Home / flexible / agile working opportunities – aren’t you fed up commuting?
Although it might not have been at the vanguard of changing work patterns, the tax profession has made giant strides in recent years. Demographic and social changes, different work-life priorities of recent generations and massive technological advances have encouraged employers to embrace new working patterns that would have seemed "too good to be true" even ten years ago.
Now we regularly have tax vacancies that offer home-based working and many that offer very flexible work patterns to fit around specific candidates' personal circumstances and commitments. Previously these home-based roles tended to be at the junior end of the spectrum and more compliance focused but in the last couple of years we have seen increased numbers of more senior roles, e.g. in-house Head of Tax roles, which offer very flexible arrangements, including a substantial element of home working.
Many clients, both in practice and in commerce, have realised the productivity gains that a move towards more agile working can produce and we have had dialogue with many clients recently outlining the trends and patterns that we are seeing and discussing how they can adapt and make their organisations appeal more to future recruits.
From an employee's perspective, who hasn't totted up how much of their life they spend sitting in traffic or on public transport whilst enduring a terrible commuting journey and thought that there must be a better alternative? Well, nowadays there often is.
Clearly home-working isn't for everyone and there are cons as well as pros from both the employers' and employees' perspectives. If you would like to discuss the type of flexible working opportunities that are available, and the type of arrangements other candidates have been able to negotiate please get in touch.
How to impress at Interview
With the mass of information available on the web, it's sometimes difficult to navigate through the most important things to get across at an interview. Try this simple 7-point guide.
Make sure you're connecting your own experience with the company's central ethos or goals; recruiters are not only looking for skills and experience, but they are specifically looking for certain personality types.
When you're answering questions during an interview, don't be vague, this simply won't do especially in the world of tax or finance. Have a think about some concrete examples from your own experience. Incorporating specific details will boost your credibility and impress your interviewer.
3. Technical questions
Be prepared to answer some technical questions but don't be thrown if you feel an answer you gave wasn't great. Sometimes clients are just looking to explore the boundaries of your technical skills rather than expecting a particular "right" answer. Also, sometimes they like to see how candidates react to a "curve ball" question they don't expect them to be able to answer.
4. Be confident
It's important to be your own advocate. If you find yourself tripping up at any point, take a deep breath and own it, don't be afraid to start an answer to a question again.
5. Have a conversation
While we will always say, "preparation is crucial", it is possible to overdo it. Make sure you're always treating the interview as a conversation and answering questions, rather than reciting anecdotes. You're only human, so let this come through.
6. Smile and be enthusiastic
Show some passion and excitement about potentially working with a new employer. If you can't find this within you, you're applying for the wrong job. Be honest with yourself don't waste peoples time if the job isn't really what you're after.
7. Swot up
This is probably the most important tip, don't skimp on the research. Check up on all resources you can to fully prepare yourself. The more research you do the clearer you will be in own mind what you're looking for in a job and importantly what you can deliver for a new employer.
Don’t be flattered be suspicious!
The way people find a new job has changed a lot in recent years – even in the more conservative professions like tax.
The impact of social media, and in particular business networking sites such as LinkedIn, means that it is very easy for both in-house HR staff, and external recruiters, to identify and contact, large numbers of seemingly relevant potential candidates.
I am sure that all tax professionals will be used to getting lots of direct approaches about the latest "amazing opportunity". I am CTA and ACA qualified, and I even get these myself – 30 seconds research would tell anyone I haven't done any tax work for over 15 years! If some resourcers show such little attention to detail, it's not surprising that many of our contacts report getting routinely approached regarding completely irrelevant roles (e.g. private client consultants receiving details for TP manager roles!).
Tax specialists can now feel that they don't need to actively look for a new job as the job will come to them. In many cases that may prove to be true – but will it be the right job for you? Will it be the best job you could get, one that will steer your career in the direction that is right for you? If you are going to move, how do you know you couldn't earn more elsewhere?
In recent months some of our candidates are telling us that they are being contacted out of the blue by tax partners, who they haven't met, trying to get them to join their team. Now who wouldn't be flattered by that – especially if the call is from say a partner in a big 4 firm who has "heard good things about you"! Parking the hint of desperation in this tactic, there is one obvious downside to being on the receiving end of this call – it's an out and out sales call. You'll only be told about the benefits of working for the firm concerned, not the downsides and certainly not the possible benefits of working for a competitor or staying in your current role. I don't imagine many callers saying "please join us we are desperate to get some new people in as half of our team have recently left!", yet it is just this sort of background information that a knowledgeable recruitment agent will provide alongside other market information.
The internet has made a transactional approach to life much easier. Who now books their summer holiday sitting across the desk from a travel agent or collects a heap of glossy pamphlets from an estate agent when searching for their flat or house? Agents might seem to be a thing of the past but a good experienced recruitment agent who really knows the market and operates in an ethical manner can help you make sure your career move is the right one for you not just right for the firm who have reached out to you.
You should think of them as someone who will: -
be able to tell you about opportunities right across the market not just with one organisation
want to work with you over the long term and build a relationship,
provide you with balanced advice over the course of your career,
act as a sounding board for your own thoughts,
help ensure your package keeps up with the market rate,
keep you informed when relevant roles come up (without pushing you into something that's not right for you)
Social media and online networking sites are a wonderful thing and for those who want to sit tight and see what jobs come their way - good luck! If you would prefer not to leave things to chance (or to rely exclusively on the sales pitch of someone with a vested interest in your taking their job). I recommend you find yourself an agent who you can relate to and trust.
Founding Director – Longman Tax Recruitment
Sheffield Branch CIOT sponsorship
We are delighted to announce our sponsorship of the 2018/19 CIOT Sheffield Branch lecture programme. Following a successful, long standing relationship with Manchester we are keen to broaden our support to other regions, and look forward to working in partnership with the Sheffield committee. For anyone thinking about joining, the CIOT events provide a programme of technical lectures and seminars designed to meet the training needs of the membership; some of which also carry Law Society accreditation. The Members' Conferences are also a good source of structured CPD hours.
VAT specialist Mike Thexton presented at our first sponsored event in October to an audience of newly qualified and seasoned tax professionals. Pictured alongside Mike is Sheffield Branch Chair Kieron Batham-Tomkins from BHP Chartered Accountants.
Happy Birthday to us!!
We are proud to be celebrating out 15th anniversary this month.
A big thank you to all the candidates and clients that have supported us over the years.
We are looking forward to working with you all again over the next fifteen years - and beyond!