge and as the skills in the labour markets shrinks and there are less and less highly skilled candidates out there

Lack of pulling power. The best specialist candidates are hard to tempt away from their current role. An internal recruiter only has one opportunity to do this, one chance to turn their heads. A specialist recruiter, however, has multiple requirements at any one time and can build a longer-term relationship with the best passive talent. Candidates know that the specialist recruiters are likely to be the source of their next roles, so they are open to being influenced in a way that no internal recruiter can.

Specialist recruiters exist to answer these very specific issues. We have evolved to fill in the gaps within the recruiting process. We act as trusted advisors for both candidates and clients, and we take pride in providing an effective solution to what can be a serious headache for an overworked internal recruiter.

 

Why Do Recruiters Exist? Really?


“The company is hiring for a job, I want a job. Nothing complicated there, right? Simple supply and demand calculation. They have a look at my CV; I have a look at their website. They say “hmm, interesting” and I say “hmm, interesting.” A couple of meetings later I am shaking them by the hand as they offer me a job. What extra value can a recruiter possibly add?”

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