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References

April 21, 2017 | By | No Comments

Welcome back to the EGB Blog, we hope that you had a nice Easter and that work is treating you well. The long weekend was nice but we are all getting stuck back into work and the roles are flying. This week on the blog we are taking a look at References, including what information we need, how to provide them and how to source them.

When you are offered a role through EGB, as part of the on-boarding stage we are required to carry out a BPSS Security Check. As part of this check we need to confirm employment history so we will need to gain professional references for any work that you have carried out in the last 3 years. The references that we require is evidence that you have performed the work that is stated on your CV. We would be looking for someone that we can contact that would be able to confirm this. This should be either your line manager or a member of the HR department.

It would be useful if you have all your reference details ready at interview stage. While they are not required for interview, once offered we have 48 hours to collect the on-boarding documents which include the references. Therefore, as soon as you have accepted the offer we would need to start obtaining references as some referees can take a while to respond. As with all references, it would be an advantage if you could make sure that the person that would be providing a reference is aware that they will be asked and will be expecting a call from us.

The references can be either a completed EGB reference form, a reference on company headed paper, or stated in an email. The most important part of the reference is that they provide the start and end date of the time you were in this position, which would include both months and years. The referees must also provide their name, job title, and address within the reference.

Unfortunately, we cannot accept references which have been provided to other companies or agencies, we would need to secure these references ourselves. However, if we have retrieved references for you previously, we can use these references later on a future contract.

You may also be required to provide personal references at interview stage if the position is with certain government departments. In this case, you would need to obtain 2 personal references from someone you have known for at least 5 years. We will provide you with the form that is required for these personal references.

We hope this look into references gives you an idea on what to expect and how to go about collecting or giving reference details. If you have any other questions let us know in the comments below or give us a call on the normal contact details. Perhaps you could suggest something that you would like to see in future blogs and we will endeavour to cover it when we can.

Warm Regards,

Dan

Easter Update

April 13, 2017 | By | No Comments

This week’s blog is a little bit early as the Easter holidays start this Friday, so we just wanted to make sure that we don’t let you down by not posting this week. On the topic of Easter I am sure many of you are looking forward to the long Easter Weekend, we certainly are at EGB. Most of the team have said they are just going to be relaxing this weekend and enjoying the extra time off. What are your plans for the Easter break, perhaps you are going away somewhere or have day trips planned? Let us know in the comments below.

For one of us at EGB, Easter this year was even better as it has lined up with their birthday, so we would like to wish our recruiter Carrasian a Happy Birthday as well as a Happy Easter. The team pooled together to get her presents and cake to celebrate and she has the day off today giving herself an even longer weekend. A smart move that I am sure many people around the country have used to get a longer break.

We are going to round off this blog with a bit more of a serious note, as you are no doubt aware and it is something we have lightly touched on with other blog posts, that the IR35 regulation changes have come into force. In the upcoming weeks, we will put out a more in-depth and detailed blog post about the changes, though for the moment we are going through the changes very carefully. We would like to present a comprehensive overview so you have all the information you need to hand and that takes some time. We hope to have it with you soon and will keep you updated on our progress towards that.

Due to the bank holidays, the office will be shut on Friday the 14th April & Monday 17th April and will open as normal on Tuesday the 18th April. We will endeavour to return any emails or voicemails first thing Tuesday morning. With all that said and done, all of us at EGB would like to wish you a Happy Easter!

Warm Regards,

Dan

The EGB Application Form

April 7, 2017 | By | 2 Comments

Friday has rolled around again and comes with it another blog and the weekend. It certainly looks like it will be a nice weekend for us, we have had fantastic weather recently and hope that it continues. This week’s blog is going to take a look at the application form that we use for our roles and how it should be filled out. I am sure that many of you will already know it quite well but a quick helpful reminder can never hurt!

The first section of the application form is the job description which provides a breakdown of the role, so this includes the role duties, tasks, and the experience and skills that are required. You may have noticed that in this section we have also started to include that IR35 status of the role, so you can see whether or not the role is inside or out of scope of the regulations. Below the job specification is where the application form actually begins, we have tried to make this as straight forward as possible and will go over each heading below.

Full name – In this box we are looking for your full name as stated on your passport. This is important as if you are successful the security checks and system work on your official name.

Requirement applied for and Requirement ID – These should already be filled in on the form, but if you want to apply for a couple of roles, make sure the role ID is correct on each application form.

Notice period – This one is straight forward enough, the amount of notice you are required to give your current employer before leaving your current position.

Interview availability – In this area is where you fill out your availability for an interview such as any preferred dates and if there are any days that you will be unable to attend an interview. It is important that you are thorough with this as interviews cannot always be rearranged. So think over all things that would make you unavailable over the short term, such as meetings, appointments, holidays, etc. and make a note on the application form.

Candidate’s intended operating method – This is where you can indicate how you will be providing services to the company. This can be done as Limited Company, under an Umbrella Company or as a PAYE Employee (depending on IR35 status). Simply put in which type you would like to use (you can find more information on operating methods on our blog post here).

Candidate’s Required Day Rate – For this heading you will need to write down your required day rate for the role you are going for. We always recommend going a little bit under the max rate so that you will look more competitive compared to other applicants.

Holidays / Short Breaks / Festivals / Unavailable dates – This is more conventional in letting the hiring manager know of days that you will need to have off over the course of the contract. Please include anything you would have put for the interview availability just in case that the turnaround is quick on the role.

Date of Birth – For this we simply require the day that you were born. For example, if you were born on the 27th of January 1970 the number would be 27.

NI Number – For the National Insurance number we only require the last three characters. If your NI number is QQ 12 34 56 C, we would need 56C.

Please state level of security clearance held and expiry dates if applicable (i.e. BPSS/CTC*/SC*/DV*) – There is a sub form to fill in for your Security Clearance level. If you hold CTC, SC, or DV please state what company or government department holds the clearance, the date that you left the role that holds/held the clearance, your nationality (including dual nationalities), and your place of birth. This helps the hiring manager know if you already hold clearance as some positions require you to already have the clearance, whereas others will put you through the clearance if you are the right fit.

Suitability Statement – The final section on the application form is the Suitability Statement which will give you a place to write a small response to demonstrate how you meet each experience point. This section is important as it can show what previous experience you have gained from other contract positions and showcase any qualifications/certifications that you have obtained which can make you stand out for the position you are applying for.

And that is the EGB Application Form, hopefully this will help you in future with filling out our applications. If you have any further questions either leave a comment below or give us a call and we would be happy to help.

Warm regards,

Dan

IR35: In scope or Out of Scope

March 31, 2017 | By | No Comments

We are nearly a quarter of the way through the year, time seems to have really moved fast this year. We take it as a sign of a busy office and everyone is hard at work getting roles out there and getting contractors into the positions. As is typical of this time of year major changes come at the start of the financial year, this year was no different with the major changes to the budget and the changes to IR35. The latter of which we will take a little look at in the blog today.

The current proposed changes to IR35 have created quite a stir with opinions varying quite a lot, though one of the largest problems is that there hasn’t been a clear-cut announcement of what is going to happen. While there is still quite a bit of confusion when it comes to IR35, we have recently started receiving the status of the roles we are posting out. On our job postings you can expect to see whether a role is In or Out of scope of IR35 and this will determine what operating method is accepted for that particular role.

If a contract is deemed Out of Scope of IR35, the whole process will be exactly the same as it was previously. Your application for a role can be submitted as a Ltd Company engagement along with Umbrella and PAYE, so you can choose which ever method suits you best. If you are unsure which operating method would suit you best, you can read our previous blog on operating methods here.

If a contract is In Scope of IR35 there will be some differences on how the contract will be undertaken. Most roles we receive will only take (If deemed under IR35) Umbrella or PAYE engagement from contractors. This will require either for you to go use an Umbrella company or go down the PAYE route through EGB. If you are applying for a role through us which is In Scope of IR35 and you choose to go under an Umbrella company but are unsure who to use, just let us know and we can put you in touch with our partner Umbrella company who will be happy to have a chat with you.

Hopefully in one of the next couple of blog posts we will be able to provide a more in-depth look into IR35 and outline how the changes will affect you and the roles we offer. With everything you have seen so far, what is your opinion on IR35? We would love to know, so please post a comment below.

Warm Regards,

Dan

Operating Methods: LTD, Umbrella and PAYE

March 24, 2017 | By | No Comments

Being a contractor there are a few ways that you can be paid for the work you carry out. These options break down to working under your own Limited Company, working through an Umbrella Company, and going PAYE under the agency that is placing you. In this week’s blog, we will be going through using each of these operating methods and what the benefits and disadvantages of using each of these are.

With the new changes that have been implemented with regards to IR35, if a role is in scope of IR35 the only operating methods that will be accepted are using an Umbrella Company or going PAYE. If the role has been confirmed as out of scope, all three operating methods can be considered.

 

Limited Company

Operating under your own Limited company requires having your own business and a business Bank Account. The main benefits of operating as a LTD company is that it is the most tax efficient method as a contractor. This is due to the way that the income is handled for a Business as compared to a direct employee of a company which overall saves money. Operating through a LTD company comes with a level of paperwork and planning which must be undertaken. Quite a few tasks can be offset to an accountant which is generally recommended when operating as a LTD Company. An accountant can also help with the initial setup of the business as well as managing ongoing accounts and Taxes.

 

Umbrella Company

Operating through an Umbrella Company essentially means becoming an ‘employee’ of a third-party company who bills the client of the contract. This is a relatively hassle free option for a contractor as the payments received from the Umbrella Company would have been subjected to Tax and NI prior to receiving it. As a new contractor this is a quick method to start as there is no setup time like there is for a LTD company.

The main downside of operating under an Umbrella compared to a LTD company is that you take home less pay and there are fees for using an Umbrella company. Though with the update to IR35 this option is quickly becoming the best paid option for roles that are in scope of IR35.

 

PAYE

Operating under PAYE is essentially becoming an employee of the agency that you are taking the contract with and the employer deducts tax and national insurance contributions from your wage. PAYE is the most hassle free of the three operating methods as you do not need to do any paperwork as when you receive your payslip, everything is done for you. Although you receive additional benefits by going PAYE, most contractors prefer to use an Umbrella Company or going through their own Limited company as they will receive a higher income.

 

We hope this week’s blog has been helpful on what each operating method consists of. If you are unsure what option would be best for you, give the office a call and we will be happy to help. With the new IR35 changes that have been implemented, if this has meant that you will not be able to use your Limited Company as a role has been declared in scope of IR35, we are partnered with an Umbrella company that will be happy to have a chat with you about the benefits of using an Umbrella company. Just let us know and we can put you in touch.

 

We would love to hear your thoughts on what you feel has been the most beneficial operating method for you, so leave a comment below.

 

Have a great weekend!

Warm Regards,

Dan

Top Tips for getting into Contracting

March 17, 2017 | By | No Comments

It may be a little early to say with the Storm Stella apparently making its way across the Atlantic but it certainly feels like Spring has arrived. We have seen a surge in warm weather which has been a much-needed uplift after the dark, cold and wet winter that we have had so far. I hope it has been as equally good for you and that it continues to get better as the year rolls on.

We haven’t given you a top 10 list for a while, perhaps we should remedy that. This one will be a little more helpful than just funny, we recently came across an article from ‘Contractor Calculator’ that lists top tips on becoming a contractor. So, if you are looking to make the change from permanent maybe this will answer a few questions that are making you hesitant over the change.

1. Your skills are good enough

A lot of people considering moving to contracting often worry about their level of skill compared to their perceived idea of a Contactor. The reality of the situation is that there is a wide range of contracts at different levels available that need to be filled.

2. The work will be varied and enjoyable

A major benefit of contracting is that with many varying contracts, there is a lot of variety and helps keep work fresh and interesting.

3. Will I/Should I be able to get work?

With a vast variety of contracts there comes a lot of demand for contractors, so it is just a matter of finding where these contracts are. Using an agency like us is a good way of finding contracts.

4. Learn some sales techniques and stay ahead

Sales techniques will become important in all walks of a contractor, it ensures that you appear valuable and likely to be re-contracted. It helps with negotiating rates to your ideal level as well as securing interviews.

5. Write a high impact targeted CV

As covered in our previous blog here, ensure you write a targeted CV for your contract opportunities.

6. Learn great interview techniques

You have got through the application process and now it is time to nail the interview by making sure you know the best techniques. Look out for a blog post on this in the future.

7. Know your rate and learn how to negotiate

It is important to know the rate that you require for a contract, be it hourly or daily. This helps set yourself in the market and makes it easier for agencies to contact you with appropriate contracts.

8. Choose the best payment structure

Depending on the contract it will be important to know your payment options and how they work. The three common options for contracts are LTD, Umbrella and PAYE.

9. Understand the IR35 tax

With changes to IR35 coming up it is important to understand how these affect you and how you can deal with the changes (this is a little outdated in the article so you may need to research into this a little more).

10. Plan for time off and manage your client

Taking time off as a contractor is similar to permanent roles, though dependent on the contract there could be changes. In some contracts, you are able to take off as much time as you want when you want, as long as the contract still gets completed.

You can take a further look into each point and read further articles into each point on the Contractor Calculator website. We hope that this has helped you make the decision in moving from permanent roles to contract based roles. If it has we would be happy to add you to our books and start helping you find contracts, if you are interested give us a call on 01633 548400 or drop us an email on enquiries@egb-consulting.co.uk.

Have a great weekend!

Kind Regards,

Dan

(Contractor Calculator. “10 tips for UK contracting – the ultimate first time contractor guide”. Accessed 17/03/17. http://www.contractorcalculator.co.uk/10_tips_first_time_uk_contracting.aspx )

Improving your LinkedIn Profile

March 10, 2017 | By | No Comments

For this week’s blog we decided to return to the recruitment help topics and decided to take a look at LinkedIn. When we recruit for roles we use many tools to help find the best people for the positions available. One of the tools that we use is LinkedIn, I am sure you are already aware of and use LinkedIn. While it is very useful for both recruiters and those seeking work, there are a couple of things that can be done to give the highest chance of being found by recruiters. So below we have put together a couple of points that will help raise your LinkedIn profile’s chance of being found.

1 Make use of your LinkedIn headline

The LinkedIn headline defaults to your latest position held, while this does provide some information usually this can be found within the profile anyway. The headline has a 120 character limit and should be used to help find you within LinkedIn’s search functions. A good way of doing this is to include the roles, industries, and keywords that would be searched for when looking for someone to fill the sort of positions you are looking for.

2 Making use of the Summary

The summary should be as its name implies, a brief summary of your profile covering over key points and maybe things that aren’t included elsewhere. A good summary will help recruiters see if you are a match, either encouraging them to reach out or can save you time as they can see the role isn’t for you. If you are predominantly a public sector worker, having things like the level of Clearance held can make you a more attractive candidate to recruiters for roles with high levels of Security Clearance.

3 Ensure Contact Details are Available

If you are using LinkedIn to help in the prospects of being found by recruiters for your next position it is important that you make yourself easy to contact. Filling out the contact details section on your profile will increase the chances of you being contacted in time about a role, additionally put your contact details in your profile summary or add your mobile number to the header. Whatever the method you choose, it will increase the chances of being contacted.

4 Ensure the right Industry is set

Within your LinkedIn profile you would have set the industry that you work in, it is important to make sure that this accurately represents you and the positions that you are looking for. As there can be a long list of potential candidates that a recruiter can view, the difference between being in “Information Technology” and something more specific like “Computer Networking” or “Computer Software” can mean the difference between being contacted or not.

5 Experience and Education

Now this part may seem like a given but it is important to ensure that your Experience and Education sections of your profile are accurate and up to date. You can save yourself some calls from recruiters if you have your current position at the top of your profile and put in the length of the contract in the description so we know when you will next be available. It would also be beneficial to translate specific role titles into something that would be searched for, such as Project Manager, Mechanical Engineer, or Business Analyst etc. as these are more commonly searched for. Also Ensure that all your professional qualifications are included, as certifications like Prince 2 and ITIL are becoming increasingly common and these can make you stand out.

6 Showcase your skills

Very similar to ensuring that the industry is set correctly, it is important that your skills showcase is just as well looked after. Even within your industry there could be further break down or specialisations where your skills could highlight how you are more suitable for a role than another candidate.

We hope that these pointers will help you to secure a position soon, or at least helps you get more connected. If you have your own tips for LinkedIn let us know in the comments below, we look forward to hearing them. As always keep an eye on the jobs page and our social media accounts to see the latest roles from us. And tune in next week for our next blog.

We wish you a great weekend!

Kind Regards,

Dan

Update on the EGB Crew

March 3, 2017 | By | No Comments

For this week’s blog we thought we would give more of a personal update as it has been nearly two months since the last time we wrote about the goings on at EGB.

It has been quite an eventful week for us in Cwmbran, firstly with Pancake Day on Tuesday. We hope that you all got to enjoy some Pancakes with your favourite toppings and sauces, I personally had mine with Golden Syrup. The office was also treated when Carrasian brought in some pancakes from home the following day, certainly made the day extra sweet.

Another day of Celebration happened this week in the form of St David’s Day. As a company based in South Wales with a predominantly welsh team it is a special day in the office for us. Too bad our boys in the Welsh International team haven’t been doing too well in the Six Nations or it could have been an extra joyous day. Regardless of our misfortune in the rugby we hope that all of our contractors had a great St David’s Day. Cymru Am Byth!

Recently a milestone was hit for one of our recruiters. Carrasian hit her 1 year work anniversary at EGB recently and saw a swathe of congratulations from her LinkedIn connections. We are glad to see that the contractors she has helped in the past are still helping appreciate her work and congratulated her on the successful year at EGB.

Thursday was Kieron’s Birthday, we didn’t get to wish him Happy birthday on the day as he had luckily snagged the day off so he could relax and enjoy his birthday. So, we have decided to celebrate it today instead, the whole office chipped in and got him presents and some of his favourite sweets; Haribo! We hope that you join in with us in wishing him a happy birthday!

Keeping on the train of happy and good news, we would like to congratulate Ed on successfully securing his new contract. He started back at Abbey Wood this week, so we hope he has had a good first week. We wish him the best of luck in his new contract and hope that it doesn’t keep him out of the office too much.

Overall we have had a good couple of months since the last time we updated you and we feel confident in it continuing onwards into the future. We hope the year has been just as good for you so far and you have had plenty of reasons to celebrate. If you feel like sharing some of your celebrations with us, post a comment below.

Warm Regards,

Dan

The Toughest/Weirdest Interview Questions of 2016

February 24, 2017 | By | No Comments

Hopefully Storm Doris hasn’t hit you too hard, if it does at least with the weekend approaching a nice recovery will be in order. Down in Cwmbran it was really windy but we are all intact and made it back into work today for the final day of the week.

We all know how easy it is to get caught out by a question at Interview that seems like it has come from the left field. It can also be quite frustrating, as how you answer these questions can be make or break for getting the role. So for this week’s blog we decided to share with you a list that was created by the Glassdoor community which pooled together some of the weirdest and toughest questions candidates had been asked during 2016.

  1. “Which magic power would you like to have?”
  2. “If you were a fruit, what kind would you be and why?”
  3. “If you could have dinner with three actors that are no longer living, who would you pick?”
  4. “How many hours would it take to clean every single window in London?”
  5. “How do you get an elephant in a fridge?”
  6. “If the time is quarter past 3, what is the angle measurement on the clock?”
  7. “If you had three minutes alone in a lift with the CEO, what would you say?”
  8. “How many people born in 2013 were named Gary?”
  9. “What will you be famous for?”
  10. “How many nappies are purchased per year in the UK?”

These questions certainly required a certain element of creative thinking or knowledge of obscure details to answer. I haven’t been asked a weird question but I did have a somewhat weird experience at one. The Interview seemed to be coming to a close with the Interviewer packing up and then launched the classic “Why do you want to work for us?” at mach speed. It certainly caught me out by the timing and the speed it was asked. Luckily that question being common, I already had my response ready to go.

A little tip to help with these sort of situations is to, before you go to an interview, get a friend to throw some common and strange questions at you. This will help you practice thinking on the spot and coming up with answers quickly. Like all the best practice methods It’ll be a bit of fun but at the same time helps getting prepared.

Let us know in the comments section how you would have answered the questions above. Or if you have experienced being asked strange questions, let us know! As always if you would like to get in touch with regards to any queries or to be added to our network please visit the contact us page here.

Hope you have a great weekend,

Warm Regards,

Dan

(Glassdoor. “Top 10 Tough Interview Questions for 2016”. Accessed 23/02/17. https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/List/Tough-Interview-Questions-UK-LST_KQ0,28.htm)

The 5 levels of Security Clearance

February 17, 2017 | By | No Comments

We wish you a warm welcome back to our blog and hope you have had a good Valentine’s day. This week we are following on from our contract help posts with a look into the types of Security Clearances and how to obtain them. All of the roles that we advertise require at least the most basic level of clearance so it may be worth getting cleared if you are looking at roles through us. There are 5 levels of clearance that we deal with and you can see the details of them below:

Disclosure Scotland – This is a basic security check that’s main use is to disclose any unspent convictions to an employer during the application process. This is a clearance that would be applied for by yourself through their website: https://www.disclosurescotland.co.uk/. Applying for the basic Disclosure Scotland costs £25.00 (At time of writing).

We highly recommend that if you are looking for a contract through the CL1 framework that you secure this clearance first. This will ensure there are no delays with the on-boarding process as it can take up to 10 working days for the Disclosure Scotland to come through after application. From date of obtaining the clearance it will last for one year for use through the CL1 framework, so can be used for any roles applied for, in the CL1 Framework, for that period.

Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) – BPSS is not a security clearance but the minimum background screening check used for positions that would be working with or for Government Departments. Similar to Disclosure Scotland it will check for any unspent convictions, though is slightly more expansive. The BPSS will run through four main areas; an Identity check, Nationality and Immigration Status, Employment History and a Criminal Record check for unspent convictions.

This is not something that will need to be applied for, as this is something that EGB will carry out during the onboarding process.

Counter Terrorist Checks (CTC) – A CTC is used to check if a person potentially has connections to Terrorists organisations or may be vulnerable to pressure from such organisations.  This is usually used in roles that require access to Sensitive information, public figures or governmental and commercial establishments that are considered vulnerable to Terrorist organisations. CTC clearance is obtained through sponsorship from the employer and will be carried out before access to site is granted.

The CTC clearance process includes:

  • BPSS clearance
  • Completion of a CTC questionnaire
  • Departmental/Company Records Check
  • Checks against UK criminal records
  • Security Service Check

CTC clearance generally requires a minimum of 3 years’ residence in the UK as well as passing all the previous checks. Once completed CTC Clearance is valid for 5 years, though it is possible for periodic checks to be made if there is a change of circumstances.

Security Clearance (SC) – SC is the most common vetting process used in the UK and covers a wide range of roles. SC is used for roles that require substantial access to secret information and assets and occasional access to top secret information and assets. SC Clearance, like CTC, is obtained through sponsorship of an employer. SC will need to be obtained before access will be granted to the employer’s site.

The SC process is similar to CTC and includes the following steps:

  • BPSS clearance
  • completion of a SC questionnaire
  • Departmental/Company Records Check
  • Criminal Record Check
  • Credit Reference Check and Security Service Check
  • Security Service Check

Gaining SC generally requires residence in the UK for 5 years. SC Clearance will last for 5 years before it needs to be renewed and can be transferred between roles. SC clearance will lapse if the clearance is not used over a 12 months’ period.

Developed Vetting (DV) – DV is the highest level of security clearance within the UK and is used for positions that require substantial unsupervised access to Top Secret assets or for those working in intelligence or security agencies. DV like the two previous clearance levels, is obtained through sponsorship of an employer. DV clearance will need to be obtained before access will be given to the site of employment.

The DV process is the most in-depth of the clearances and include the following steps to obtain:

  • BPSS check
  • Criminal Record Check
  • Departmental/Company Records Check
  • Completion of a DV questionnaire
  • Credit Reference Check and review of personal finances
  • Security Service Check
  • Check of medical and psychological information provided
  • Subject Interview and further enquiries, which will include interviews with character referees and current and previous managers.

DV Clearance will last for 5 years before it will need to be renewed and will lapse immediately once the role has been left.

We hope that this break down of the clearances gives you a stronger of understanding of what Security Clearances are available and what sort of roles they will be used for. If you have found this post helpful, let us know as we appreciate the feedback. If there is anything that you want to see in our blog or have any comments in general post them below or get in touch using the information here.

Wish you a great weekend,

Warm Regards,

Dan