Our highly experienced temps team are dedicated purely to temporary, interim and contract roles, and handle over 1,000 charity and not-for-profit temp vacancies throughout the year.
We know that whether you're recruiting or seeking a new temporary assignment yourself, it's vital that we not only make great placements, but as quickly and efficiently as possible too.
For that reason, our temps consultants each specialise in roles within particular departments or job functions, giving us better knowledge and closer contact with our candidates and recruiters in each field. That means we stay right up to date with the latest opportunities and our talented temps, and able to make the right matches fast.
What we cover
Roles can range from a few days to many months, interim positions, short-term contracts and more. Covering everything from junior to executive-level positions, specialisms include:
- Interim Management
- Marketing and Communications
- Data Management and Analysis
- Supporter Care
- Projects and Programmes
- Administration and Support
- Human Resources
If you're looking for temporary work
Once you've registered with us, make sure to keep in touch with your consultant and an eye on our jobs pages for the latest roles.
Bear in mind too that vacancies can sometimes arise at such short notice there's too little time to advertise, and for those we need to know who's free as quickly as possible. Keeping us updated regularly when you're available is the best way to make sure you're front of mind when those last-minute opportunities come in
It's also worth keeping your CV right up to date with your most recent assignments and any new skills learned: they might have opened up more opportunities for you, so make sure we know about them!
I was recruited to my new post through Harris Hill. As a prospective candidate I found them to be friendly and very professional. I subsequently used them to recruit someone to our team, and found them to be very engaged and supportive of what we as an employer were looking for in a staff member. I am pleased to say we found a great candidate. Harris Hill have gone above and beyond in their recruitment support and would definitely use them again
Director, Transport for All
The year might just be waking up but the 2019 Harris Hill Charity Series is already raring to go! Here's a quick update on the forthcoming quiz, bowling shenanigans and our Golden Softball competition winners... In search of answers... For everything we've learned as a species about science, evolution and the intricacies of the universe, some things remain impenetrable mysteries, the eternal unknowables; questions that have baffled mankind throughout history and continue to do so today. Most of them will probably turn up in the Charity Series quiz if past form is anything to go by, which returns for 2019 on February 5th, run by the all-knowing softball committee and contested by as many charities as our brilliant hosts at Patch St Paul's can possibly squeeze in! It's an evening of fun, fierce competitition and fiendishly difficult questions - plus prizes galore in the charity raffle. Last year's event raised a great sum for Muscular Dystrophy UK and this year we're hoping to do even better for QEF (Queen Elizabeth's Foundation for Disabled People) - not least because the raffle tickets are no longer cash-only, you'll be able to go contactless too. ► Pre-event update: unfortunately as it turns out, it's not quite as easy to get a handy and portable card payment machine as the TV ads would have you believe, so we're working on a partial online solution. If you can though, please bring along some cash if you'd like to take part in the raffle. Which we highly recommend, as there's already a superb selection of prizes, generously donated by many of our local businesses and more across London. There's still more to come but huge thank-yous already to Embody Wellness and Floatworks Vauxhall, Oliver Bonas, first-rate florists Windmill Flowers, and both the Sipsmith and Beefeater Gin Distilleries! (we don't know who's been getting through all the gin, but keep up the good work). Team-wise the ones to beat are last year's top three: bronze medallists Asthma UK, runners-up Citizens Advice and 2018 champs the Canal & River Trust! Bring it on, as people reportedly say. A big night at the bowling! Meanwhile there were strikes to spare in November as the Charity Series returned to Rowans Tenpin Bowling in Finsbury Park for another high-stakes (by which I mean there were chocolate advent calendars to be won) bowl-off between the best part of 40 leading charities. A great night as always, and an astonishing one for Team HH: in a twist on our traditionally-terrible total it turns out last year's fifth place wasn't a fluke after all, and after a mere 172 years of the contest we might have finally got the hang of throwing the ball-thing in roughly the right direction. But it's not about us, it's about the brilliant charities taking part, and after a single year in third place the mighty 2015 and 2016 winners Age UK returned to the top, swiftly followed by a stellar performance from GOSH and a delighted Dogs Trust cracking the top three for the first time: At the end of the day we can probably all agree that the real winner here was bowling, but also top scorer Anthony of St Mungo's with a record-breaking 193 personally-earned points, the highest-ever individual score. Props too to CAF's Jack, Numan and Amy of St John Ambulance who we believe was the highest-scoring female bowler but shout if you know otherwise! Until next time... And finally, in (golden) softball news... Should you have somehow escaped missed it on Twitter and be wondering who won our competition for last summer's charity softball teams - or indeed what on earth we're talking about - then wonder no more. As you might have heard mention, we're immensely proud sponsors of the London Charity Softball League, which brings countless charities from the capital together throughout the summer, and never fails to impress us with the sheer dedication, good humour and hard work of players, supporters and organisers alike. It's a challenging, superbly organised and phenomenally popular contest which, were it not for those qualities, might have something in common with our very own summer-long challenge: Harris Hill's Golden Softballs! So what's it all about? Who won? And why? ► Read on for the full 2018 competition, all the balls, and news of our winners! ► Back to the blog homepage
A new year, a fresh start, and time for a new job? How do you know if it’s really time to move on? It’s a question that can get stuck in your head, like a hit from the ‘80s, or a metal plate. Should I stay or should I go, you wonder – wouldn’t it be good? How will I know? And when will I be famous, exactly? Well, wonder no more, because our hastily-cobbled-together new year quiz is here to help you find out! As the UK's leading specialists in charity sector recruitment we've got decades of experience and expertise, absolutely none of which went into this spurious exercise. Ten simple questions, zero scientific legitimacy: just select the end of each statement that best completes it for you. (You’ll need to tot up your answers at the end – we'd have made it interactive but had a party meeting to get to and largely imaginary coding skills. Plus the last time we tried embedding anything - well, let's just say there was bit of a misunderstanding and now we can't look anyone from IT in the eye). Let's move swiftly along and get started... For each of the ten statements below, simply choose the ending that's most applicable for you: 1. Your boss is… A An endless source of inspiration! B Quick to show appreciation C No real cause for celebration D Hopeless beyond explanation E Under police investigation 2. You’re expecting the year ahead to be… A More amazing than ever! B Pretty good, on the whole C More of the same D 365 more days of relentlessly soul-destroying misery E 1989 3. The moment you wake up in the morning you’re… A Bouncing up and out of bed! B Planning for the day ahead C Wishing it was Sunday instead D Overwhelmed with fear and dread E Sorry, you’ve lost me there. Wake up…in the morning? 4. You travel in… A With a smile on your face and a spring in your step! B With a packed schedule and everything you need for a busy and productive day C With far too many other people - it's definitely getting worse D With grudging resentment and an emergency bottle of gin E Style, regardless of expense 5. At 4pm on a typical Monday we’d probably find you… A Sighing with contentment - we're doing something wonderful here B Trying to get as much done as possible by the end of the day C Buying things online – there's some brilliant deals on Groupon this week D Crying in the stationery cupboard. Mondays are cruel. E Flying, probably. I’m always flying somewhere. 6. If they made you CEO tomorrow you would… A Probably burst with pride and delight! What a privilege! Though I hope this doesn’t mean something terrible’s happened to Martin? B Be very surprised, super-nervous, but pretty chuffed I guess – I’d certainly give it a go! C Of this place? Oh, right. Well, so long as there's a decent payrise. D Derive immense pleasure from firing each and every one of these ‘people’ E Be totally confused but hey, how hard can it be - yeah, why not? 7. You’ve won £50 million on the lottery*! (*you haven't, just to be clear for legal purposes: it’s a hypothetical premise in a made-up quiz) You would… A Donate the lot to charity and keep on coming to work of course – I couldn’t leave these guys! B Throw the biggest leaving party this place has ever seen. Free champagne for everyone! C Be out of here before you could blink D Bribe the board to retire, take over, and derive immense pleasure from firing each and every one of these ‘people’ E Oh, Marbs or Ibiza darling, straight away. Miami if it’s winter. 8. The highlight of your time there is… A Probably yet to come! But otherwise, gosh, so many to choose from! B Getting that great new project off the ground – we've been able to make a real difference with the revenue generated C Hard to remember off the top of my head, but I’m sure there was something a few years back D ...going to be the look on their faces when I finally announce which orifice they can kindly insert their job into E Highlights? Are people still having those? 9. With a month left to use it, you've still got a week of your annual leave. You… A Don’t want it anyway – who’d skip a single day with these wonderful people? B Try and book the rest of it in without missing anything too important C Immediately book the next week off and head for a Spanish resort to soak up the sun, sea breezes and your bodyweight in Sangria D Don’t understand the question. Obviously I got through it all months ago - why on earth would I be here otherwise? E Sorry no, you’ve lost me again - my annual what? 10. When the time eventually comes to move on, you’ll… A Miss these guys SO much, we’re like family! Actually some of us are now – oh, that was a beautiful wedding. Shame they can’t stand each other now of course, but if we sit them at opposite ends they can't throw anything sharp past the photocopier. It's a pity our interns keep leaving, though. B Keep in touch, at least with the people I'm closest to here. Probably my manager too, you never know if I might want to come back one day. C Have to do leaving drinks I suppose. If I fake being totally hammered by 7.30 I can probably get home in time for Bake-Off. D Write a tell-all memoir of my heroic struggle, describing the countless misdemeanours of my colleagues in unnecessarily salacious detail E Already be living it large in the next place to be - the party's wherever I am! Job done! You've made it to the end of the questions. So what does the year ahead have in store for you? Should you stay put, or start searching? If your answers were... Not that you'd dream of it, but don’t even think about moving! Stay exactly where you are; they love you there and by golly, you just love them right back. Possibly a little bit too much but honestly, who can blame you? It’ll all end in tears of course, because you’ve never built the ten-foot wall of cynicism that shields the rest of our blackened hearts, but don't listen to the doubters. You're having a ball, so good for you and long may it last! However unlikely that may be! Top tip for 2019: Maybe just start keeping track of the cats you're adopting - is that the fourth now? It's all good! You've got a decent employer, you’re valued, doing well and even if it’s not your ultimate dream job, it’s right enough for right now. There’s no harm in scanning the job ads occasionally in case there's something even better, but you’ve still got potential there yet, room to grow, and so much going on that it's highly unlikely you're doing trivial internet quizzes. We're wasting our time here, basically. Top tip for 2019: They won't be reading this, so if everyone could just quietly hum to themselves to fill the gap here, that’d be great thanks. It's not you, it's your job. Or maybe it is you - oddly we can't quite be sure despite the forensic questioning. Either way, whatever fireworks there may once have been have long since burned out and the relationship's stuck in a rut. You're going through the motions but it's not bringing the best out of either of you and frankly, you both deserve better. There's always the chance you can turn things around - like there's always the chance of it snowing in August - but if we were in your shoes we'd ask ourselves a) if we still want to be there in three years' time, and b) why on earth we're borrowing your shoes. We're not even the same size. Top tip for 2019: You're capable of so much more, so dust off your CV, do something about your hair (trust us), and get searching for a great new job! Okay, before we can talk we'd appreciate if you'd put that thing down. That's better, thank you. Well, we're sure you don't need us to tell you it's time to move on, and the sooner the better for all concerned. Life could be so much better in a job that you actually like, surrounded by people you don't loathe with every fibre of your being. We can't guarantee you'll walk straight into that kind of job - not while the bitterness can still be seen from space, at least - but it's got to be worth a try, right? Things have turned toxic and it's time to shape up and ship out. And if you can do it without anyone requiring emergency services, it's an achievement to mention in interviews. Result! Top tip for 2019: Even if you've already checked today, it's always worth making absolutely sure you're not the prime minister. …we should point out this is NOT a dietary recommendation. Because, well we don't quite know how to put this, but we ran your answers through our highly sophisticated analysis machine and the phrase that came back was 'either too high or too rich to function'. The machine's words, not ours - and frankly a bit much from an overpromoted calculator that can barely manage to switch itself on, but that's modern technology for you. Either way it's not something we see in a job specification all that often, so the prospects there aren't brilliant - but at least you're happy, artificially-induced or otherwise. Here's to 2019! Top tip for 2019: Wherever is the new 'new Ibiza', after whatever was the new Ibiza last year. And never be photographed without sunglasses - have them surgically attached if necessary (somebody will know somebody, just ask around). That's the end of the quiz and should it not be already, we’d like to make abundantly clear that none of the above should be taken as remotely sensible career advice. But if you'd like some proper assistance with finding new jobs in the charity sector, just get in touch with one of our specialist consultants! Alternatively you can browse through our current vacancies, or give us a call on 020 7820 7300 - we'd love to hear from you. In the meantime, good luck if you're thinking of moving, and our very best wishes for 2019! Team Harris Hill More from the Harris Hill blog: ► Specialist charity recruitment: now available in Scotland! ► 2018 review and career resolutions for the new year ► Back to the blog index
Dramatic landscapes and majestic scenery, vibrant cities and buzzing nightlife, the people, the whisky, the slices of square sausage – what’s not to love about Scotland? Bagpipes aside of course, but we trust the UN will eventually intervene. At Harris Hill we've always worked with charities nationwide from our London HQ, but we've long been eager to provide more local, face-to-face support for organisations further afield; to which end we’ve recently opened a brand new office in the South West. So when one of our most experienced recruiters, Harris Hill legend and all-round top bloke Jason Jederon relocated north of the border earlier this year, the decision was easy. Step forward, Harris Hill Scotland! Working from his conveniently-located new base in the middle of Scotland’s central belt, Jason’s little more than half an hour from Glasgow, Edinburgh and the surrounding areas, and easily able to meet with charities in key cities like Dundee, Perth, Stirling and St Andrews too. And since we’ve been celebrating the brilliant work of charities all over the country for #UKCharityWeek 2018, what better time for the HH Blog to quiz our man in the North on the new venture, life, work and the charity sector in Scotland? Though to our eternal shame we forgot to ask about the square sausages. L-R: Jason Jederon, an unexpectedly picturesque Aberdeen, and potentially something very rude about the English in Gaelic (but probably just a straight translation) So firstly, why Scotland? For me it was the opportunity to experience a different place and lifestyle. I’m a born and bred Londoner and have never lived outside of the capital, so I’ve always thought about experiencing something different and when the opportunity came up, I felt it was now or never. I’ve been coming to Scotland for many years thanks to my wife and have always loved the people, the scenery and the Scottish banter. In terms of opportunity, the potential is huge for Harris Hill. We know there’s a buoyant sector up here to work with and feel there’s a genuine gap in the marketplace for a recruitment provider with our pedigree and longevity to provide support to existing and new clients. What kind of roles are you recruiting for? As in London, the focus is on permanent and contract recruitment for charity head office roles. My recent background has been within fundraising so that’s the natural place to start off, but I also have experience of working broader roles in areas such as operations, marcomms, project management and finance. And who have you been working with so far? I’ve started by building on the warm relationships we have with organisations we’ve previously recruited for and who have requirements in Scotland; like the Head of Fundraising - Scotland role I’m currently recruiting for a national children’s charity. Beyond that I’ve been actively securing meetings with potential new clients in Glasgow and Edinburgh for causes such as environmental, healthcare, medical research and hospices. L-R: Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland's three biggest cities basking in the sun. Not all on the same day, obviously. How have you been finding the initial response from charities and candidates? Coming into the market as a new player has been quite interesting. Once you leave the comfort of London to come here, I quickly realised that we’re not as well-known as I first thought. Some of the people I’ve spoken to are familiar with us but the majority I’ve engaged with aren’t yet aware of who we are and what we do. But since I’ve started in this new role the response has been very encouraging, and from what I’m hearing there’s a genuine appreciation for a professional recruitment consultancy to provide an alternative to the current suppliers. For those who don't yet know us, what can they expect from Harris Hill in Scotland? I’m here to provide a strong level of service and support to the sector and to assist them with finding their most important commodity: people. I’ve been recruiting within the charity sector for nearly six years now, so I'm able to bring with me a strong awareness of charities’ needs and challenges in the current climate. I’ve also recruited large numbers of fundraisers, operations staff and marcomms professionals so I’m aiming to use the knowledge and experience I’ve gained for the benefit of our clients in Scotland. Any successes to share so far? It’s early days so far but I’ve filled roles with an environmental charity in Dundee, finding them a Director of Fundraising - and most recently we’ve just placed a Community Fundraiser for a national homelessness charity in Glasgow. I’m awaiting the outcome of interviews for the Head of Fundraising role, so fingers crossed there too. So relative to the London/South East market, what's different about recruiting for charities in Scotland? So far I’ve definitely noticed that because there are fewer charities to choose from (compared with London) people tend to move around less frequently. For fundraising in particular there seems to be something of a skills gap, with fewer suitable candidates for the roles that do become available. I’ve had conversations with senior fundraisers who feel there's a real lack of major gift fundraisers to choose from, for example. Also the universities and educational institutions here provide a great deal of competition in the battle for talent. Glasgow at Christmas, and Jason with fellow fundraising specialists Hayley Wilson, Natalie Lawford and Rudolph (seasonal temp) What have been the biggest challenges in getting started? So far it’s been about getting our name out there and raising our profile, so that people get to know that we’re genuine about this and here to stay. Maybe we’re seen as a London/Southern focused business without much of a track record in Scotland. But I think that actually having a physical presence here makes such a difference - and I’d like to think that I’m gradually changing people’s initial perceptions of us. In terms of competitors there aren’t many of the specialist charity recruiters you have in London, but there are some generalist agencies who dabble in providing support to charities. Getting the message out there that we’re genuinely specialist and only work in the charity sector is the biggest part of my pitch and so far, I feel that’s helped a great deal. So outside of work, how have you been adapting to life in Scotland? It’s taken a little time to adjust but I’m enjoying my time here and I feel that I’ve been welcomed along with my family. It’s good that we have friends and family close to us who’ve helped with the transition. The pace of life is a little slower but so far it’s been good to experience being away from London, and I feel I was at the stage of life where I was ready for a change. We have access to the countryside and a more active, outdoor lifestyle (when the weather permits) and I’ve been getting in to Glasgow and Edinburgh more when I need a bit of city life. And finally (since it's nearly here), what are your ambitions for Harris Hill Scotland in 2019? I want the Scotland business to grow and to show that we’re in it for the long term. Launching a new venture like this is tough but I’m hugely excited by the potential and from the early encouragement I’ve had so far. Ultimately, it’s all about generating business and delivering great service but if that can be done consistently over the next few months I’d like to feel we could expand the headcount, add one or two staff members and potentially become a full regional office. It’s early days but I’m excited by the challenge ahead! If you're a charity professional in Scotland and would like to find out how we can help with your recruitment needs, or get an expert view of the potential opportunities for your next move, please don't hesitate to get in touch with Jason on 07388 949510 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Related posts: ► Bringing remarkable people to you: introducing our specialists in Scotland and the South West ► UK Charity Week: celebrating UK charities (and some great opportunities to join them)
It’s probably safe to say that historians of the future, should there be one, won't be regarding 2018 as one of humanity’s finest years - globally or within our own (barely) United Kingdom. But as we grapple with increasingly unacceptable levels of conflict, poverty and Boris Johnson, it’s all the more important to remember there are plenty of great people out there too, doing plenty of truly great things. Hundreds of thousands in the UK alone in fact, working or volunteering for good causes and the benefit of others, through nearly 200,000 registered charities. This week is all about celebrating those people and the fantastic work of UK charities (many of whom we're delighted to work with), so naturally we're proud to be an official supporter of #UKCharityWeek 2018! There's a huge amount happening which you can check out at the official site, and our very best wishes if you're organising or taking part in one of the many events and celebrations. Inspired to work for a UK charity? Charity jobs are of course what we’re all about at Harris Hill, bringing remarkable people together with fantastic opportunities throughout the sector. And if you've been inspired to find a great new job with a UK charity, here's a top selection of our currently available vacancies, from the north of Scotland to the southern shores of Jersey (which turns out to be a real island and not just invented in the 1980s for tax purposes and Bergerac after all, so it's definitely worth a look). On to the jobs below! Head of External Relations Edinburgh, £excellent This is a key role working on behalf of Scotland's only national charity dedicated exclusively to the prevention and response of child sexual abuse. You'll need to be quick with this one though, as applications close on Thursday 6th December. ►More details Membership Development Officer - Woodland Trust 18 locations nationwide including Aberdeen, Brighton, Carlisle, Durham, Glasgow, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, Manchester, Southampton and Suffolk Part-time (min 22.5 hrs per week), £11,500 per year We're delighted to be working with the Woodland Trust, the UK's leading woodland conservation charity, on a nationwide hunt for people who share their passion for the UK's native woods and trees, with the enthusiasm to inspire plenty more! You'll be the face of the Woodland Trust, talking to people from all walks of life about why woods and trees are special and how we can ensure their protection. ►Find out more and see the full list of locations on our Woodland Trust pages, or view more details of the role Events Fundraising Manager Southampton, £31,000 - £34,000 per year This is a great role for an Events Fundraising Manager to work with a national and international social welfare charity in Southampton, dealing with a range of challenge and special events; where you'll also have the opportunity to travel abroad. ►More details Fundraiser Watford, £23,000 per year This is an opportunity to get plenty of hands-on experience running programmes, initiatives and events to support the strategy and tailored fundraising programme of this Watford-based charity. ►More details Social Media Developer (Temporary) Surrey, £25,000 - 35,000 per year If you're looking for something short-term this is a fantastic three-month opportunity for a Social Media Developer to join this youth related charity, where you'll help to plan, coordinate and implement all of their social media communications. ►More details Fundraising and Development Manager (Temporary) Surrey, £25,000 - 35,000 per year ....and with the aforementioned youth related charity, this is also a great opportunity to join them on a temporary basis for three months, developing relationships across the charity's local communities and delivering a portfolio of fundraising and awareness-building events throughout the year. ►More details Community Fundraiser Hampton, Surrey, £24,000 per year Famous for Hampton Court Palace, former residence of wedding addict and guillotine enthusiast Henry VIII, Hampton is thankfully now home to a rather more genteel community, who you'll work closely with in this role, implementing this charity's community partnerships strategy by growing income from all forms of local area fundraising. ►More details Head of Fundraising and Partnerships St Helier, £34,375 - 36,672 per year Based in the beautiful setting of St Helier and working with one of the UK's most loved children's charities, this is a role with huge appeal where you'll take the lead on fundraising, partnerships and raising the charity's profile throughout Jersey and the Channel Islands. ►More details We've also got a wealth of great opportunities elsewhere in the UK (particularly in London and the South East) in charity finance, fundraising, marketing, digital, data management, HR and many more fields, so if we can help with your job search or recruitment needs please don't hesitate to get in touch. ►View all charity jobs In the meantime, we highly recommend following the #UKCharityWeek Twitter feed to keep abreast of what's happening, and from all of us, have a wonderful UK Charity Week 2018! Team Harris Hill Back to the blog index
Made a mistake at work recently that was your fault? Are you still agonising over it? For my guest article this month, I’m exploring why a work blunder might feel like your world has ended, never mind your career, but could turn out to be the best thing you’ve ever done. Ah, the work blooper. Whether you’re an intern or the CEO, a self-orientated perfectionist or if you swear you triple-checked your email recipient, one day you WILL make a mistake. It’s an inevitable and unavoidable part of life. For article research, I asked friends, colleagues and LinkedIn’ers if they’d be willing to reveal their most unforgettable career-clangers. The responses wove a fascinating (and hilarious) tapestry of goofs. A helpful reminder that we’re all human - it’s the quirks of our mental make up that truly makes us interesting - and that even the most painful slip-ups can be helpful… Why do we make mistakes anyway? From clean forgetting the attachment on an all-company email to accidentally forwarding a highly inappropriate spam video to your Chair of Trustees - rather than flagging it with your PR team as you’d intended - the workplace gaffe is cringingly familiar. It’s safe to say most people have experienced the palpable gut-wrench of making an absolute clanger. So why do we make mistakes? Are we simply being careless or in a rush? Ignoring our intuitions and pushing ahead with an approach we know deep down will fail? Or is there more at play than personality and intelligence? American journalist and author Joseph T. Hallinan thinks so. In his book ‘Why We Make Mistakes’, he believes humans are pre-programmed to mess up because of our inbuilt ‘design flaws’. That it’s the way we think, see and remember - and forget - that leads us to make mistakes. By delving into psychology, neuroscience, and economics, he deduces that the same qualities that make us efficient can also make us prone to error. These design flaws, like when our eyes play tricks on us, are all-too-relatable. ‘I once sent an email about how incompetent and what a pain in the a***e a client was - only to send it directly to him’ said one of my friends. Not spotting a missing letter can also wreak havoc, as a teacher friend discovered. ‘My teaching assistant was responsible for the gardening club and needed to write an emergency flyer home to parents due to bad weather. She intended to ask them to wear wet-weather gear - wellies in particular. But, the note read something along the lines of... ‘Dear gardeners, please don’t forget to bring your willies to school tomorrow!’. It was my job to check - I missed it and the note went home. Thank goodness our parents are fairly good humoured!’. Why is it good to mess up? Most people are compassionate enough to realise mistakes happen and see the funny side when wellies go rogue. None of us are entirely flawless but we’re acclimatised to curated perfection in our virtual worlds. We share our successes and luminous achievements to our followers, but we rarely exhibit our failures when things haven’t gone so well. Then again, messing up can feel like the end of the world. The immediate reaction is usually negative; panic, nausea, wild irrationality. As you simultaneously update your LinkedIn profile in readiness for a new-job search and WhatsApp your friends requesting an urgent wine-up to wallow in catharsis, you can feel like the worst (*add job title here) in the country. Yet giving yourself permission to make mistakes could actually make you stronger. No matter how crushing they feel at the time, getting it wrong can be right in the long term. As Viv Groskop explains in her article for The Pool, ‘the more we stumble the less likely we are to head towards a major fall’. Making a mistake allows you to pause and reflect on the decisions made and actions taken which caused the error. Essentially, you get clarity on what’s gone wrong and can take steps to put it right. Post-mistake anxiety - the I never want to experience this embarrassment or worry ever again feeling - can be the driving force to do better next time. You may also push yourself in a way you wouldn’t if you’re used to playing it safe and striving for perfection. Author Elizabeth Day’s inspiring podcast ‘How To Fail With Elizabeth Day’ celebrates the things that haven’t quite gone right. Every week, she asks her interviewee what they learned from their failures and how to do it better next time, - and succeed. In her article for The Guardian, she shares, ‘I realised that the biggest, most transformative moments of my life came through crisis or failure’. Crucially, she survived. So, what can I learn from a mistake? The cringy, 'it feels like my career is over' kind of mishaps are often unforgettable. Yet, for most people their world didn’t actually end, it got better. Mistakes can: ► Embed a valuable skill. When one senior designer first started out in publishing, he printed '10,000s of John Grisham audiobooks with the title misspelt on the spine. It was…quite a biggy’. Gulp. Yet, the one thing they’ve carried with them, apart from an innate fear of a legal thriller, is how crucial it is to double check anything that goes public. My friend who sent a disparaging email about a client TO the client? ‘I never wrote a single word about anyone on my work email ever again!’. ► Steer you down a career path you REALLY want to take. One of my great friends ‘invited 60 Financial Services big-wigs to a CPD event up in Liverpool, only to receive a phone call from one of the attendees telling me that the venue hadn’t a clue about the event and there was no booking. Yep - I hadn’t booked it. To be fair to me that season I ran over 140 events nationally, but that was a spectacular fail! It was then I realised, Events was not for me…’. They have since built a successful and exciting career in HRIS with notable brands on their CV - and haven’t given CPD events a second thought. ► Alter your behaviour. ‘I wondered and commented on why a young lad was looking at a notice up really really close’ mused one of my contacts. ‘Unfortunately he had a very bad eye problem. I was mortified that I had commented and have learned that all disabilities may not be that obvious. I’m very considerate and helpful to all my customers'. Although naturally respectful, it reminded her that consideration towards others goes a long way. Argh, I’ve made a huge mistake. Now what?! Here are some suggested ways to navigate yourself out a potential crisis in the event of a blooper: 1. Clear your head. Stop, take a deep breath and consider what’s actually happened (i.e. did you email the person intended or the whole company?). In your eagerness for damage control, avoid sending an email immediately. It could make things ten times worse and appear you’ve lost control. 2. Face up to it. Don’t run away, hide in the loos or blame the whole thing on Stephen from Finance. Be upfront with your manager and apologise, but don’t over do it. Present a clearly thought-out solution for their approval and display a calm and professional exterior (even if you’re sobbing inside). 3. Try not to catastrophise. It’s natural to assume the worst - but don’t let panic or imposter syndrome overwhelm you. It’s likely your colleagues won’t notice your mistake, as everyone’s too busy making their own (I mean, getting on with their work). 4. A slip-up shared...Talk to a friend or loved one. What feels like the end of the world this morning could make for a terrific anecdote by this evening once you’ve nailed (1), (2) and (3). Swapping ‘you’ll never guess what I did today’ tales can offer reassurance, a reality check and a giggle. Then, stop obsessing and let it go. 5. Show em’ what you’re made of. Don’t let a blip derail you. Work extra hard over the coming weeks to restore your confidence. Genuine colleagues and good line managers will want to see you succeed. 6. Check yourself. If you’re making small but frequent mistakes at work, there might be something else at play. Are you overloaded with a heavy work-life balance or anxious about something in your personal life? Or are you bored, taking your eye off the ball? Consider talking to your manager or HR, or access other support mechanisms like an employee assistance programme or a work/life coach. No matter how agonising at the time, work mistakes can provide invaluable lessons to file in our ever-growing life manual. Although it’s hard to visualise in the moment, the personal growth you’ll experience will make it all worthwhile. Trust me. It’ll all be OK. Nicola Greenbrook - HR Specialist & Freelance Writer Contact Nicola There were too many brilliant mistakes to include in this article so... ..for the purposes of solidarity in our slip-ups, here’s some more mistakes to share. A huge thanks to everyone who bravely participated! Interviewing the wrong person for a role was a good one! Two sets of interviews were happening at the same time. I knew my candidate was a Sikh gentleman and never for a moment imagined the other candidate would be too, so didn’t check his name, just asked if he was here for a interview. It was only when we got to the technical questions that he actually asked what the role he was being interviewed for was! Before I moved into professional services I worked for a fairly big haulage company in their Finance dept. I was working closely with two very experienced women who were great to work with and helpful. We got on well as a team apart from our direct line manager who was David Brent before he was conceived as a concept. Unfortunately one of said women had a massive hang up about her age (she was in her mid thirties) and one day I tried to get her attention to discuss a project and forgot where I was and called her 'mother'. She thought I was being cheeky (due to sensitivity around age) but it was a genuine oversight. Everyone else in the office was rolling up in tears. Lesson learned, always remember somebody's name and their relationship to you. For context I was 18 at the time. It can’t be as bad as a) inviting all your personal contacts to a staff breast awareness session or b) an unfortunate ‘Beast Caner’ typo (breast cancer) in a print run of 5,000. Back in the day and being an over-helpful people pleaser I offered to help our Company Secretary "guillotine" the sides off of his eldest daughter's GCSE music manuscripts to tidy them up for submission to the examiners. (His PA was on a day off). I nervously lined them up on what I thought would be a nice, neat line - only to chop off about an inch of the actual music as well! Not sure what I learned other than what a complete twit I was! And of course it’s something I've never forgotten - and apparently neither had he when I met him at a reunion almost 20 years later! I did a whole day of interviews. We had one candidate that got louder and higher pitched with each question and answer, to the point where on the panel, we couldn't look at each other and were shaking with holding the laughter in. Somehow we made it through that interview, but didn't do the sensible thing and take a break, get it out and breathe… no, we just ploughed on. The poor next candidate came in and started her interview, but then two of us made eye contact and one of us lost it. One interviewer had to leave the room after snorting out a laugh. All of us fell apart laughing - absolutely full-on crying, belly laughs. It was awful. The poor candidate had no idea what was going on. In the end we had to stop, explain and start again. It was so unprofessional. However, she got the job and was a fabulous team member for many years. We are still in touch now… More from Nicola Greenbrook: ► How to start a new job...and survive ► How to be productive at work ► Charity Careers: meet Hannah Sanders, consumer brand partnerships lead for Save the Children
After a busy day at work, do you crave the solitude of your own home? During a creative meeting, do you prefer to listen and reflect rather than engage in lively debate? Is downtime essential after a run of team drinks and networking events? You could be an introvert… and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. For my guest blog this month, I’m exploring why introversion should be celebrated at work, not corrected, and how it can be a powerful trait for accomplishment and contentment. First, the theory… The terms introversion and extroversion were popularised by Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung, one of the first to define these characteristics in a psychological context and suggest that we all fall into one of these two categories. Psychologically speaking, an introvert is someone who is principally concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things. Although not necessarily uncomfortable around other people, they prefer not to be the centre of attention. Conversely, extroverts are concerned primarily with the physical and social environment and find being in the spotlight energising and stimulating; it’s when their best qualities shine through. A quiet extrovert? How would you describe yourself? I’ve always assumed I was an extrovert as I relate to several of the behavioural traits usually associated with extroversion (such as being sociable, outgoing and people-orientated) and I’m not shy or reticent as the dictionary definition of introversion suggests. When I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment at work a few years ago, I wasn’t surprised to see one of my dimensions was ‘E’ for extrovert - I love team working and draw energy from being around others and the external world. So I’ve been surprised recently to find myself retreating a little. Seeking quiet spaces to think, work and concentrate rather than flinging myself willingly into the open plan office or a busy café if I’m freelancing. I really enjoy social gatherings both in and after work, but I’m drained if my calendar is too jam packed. Although not passive in meetings, lately I’ve also appreciated listening and reflecting before making a point. So, does this make me low-energy or lacking in resilience? Will people see me as shy (or worse, rude), and will I be overlooked at work or less successful? Extroverts and introverts in society If you’re a fan of social media or reality TV, you could be forgiven for thinking that society values the outgoing and gregarious above others, both in and out of the workplace. As journalist Freya Parr cites in her article for The Huffington Post, these platforms ‘create a culture in which we assume that extroversion is aspirational, because, put simply, if you have an outgoing disposition and get on with others, you’re more likely to win’. (The Apprentice anyone?). Outside of work, we’re encouraged to amass new friends and followers on our social and professional networks and ‘put ourselves out there’. Yet, 24/7 connectivity or as Viv Groskop says in her article for The Pool, ‘a world of constant connection and chatter and sharing and me me me’ can be kryptonite for introverts. Introversion at work In work, it’s not unusual to see the most dominant and confident speakers presenting at the all-company meeting or assigned to a crucial new business pitch. Shyness, sensitivity and seriousness are often seen as negative, and in a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even embarrassing, to be an introvert at work. According to People Management magazine, many of us are hard-wired to associate leadership with extrovert traits, and report that 96 per cent of business leaders identify as extroverts. Arguably, the world’s most important workplaces or institutions are designed or set up with extroverts - and their need for stimulation - in mind with open plan design, group participation and team development days often on the agenda. Yet, what if you prefer listening to talking, and more intimate discussion to group settings? What if the idea of an open-plan setting fills you with horror, and you find yourself sloping off to a quiet meeting room for peace and concentration? Making a case for the quietly contemplative You’re not alone. It’s thought at least a third to half of people are introverts, including some of the world's most talented. Without them we wouldn't have the Apple computer, the theory of relativity and Van Gogh's sunflowers. One of the most popular TED talks of all-time focuses on the power of introverts. Attorney-turned-author Susan Cain passionately argues that introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world but have often been misunderstood as shy or, damagingly, inept. According to Susan, introverts prefer listening to talking and think before they speak.. She believes that although collaboration and interaction are great for exchanging ideas, introverts are most alive and capable in low-key environments and solitude is crucial for unleashing their creativity. Individual introverts view themselves as focused, capable and able to work without distraction. Executive Leadership Coach Leo Aspden expands on this further in his article for Training Zone, arguing that introverts make great leaders, just as good as their more visible extroverted colleagues. The quietly contemplative possess several leadership qualities such as (a) great listening skills, (b) the ability to make calculated decisions (c) the capability to balance extroverts (d) the ability to work independently in solitude and (e) the tendency to allow colleagues the space and freedom to share ideas. He believes that in order to get the best out of introvert leaders ‘it’s important to embrace their unique brand of charisma and their strengths as listeners and strategic thinkers’. Finally, Susan suggests that we all fall somewhere in the middle of introversion-extroversion, rather than being neatly one or the other. The American social scientist Kimball Young even created a word for this in 1927; ambivert - ‘a person exhibiting features of an extrovert and an introvert’. So, perhaps it’s time we reconsider the introvert-extrovert dichotomy… The power of the introvert So how can you channel introversion (or ambiversion) into success at work and take full advantage of your strengths? Here are some tips on how to put yourself out there, quietly but powerfully: ► It’s likely you’ve fully prepared before a meeting but if you’re thrown off guard by a question you’re not equipped to answer, don’t panic. Make a note and confidently explain that you’ll follow up after the meeting rather than be pressured into a hasty response. This enables you to think things through in your own time. ► If you work in a bustling open plan office, don’t feel afraid to leave the pack and head for a designated quiet area (or any nook you can find) to give you the thinking space required to work at your best. You’re likely to get more done as a result, and smash the deadline/nail the presentation/concoct the idea. ► At work, even away from the comfort of your own social circle, believe in what you say. Speaking less frequently but with conviction can be hugely powerful. The most engaging person in the room, or the office, isn’t always the loudest. ► If you’ve committed to a networking event, make a plan in advance to ease your nerves. Vikas Shah, CEO and Managing Director of Swiscot Group shares a good strategy; he mingles a bit at the start of the event, stays on for the important talk and then excuses himself. “You don’t have to be the last person standing” he says. “Allowing that flexibility makes a big difference to how you cope.” The introverts are coming… It could be the time to join the Quiet Revolution and rethink the idea that it’s a drawback to be an introvert. In fact, it could be good for you, and for business. Giving yourself time alone to work, think and recharge could increase creativity, make you worker harder and reap tangible results at work. In the very wise words of (shy introvert) Mahatma Gandhi, “in a gentle way, you can shake the world.” -------------- Nicola Greenbrook - HR Specialist & Freelance Writer Contact Nicola More from Nicola Greenbrook • How to be productive at work • How to start a new job...and survive • Would HR in the charity sector work for you? Here's the inside view
Finding your ideal charity job hopefully just got a little easier, as we’re delighted to bring you the brand new, totally rebuilt Harris Hill website with a host of new features to help with your job search. And we're equally excited to let you know we're expanding beyond our London office for the first time, to deliver more nationwide, regional and executive recruitment services from new locations in Scotland and the South West! More on those in the second part of this blog; meanwhile read on to find out what's changed on the website to improve your experience, with some great new functions and features.. Welcome to the new Harris Hill website 'Something's different but...wait, don't tell me...' people have almost certainly been calling to say this week. '...have you done something with your hair?' Well, thank you for asking but no - not all of us anyway - but we have had something of a digital makeover to bring you a brand new version of the site, with some major improvements for your job search. Short version if you’re in a hurry ► Whether you're a regular visitor or first-timer, we hope you'll find it easy to use straight away, as it's more of an evolution than a radical departure - on the surface at least. The big changes are beneath the bonnet, where the site's been rebuilt from scratch on a brand new platform to help you register, search and apply for charity sector jobs as quickly and easily as possible. The longer version if you’re not in a hurry, keen to know more, or perhaps just pretending to be super-busy 'doing some research': here are more details of what's changed and why. Making your job search easier Since our last major update in early 2016 – back when the world still made sense and wasn’t quite so often on fire – we’ve made various improvements and added a stack of useful or interesting (sometimes both!) original content that's generated some great feedback. But we also know that aside from great jobs, sometimes all you really want from a recruitment site is to search and apply with the minimum of fuss. Which we're acutely aware hasn’t always been the strongest point of our site; something we’ve long been determined to resolve. So we’re properly thrilled to bring you a brand new site that’s been fully rebuilt with that sole purpose in mind: to make finding and applying for your ideal charity job as simple and effortless as possible. Upgrades include: • A super-streamlined registration page of just six questions (half of which concern your name and email) so you can sign up in seconds – or with a single click via your LinkedIn profile • Your candidate dashboard where you can view, upload and update your CV and details whenever you like, track jobs you’ve applied for and see suggestions, manage your job alerts and much more • Fast and accurate job search functions by job type, location, salary, length of contract, even the kind of fully functioning keyword search you'd expect in 2018: amazing. • A couldn’t-be-simpler application page that helps you apply for jobs in moments - whether you’re on a desktop, on a tablet, on your phone, still on your phone but on a packed bus that’s alarmingly enthusiastic about corners - almost quite literally anywhere* *with a 4G signal obviously; we're not wizards. What else is new? • In ‘What We Cover’ you can now find new pages for our specialist teams and check out individual profiles and photos for each of our consultants (opinion here remains sharply divided as to whether this is a feature or bug) • Tailored content and job recommendations; whether you’re in fundraising, finance or any other field you’ll see more of the most relevant jobs and blog content that might be of interest to you There’s also direct access from the homepage to our softball league and Harris Hill Charity Series content, latest blogs, annual salary survey and more. A few last words... • To bring you the job search upgrades as quickly as possible, this is very much version 1.0 of the site: there are plenty more developments and improvements to come, along with more of our archive content. • We’re making regular check-ups for teething troubles like broken links and formatting issues, but it's always possible we could miss something, so please feel free to let us know via email@example.com if something’s not working for you. • Finally if you landed here first and now want to check out the homepage, just click here or our logo (top left) from any page on the site. • • • • • • • • • • Whatever your situation we hope you'll find the new website genuinely helpful and informative, and be it now or in the future, a valuable tool to seek and secure your next dream job in the charity sector. Don't hesitate to get in touch if we can help! Team Harris Hill Meanwhile there's more good news we're excited to deliver, with expansion to two new locations and our first ever regional office... ► Bringing remarkable people to you: introducing our specialists in Scotland and the South West!
We've all had those days. It's hectic, you're working hard, but it's even harder to see what you're actually getting done. Luckily, for this month's guest post, Nicola Greenbrook is exploring some useful hacks to ward off procrastination and help us be more productive at work. Just as soon as you've finished reading this, of course... 'I've done nothing today' 'Where has the time gone?!' 'There's never enough hours!' How to be productive at work According to HR software provider CIPHR, more than half of workers cite distractions such as smartphones, the internet, chatty co-workers and email overload as factors that prevent them from working properly and reaching their full potential. As well as external influences, our own personal approach to work can impact on productivity; as the American writer Mark Twain once said: 'Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow just as well'. Most of us defer until the last minute every now and then at work, but if you're a serial procrastinator it's likely you'll chronically avoid difficult tasks and deliberately seek out distractions. On the bright side, it's a habit that can be overcome. Here are some tips on how to boost your productivity at work. Don't do, without a to-do When you're busy, the temptation is to tackle work head-on and treat planning as a waste of precious 'doing' time. In fact, lack of preparation can contribute to reduced productivity. Some of the most effective workers set their key priorities before anything else; either at the end of the working day to eliminate decision-making tasks in the morning, or at the start when their mind is fresh. Writer, brand consultant and Women Who founder Otegha Uwagba, offers some great tips on maximising productivity in her modern career guide Little Black Book. She recommends not checking emails or social media first thing in the morning to avoid tumbling down an 'internet rabbit hole'. Instead, Otegha suggests reframing the first and most precious hour of the working day as 'Power Hour'; setting out the day's priorities and planning workflow upfront. Try categorising your to-do list into three parts: 1. the dreaded, least favourite tasks 2. stuff you're motivated and excited to complete, and 3. personal admin and the 'nice to do'. It's easy to launch straight into (2) and (3), but tackling (1) first could provide headspace and some well-earned smugness. Starting important tasks early avoids cramming two hours of work into one, sloppy work and frustration. Put pen to paper Modern technology offers some innovative tools to work efficaciously. My current favourite is virtual to-do list Wunderlist which helps you note, diarise and tick off your personal and professional to dos. It's a great app to 'mind dump', project manage and ease a brain that's crammed to bursting. You can also share lists with others (my husband really appreciates getting notifications at work that say 'Nicola has completed 'Buy Toilet Rolls') and it's great for planning. Yet, sometimes there's nothing better than the humble written list and, to quote Otegha, often it 'helps to go analogue'. I'm a part-time HR Specialist at an intellectual property law firm, which I hugely enjoy as well as freelance writing and parenting. It's essential I maximise office time and compartmentalise my varying responsibilities. Keeping a notebook on my desk keeps my sometimes-wandering brain in check; when 'buy nappies!' or a new article idea pops into my head without warning, I quickly scribble it down and carry on HR-ing. This means the thought or action doesn't disappear and I can jot it down quickly rather than add to Wunderlist on my phone (I hate colleagues to think I'm idly scrolling on my phone when I'm at my desk). It's safely stored, ready to tackle later when the time is right. Step away from Twitter! Ah yes, social media - productivity's nemesis. Most of us can relate to starting the day with good intentions, briefly checking our phones over coffee then looking up twenty minutes later after being lost in a Twitter abyss. Consider going cold turkey and removing apps from your smartphone, or 'rewarding' yourself with blocks of scrolling time at lunch or on the commute. Social media usage-limiting apps like Moment automatically track how much you use your phone, allow you to set restrictions and even force yourself off it (gulp) when you're over the limit. If you've discovered a fascinating article you're desperate to read now but know you shouldn't really at work, Pocket could be the answer. It's an app and web service that helps you manage a reading list of internet articles; when you find something you want to view later, you put it in your Pocket. For retrieving later when you can read about Bodyguard without getting in trouble. Know when you're 'peak you' Sunday Times bestselling author, podcaster and broadcaster Emma Gannon believes the key to productivity is knowing when you're at your best (her most productive time is between 10am and 3pm). She works in ninety-minute bursts and when she needs to 'deep work' and focus, she sets her phone to aeroplane mode or banishes it to another room and sets an out of office on email to ensure no disturbance. Get to know how you personally work best - there's no right or wrong. If you're at your least dynamic in the afternoon or suffer from energy slumps, save your admin and less creative work until then. Consider shaking things up a bit and begin your working day an hour earlier, if your lifestyle permits. This could equal precious time away from distractions, clients or colleagues and getting ahead of the game. Or set a 'do not disturb' and notify your team how long it applies for; this creates a personal responsibility to finish a task and you can't blame others if you faff about instead. Have a break, have a... Some days, the deadlines compete fiercely with each other, your to-do list runs off the page and you absolutely must leave on time. When lunchtime looms, it's easy to ignore the rumbling tummy, a slightly fuzzy head and simply plough through. Yet, skipping breaks can be counterproductive and significantly impact mental performance. Being at your desk doesn't mean you're being productive, and working hours on end without any break can make us slower. Silicon Valley consultant Alex Soojung-Kim Pang argues in his book 'Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less' that dismissing rest stifles our ability to think creatively and truly recharge. After each productive burst take a short break and, importantly, step away from the screen. Consider the Pomodoro Technique, a time management method developed in the late 1980s. Essentially, this means breaking work down into chunks of time, usually 25 minutes, and intersperse these with short breaks. This means you're not working non-stop and expecting your poor brain to be at peak performance for great big stretches of time. Being productive doesn't mean over-doing it. Making some simple adjustments such as establishing your key priorities before tackling the load, limiting social media and taking regular breaks could be the difference to working smarter, not harder. To quote poet and activist Maya Angelou, 'Nothing will work unless you do'. Now step away from the phone... Nicola Greenbrook - HR Specialist & Freelance Writer Contact Nicola
What makes a wonderful charity workplace, and how can you tell if it's right for you? For the past year we've been teaming up with Third Sector to find out, highlighting examples of good practice and innovative ideas that have proven successful for a variety of organisations. Earlier this month (recently published by Third Sector) our business services specialist Shweta Prabhakar spoke to Channing Rider, director of finance at The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, about what he thinks makes a wonderful workplace and his top career tips for jobseekers. • Tell us about the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust's mission and the work you do? The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust runs the Churchill Fellowships, which are travel grants open to all UK citizens to research a topic of their choice anywhere in the world that can make a practical difference to their profession or community on their return. Applications for fellowships are open until 18 September 2018, and then again in May 2019. We were set up in 1965 as a living memorial for Sir Winston Churchill's leadership, and since then we have funded over 5,500 fellows to learn from the world. I have a very posh title, director of finance and resources. As there is only one person in finance (me), it means that anything connected to financial, admin or governance matters eventually ends up on my desk. • What does a wonderful workplace look like in your eyes and what are you doing at the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to shape this? A wonderful organisation has a passion for its mission, combined with a high concern for the team delivering it on every level. I am part of a management team which focuses on the mission and also ensures that everyone is valued and resourced to perform. The old story of the NASA caretaker, who, when asked what he did, always inspires me. He said: "I'm putting a man on the moon." Everyone matters. • Employer branding and culture has been a hot topic for some time; when did you start thinking about it and why is it important? Charities provide a vehicle for people from all walks of life to make a difference. It's a sector that needs to be valued, championed and put into the heart of society. If we fail to win public trust, engagement and confidence, then the consequences to some of the most vulnerable people in society are often very harsh; this is why charities must be subject to high levels of governance and scrutiny. People engage with charities in different ways as employees, trustees, donors and supporters, so the culture must be one of scrupulous honesty and openness to win their commitment, and be backed up by inspirational leadership. • How do you communicate your charity's working culture to current and future employees? It's useful when people come for an interview to have an informal chat with staff before meeting the formal panel. Yes, it's a little artificial, but it sends a message to staff that their views matter. It also gives future employees the chance to fish around a little and gain a better impression of the working environment, as well as a sense of what type of people work here. • What kind of people make a great fit in your charity? People who are a great fit in the charity are customer focused, professional, flexible, friendly and unstuffy. We are a small charity, so apart from our formal roles and functions, we all have to cover for each other and muck in. For example, we all help with meetings during very busy periods, making coffee, clearing up. (Mind you, the communications manager did cut his thumb earlier this year to get out of doing the washing up!). • How can third sector candidates identify if a charity's culture will suit them? Organisational culture is so difficult to assess from the outside. I think the chief executive very much sets the tone. Find out what you can about the chief executive and members of the senior management team. Look for non-verbal clues during the interview. Do as much research as you can. Sometimes, though, non-politically correct people can have a heart of gold, and vice versa. Try to square the circle of developing discernment without being judgemental. In the end it's best, in my opinion, to trust your instincts. It's also fine to take a risk. Working on a temp to perm contract is also a useful way of testing the water. • How do you develop your staff? The obvious things work best: one-to-ones, regular appraisals, feedback, training courses, in-house briefings, and just taking an interest in people. Where people are in the career life cycle is also useful to be aware of. I'm 57 and have been working in the charity sector since I was 28 but, honestly, the rate of change is so quick I feel as if I am new to the game. Learning from each other is vital. Be generous with what you know and honest about what you don't. I learn so much from digital natives in their twenties, and I like to think they learn some things from me, but perhaps they are just being polite. • What would be your advice to someone looking for their first charity job? Charities need experienced, qualified professionals. But even if you've just started as an intern, as long as you have a hunger to learn and work hard, there should be a place for you. Perhaps start with a smaller charity, as that will give you the opportunity to get involved in a wide range of issues and to make an impact. It is easier when starting out to get pigeonholed in a larger charity and feel remote from the mission. Mission Impossible becomes Mission Incomprehensible. • And lastly, what are your top career tips for charity professionals? I only have one tip. A little mental preparation that I do every day before starting work. I hope you find it useful. You may recognise the analogy adapted from St Paul: I imagine a Roman soldier. I think of myself putting on the soldier's armour. First, there is the belt of truth upon which everything hangs. Be honest to yourself and others. Integrity is everything. Lose your credibility and all is lost. Secondly, I put on strong boots or sandals so that I can be flexible, move fast, be in the right place. Thirdly, I have a shield which I can be confident in because of my training and preparedness. Fourthly, I have a helmet which stands for my intellect. You have a good mind. Use it. Think about what you are doing and why. How can the work be done in a better way? Learn constantly. Finally, I put on a breastplate. It is important to put your heart into a role. We all have off-days when it gets very difficult to carry on, but caring about what you are doing makes it easier to deflect the arrows of misfortune when they come your way, as they surely will. Good luck! Many thanks to Channing for sharing his insights and some very wise words for both employers and prospective candidates! If you'd like to find out more about the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, you can visit their website here. ► Back to the blog homepage
If you're applying for a job in the charity sector, a supporting statement can be your biggest opportunity to sell yourself to a potential employer. We share some tips for making sure your skills truly shine. How to write a great supporting statement One day, there'll be some brilliant bit of technology that scans your brain for all the qualities, skills and experience your prospective employer's been looking for, and delivers a whizzy presentation about them directly to their iPhone 22. It'll be great, if slightly Orwellian. Until then, most employers depend on application forms, the good old CV (so old we're still using the Latin name), and in most charity and not-for-profit organisations, the all-important supporting statement. And it really is important, because it's your biggest opportunity to sell yourself to the hiring organisation. Let's be honest though, it's nobody's idea of fun. If you've already spent hours perfecting your CV or slogging through an employer's 30-page application form (we won't name culprits, but you know who you are...) the last thing you're in the mood for is writing 500 words of chirpy copy about your listening skills. So here's the first tip: resist the temptation to dash something off just to get it done. It might be the last thing you do but it's often the first thing an employer will read, and first impressions count. Unless you're right on deadline, come back to it when you're fresh and able to really think about your responses. Speaking of deadlines, if you're applying through a recruiter it's well worth a chat with your consultant to make sure you're totally clear on timings and exactly what's required. The statement has to come from you personally, but there's no reason you can't ask your consultant for feedback, so don't leave it to the very last minute. Get everything in as early as you can to give yourself time for a second draft if you need it. So where should you start? First and foremost, the supporting statement is your opportunity to explain why you want the job - your interest in and attraction to the organisation. Whether that's down to your knowledge of the organisation from personal contact, research you've done, enthusiasm for what they do, or a great match between their values and yours, make sure it comes across loud and clear. Nobody ever hired the candidate who didn't seem all that bothered about getting the job. Matching the person specification Application processes across the third sector differ of course, but here's a typical example of what you may be asked: 'Using each of the competencies as a header, please describe how your skills, knowledge and experience meet the requirements of the role as set out in the person specification.' So, you'll need to take each of the requirements listed in the person specification and describe how you meet them. By far the best way to do this is to give actual examples from your experience. If you've ever cringed at an Apprentice contestant declaring themselves the best thing since Branson it's probably not (just) because they're a truly terrible human being, but because there's not a shred of evidence to back up their claims. Examples are important. Using real-life scenarios means you can show, not tell, the employer why you're ideal for the role. Don't just say 'I have strong time management skills' but instead, talk about a project you worked on, a process you implemented, or a system you use that demonstrates your ability to manage multiple tasks and meet deadlines. Focus on what you personally did and how your time management made it work. OK, but there are 30 requirements, yet they want a maximum of two pages? Sadly there's no getting around this one: writing a really good (but concise) supporting statement is never going to be a five minute job. But here are some tips to make it easier: • Firstly a little recruitment not-so-secret: 95% of person specifications are 95% the same. You know the score: communication skills, attention to detail, ability to multitask, demonstrating initiative, working within a team. Whatever your career, it's likely you'll run into certain requirements again and again. Create a master copy that covers all of these effectively and your future applications are already halfway done. Just be sure to tailor your responses to the role you're applying for, updating examples as your career progresses. • Speaking of which, even when you're not job-hunting, keep a record of projects that go well, however large or small. Trying to remember a specific instance that highlights your amazing negotiation skills can be tricky at a year's remove, so note it down while it's fresh in your mind. • Consider grouping requirements together: if a project you worked on clearly demonstrates three different skills, don't write about it three times. Group the skills into a single heading and write about the project once, highlighting each of the qualities in question. Use your judgement though - cutting 30 criteria down to 15 answers may be a sensible way of keeping the length down, but cutting ten down to three might mean you're skimming over things in insufficient detail. • There might be one or two requirements you don't yet meet (if there are lots it's probably not the right job). It can be tempting to ignore these and hope no-one notices, but you'll create a much more positive impression by acknowledging them and using an example that gives the employer confidence you can pick up new skills quickly. Spell it out You've already sent your CV and/or filled in an application form: surely if the employer just read these carefully they could deduce that you're perfect for the role? Possibly yes, but unless you're applying to be Dr Watson there's a good chance the hiring manager's no detective. Don't make them hunt for clues and piece together the story: use the supporting statement to bring out all the factors in your favour and make them crystal clear. Also remember that the person screening initial applications might not be the actual hiring manager, so try not to assume they'll understand the finer detail of your previous roles. If you want them to know you're the ideal candidate, tell them clearly and explain why in straightforward terms that anyone can understand. Lastly of course, proofread, proofread and proofread again. That claim about 'accuracy and attention to detail' won't carry much weight if your relationship with spelling and grammar is going through a rocky patch that day. If in doubt, get someone else to read it too, as it's easy to miss things in a piece you've read many times. So to summarise: make it as easy as possible for the reader to see that you're genuinely keen to work for their organisation, enthusiastic about the role and can demonstrate all the skills and qualities they're looking for. Which - at least until we get that brain-scanning technology - is your best route to getting the interview! David Young, Marketing & Communications Manager, Harris Hill For further information and advice on applications and supporting statements, call any of our specialist consultants on 020 7820 7300 or feel free to get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org << Back to the blog index