5 reviews
16:04 13 Mar 23
Highly recommended! Josh and Sarah have been fantastic at Astute. They've found and placed me in 2 jobs now between them, both really responsive and excellent at keeping you up to speed with things. Very knowledgable about the roles and happy to talk to companies with any queries you have.
C R.C R.
10:45 27 Jan 23
Great agency one of the best ones I've worked with! Liz has been a great help and support in helping me towards a new direction in my career life. She is very attentive and keeps me in the loop at all times! She makes the extra effort to work with my preferred requirements for work and even if it isn't completely attainable she meets me in the middle and does as much as she can to help! Also Liz is very funny might I add 😂 and I'm happy that I can now put a face to the name after all these years! Thank you again Liz for all your help and support! 😊
10:32 20 Dec 22
Josh and the Astute team was very swift to help me to find roles that matched my profile. They are really reliable and will help through every step of the recruitment process going out of their way to assist and follow up when needed. Could not find a better recruitment agency!
Helen PinegarHelen Pinegar
16:19 18 Dec 22
Fantastic recruitment agency.. Josh was extremely enthusiastic, encouraging and clearly knowledgeable about what was needed from both the employee and the employers point of view. Extremely supportive especially in regards to interview preparation and endeavoured to procure feedback promptly. Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Astute in the future to both candidates and recruiting businesses particularly for the right fit for the role!!!
Lisa LeighLisa Leigh
11:56 30 Nov 22
I have worked as a candidate for Astute and they have been excellent. Super friendly service and professional agents keen to fit the right person to the right job. It has been a pleasure dealing with them and I would happily work for them again in the future. Highly recommend this agency.
Contact us
Suite 1, Ground Floor West,Cardinal Square,10 Nottingham Road,Derby. DE1 3QT
Stanford House,19 Castle Gate, Nottingham, NG1 7AQ

Now is our final warning, To avoid 6 degrees of warming. Not COP 27 or 28, Or it will simply be too late...

Sustainability, and the environment are really important to all of us at Astute Recruitment Ltd. We already have a sustainable environmental policy.

We already encourage a number of environmentally positive initiatives, but will be announcing a new one that our clients, candidates and team can all take part in soon!

With Glasgow’s current global climate conference, ‘COP 26’, underway, here’s a simple wish from all of us in the meantime: –




Now is our final warning
To avoid 6 degrees of warming
For those in power
Now is our critical hour

Not COP 27 OR 28,
Or it will simply be too late.

Right now we have to act –
Nations must agree, form a proper pact.
Not just empty words, but actions.
Clear plans, timelines ‐ no more distractions!

20 years ago, glaciers in the Himalayas,
Stood proud, 100’s of feet higher.
Coral in the Great Barrier Reef,
Weren’t bleached beyond belief.

From Attenborough to the Pope,
Their call to action really is humanity’s final hope

For our children and all of us living now,
How can we possibly allow,
The destruction of our beautiful blue pearl?
Allow uncontrolled distress to unfurl!

From heatwave to fire,
1000 year flooding and tides getting higher,

Let’s agree to make this November
A real turning point our ancestors will remember
For scientists and folk all-over the globe
This really is our final hope.

But, let’s not succumb to morbid doom,
Instead lets strive for ingenuity to bloom!
From Tim Berners-Lee to Archimedes –

We can be a brilliant species!

Lets innovate and work together,

To make our planet healthy again, and make all our lives better!



You can watch the inspirational David Attenborough giving his electrifying speech at Cop 26 by clicking on the video link below. His powerful words and message of hope are possibly the most important words uttered. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzF1LLbSepk


David Attenborough

We can all make a difference to help our environment.

We will be announcing some great ways our clients, candidates and friends of

Astute Recruitment Ltd can all  help the planet.

Whether at work, in the home or socially, we can all

do our bit to help.


Astute Recruitment celebrates International Women's Day 2021 #IWD2021 #ChooseToChallenge

Purple, green and white are the colors of International Women’s Day. Purple signifies dignity & justice, green symbolises hope. White represents purity. The colors originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the UK back in 1908.


International Women’s Day celebrates the cultural, sociological, economic, and political achievements of women across the globe. Far from singling out women, the day focuses on unity, equality, and advocacy where the differences and injustices between women and men are as great as ever in some corners of the world.


International Women’s Day is a global, annual opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements and rally together for women’s equality.


Marked annually on March 8th, International Women’s Day (IWD) is one of the most important days of the year to:


Celebrate women’s achievements

Raise awareness about women’s equality

Lobby for accelerated gender parity

Fundraise for female-focused charities


The campaign theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge. On the IWD website, organisers said:


“We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world”.


Over 20 countries particularly across Asia celebrate March 8th with a day off work for everyone, while others allow all women to take a day off.


Many people may think International Women’s Day is a modern invention, but it’s not.


First acknowledged back in 1911, becoming a cornerstone holiday in the Soviet Union from 1917 (even being a day off from work from 1965 onwards). Since 1977, the United Nations has made it a focus day for both women’s rights and world peace.


To read more about the historical timeline of International Women’s Day, click on the link below: –



Here at Astute, we celebrate our very own inspirational women! We are proud of our diverse team, embracing women at all stages of their lives and working careers.


From Mary Maguire and Sarah Stevenson as our award-winning Founders to Sarah-Louise Wykes, achieving several promotions from trainee to Director. A busy wife and mum who manages to juggle family life and a highly successful career. Charlotte Sproat, successful Consultant and keen arts enthusiast, and Tiarna Boler who at 17 years of age started working for us over 4 years ago and now manages our admin. Last, but no means least, Debbie Jackson, with over 20 years of recruitment expertise in London, the Midlands, and North East. She has just completed her first work anniversary in our team!


Wives, girlfriends, daughters, mums, businesswomen.


Ladies, we salute you!


PS. We also have some great men too!


Richard Bowe, busy husband, Dad, and keen runner who is ahead of the rest filling senior interim to permanent finance roles. Our newest recruit, Harry Langridge, joining our successful permanent qualified division in 2020.  Tom Norton completes our team. Sports mad & looking forward to when he can ski down black runs again! Meanwhile, he continues to conquer the slopes of permanent qualified accountancy recruitment.


We’ll have to wait till 19th November to celebrate International Men’s Day, but it’s great to acknowledge men and women every day throughout the year!


#Article by Mary Maguire

Managing Director
Astute | Accountancy & Finance | HR | Office Support

Suite One, Ground Floor West, Cardinal Square, 10 Nottingham Road, Derby, DE1 3QT

T: 01332 346100
M: 07717 412911

E:  [email protected]

W: www.astuterecruitment.com

LI: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-maguire-astute-recruitment-ltd/

LI: www.linkedin.com/company/astute-recruitment/


In 1666, around 800  Derbyshire people chose to sacrifice themselves, in order to save the lives of thousands of strangers. Could you have done that?

Let’s step back in time to 1665.


Why is the small, Derbyshire village of Eyam significant? In the words of a Victorian local Historian William Wood…


“Let all who tread the green fields of Eyam remember, with feelings of awe and veneration, that beneath their feet repose the ashes of those moral heroes, who with a sublime, heroic and unparalleled resolution gave up their lives, yea doomed themselves to pestilential death to save the surrounding country. Their self-sacrifice is unequaled in the annals of the world.”


Eyam, lies between Buxton and Chesterfield, just north of Bakewell in the Peak District. Most of the villagers were farmers. In the early 1660s, it was a typical, rural, farming community like hundreds that lined the trade routes from London to the rest of England. There were also tailors, bakers, and shopkeepers whose work ensured the livelyhoods of the villagers. And yet in 1665 Eyam became one of the most important villages in the whole of England. The bravery of its 800 souls had huge significance and influenced the development of treatment of the plague and in implementing quarantines successfully.


1665-6 was the last major epidemic of the plague to occur in England, with London the worst affected.


Back then, in 1665, evacuating the capital, the wealthy (Including King Charles II) escaped to their country estates, whilst the authorities did little to help those in poorer communities. Having to fend for themselves, the poor and uneducated of London faced a cruel and horrific foe. The House of Lords eventually discussed the crisis the following year, deciding instead of measures and aid to help, that the policy of shutting up’ of infected individuals with their household would not apply to persons of ‘note’ and that plague hospitals would not be built near to the homes of the wealthy. This selfish and callous attitude added to the feeling of abandonment for many of the poor left helpless and scared in London.


The movement of the rich plus the normal trade routes of England meant that the great plague spread quickly across the country. Rural areas that could previously have been safe from the diseases of urban city areas became exposed.


This was the backdrop, heralding the plague’s arrival in Eyam in late August 1665 via a parcel of cloth from London. Delivered to the home of Eyam’s tailor, Alexander Hadfield. His assistant George Vic shook & spread the damp cloth out by the fire to air it, only to find it infested with fleas. His death was recorded in the parish register on 7th September 1665 just a couple of days later.



The plague was spread by infected fleas from small animals and human lice. The bacteria entered the skin through a flea bite, traveled via the lymphatic system to a lymph node causing it to swell. Then characteristic buboes (pus-filled boils) would typically appear under the arm, neck, or groin area. Combined with fever, spasms, black bruising under the surface of the skin, and vomiting, the plague was a truly terrifyingly ferocious and contagious disease.


Back in the 17th Century, many wild causes for pestilence were put forward, from punishment by God to bad air quality. Some thought fragrant herbs would ward off the disease.


Windows and doors were closed and many, especially watchers and searchers in plague hit London, would smoke tobacco. Large piles of foul-smelling rubbish were also burned.


While these methods helped indirectly, for example ridding the city of rubbish meant that the rats spreading the disease had to move on for a reliable food source. Many had limited to no effect.


However in Eyam, a small Derbyshire village, they acted in a unique way. Their intention was to act decisively and prevent the spread of disease.



The Church’s dominance in the 17th Century was still supreme, even after the religious roller-coaster of the Tudor period. The local Reverends were pillars of the community, often the most educated people in their towns and villages.


Stanley and Mompesson depicted in stained glass windows


Eyam had two Reverends. Thomas Stanley had been dismissed from his official post for refusing to take the Oath of Conformity and use the Common Book of Prayer. His replacement, Reverend William Mompesson had worked in the village for a year. Aged 28, Mompesson lived in the rectory with his wife Catherine and their two small children. Both husband and wife were highly educated, and it was the actions of Stanley and Mompesson that resulted in the outbreak of plague in Eyam being contained to the village and not spreading to the nearby cities and beyond.


A picture of Eyam's hero, Reverand William Mompesson


A three-point plan was established and agreed with the villagers. The most important part of this was the setting up of a ‘Cordon Sanitaire’ or quarantine. This line went around the outskirts of the village and no Eyam resident was allowed to pass it.


Signs were erected along the line to warn travelers not to enter. During the time of the quarantine, there were almost no attempts to cross the line, even at the peak of the disease in the summer of 1666.


Eyam was not a self-supporting village. It needed supplies. To this end, the village was supplied with food and essentials from surrounding villages. The Earl of Devonshire himself provided supplies that were left at the southern boundary of the village. To pay for these supplies the villagers left money in water troughs that were filled with vinegar. With the limited understanding they possessed, the villagers realised that vinegar helped to kill off the disease.


Mompesson’s well on the village boundary was used to exchange money for food and medicine with other villages.


Other measures taken included the plan to bury all plague victims as quickly as possible and as near to the place they died rather than in the village cemetery.


They were correct in their belief that this would reduce the risk of the disease spreading from corpses waiting to be buried. This was combined with the locking up of the church to avoid parishioners being crammed into church pews. They instead moved to open-air services to avoid the spread of the disease.


The village of Eyam, while undoubtedly saving the lives of thousands in the surrounding area, paid a heavy price.


At 40%, they suffered a higher death toll than that of London. 260 Eyam villagers died over the 14 months of the plague out of a total population of 800. 76 families in that rural community, lost souls to the plague.


Whole families were wiped out completely.


However, the impact on medical understanding was significant.


Doctors realised that the use of an enforced quarantine zone could limit or prevent the spread of disease.


The use of quarantine zones is used in England, and around the world to this day in the current COVID-19 pandemic, and many other infections, to contain the spread of diseases.


Sadly, back in the 1600s, it took longer for the ideas of quarantine so successfully implemented in Eyam to filter through to become common practice in hospitals back then.


Florence Nightingale, raised in Derbyshire, pioneered the use of isolation wards to limit the spread of infectious diseases in hospitals during the Crimean war. Echoes of the practices put in place at Eyam.


Adopted in hospitals the world over, learning quickly that to contain the spread of diseases, isolation wards needed to be used.


Other lessons on disease control were learned by doctors from the methods used at Eyam included: –


Limiting contact and potential for cross-contamination. 

  • Eyam villagers paid for food supplies by dropping coins into pots of vinegar, preventing money from being directly handed over.
  • Echoed today with cashless payments, sterilisation of equipment, and medical clothing.
  • Before COVID-19, lessons learned from Eyam had been seen in the handling of the Ebola epidemic in Africa. The quick disposal of bodies close to the immediate area of death had limited the risk of spreading the disease.


While the events at Eyam did little to change attitudes immediately back then, history has shown how the people of Eyam, shone a beacon of light to scientists, doctors, and the medical world.


They came to use Eyam as a case study in the prevention of disease, and save countless lives ever since.


A fascinating story of how ordinary people with everyday jobs and lives, inspired medical practices used to this very day. And, it is an amazing, moving story of how people from all professions, trades, and backgrounds came together as a community and made a huge difference in the way we manage the spread of disease.

For more information and interesting facts click HERE to a BBC article on the bravery of Eyam’s villagers.


An article by Mary Maguire

Managing Director
Astute | Accountancy & Finance | HR | Office Support

Suite One, Ground Floor West, Cardinal Square, 10 Nottingham Road, Derby, DE1 3QT

T: 01332 346100
M: 07717 412911

E:  [email protected]

W: www.astuterecruitment.com

LI:  https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/mary-maguire/18/73/553

LI: www.linkedin.com/company/astute-recruitment/

Astute Recruitment's 2nd week of our #miles4meals and we have covered an incredible 564.5 miles! Astute Recruitment’s 2nd week of our #miles4meals and we have covered an incredible 564.5 miles!

An amazing effort from our wonderful team and fantastic clients, candidates, and their friends and colleagues who have joined in – a huge thank you and well done!

At this rate we will smash our target!

Last week saw us whizz past our first checkpoint and another 3! From the picturesque Scottish Highlands, past historic Edinburgh, down past Newcastle, and on into Leeds!

We are wondering where we will go from here and how many checkpoints will we hit by week 3!

Astute Recruitment Ltd show why mental health and physical health matterMacmillan Cancer Support recently published research showing that an estimated 7 million people across the country have turned to exercise including jogging or running during the pandemic crisis to boost their mental health.


One in seven people in the UK (14%) said exercise had helped them handle stress better since the first lockdown.


Exercise proved more popular than meditation or yoga (12%). Roughly 33% said physical activity including running, helped them feel calmer and more positive, while one in five said it helped them to feel mentally stronger.


Macmillan is hoping this will all mean a record interest for the 2021 London Marathon. 2020’s event was first postponed to October and then cut back to just an elite event, following a year that has left charities devastated following reduced fundraising.


You are never too young, or old to start either. Nor are you too fit or unfit. From a gentle jog initially, gradually building up to a slow, then faster run, this is one exercise with no limits on who can join in or at what level.


Everyone can do it.

Whatever the weather!


Taking a regular stroll to the local park, it’s surprising how many new faces you can spot, having a run or jog.


According to City AM, Sports Direct sold 218% more pairs of running trainers online during the lockdown than in the same period 12 months before, and Britons bought 243% more running clothing than normal!


One of the best, instant results from a run is the immediate lift of your mood. This isn’t an accident.


The science bit. 


When you exercise, endorphins, tiny chemicals, react giddily with chemical receptors in our bodies and go mad inside our bodies. That’s what causes you to feel lifted in body and soul. Those jigging, rushing chemicals. A whole new 21st-century twist to the phrase ‘gettin’ jiggy with it’ 🤣🤣


Whether you’re experiencing a simple case of the Monday blues while working from home, or more persistent symptoms of depression, that’s why exercise can really help to boost your mood and reframe your mental health to a new, much more positive place.


Getting regular exercise is important for good physical and mental health. Exercise can help stimulate parts of your brain that aren’t as responsive when you’re feeling depressed. It also promotes the release of feel-good brain chemicals. Exercise can also help to distract you from your worries and improve your confidence.


Commenting in the Guardian, Saurav Dutt, a 38-year-old author in London, ramped up his running in 2021 after taking it up for the first time during the initial lockdown.


“I used to try to avoid running as much as possible just because of the effort,” he said. “But the endorphin release after a big run is really significant, it really lifts your mood. And you’re also thinking about reinforcing your own general health, because underlying conditions are a big problem with Covid.”


In the absence of normal running groups, a number of virtual running challenges have been set up online during the pandemic. Its why we set up our #miles4meals initiative too so that people wfh can still get some valuable exercise AND help a worthwhile cause!


These virtual running groups are especially popular with people working from home. It’s not good for us to be sat down at a desk all day, the tension it puts on your lower back and your hips, it is really important to get out and move the body. Here at Astute, we are thrilled with the response so far from candidates, clients and businesses offering their time and miles to help us.


Its been interesting to highlight to businesses and employers that the benefits of virtual group exercise projects can really help the levels of employee engagement, staff wellbeing AND productivity levels in their teams. Some bracing physical activity is scientifically proven to aid and improve worker’s efficiency and increase the amount of work they can do in their job.


You can easily join into a virtual group by using the NHS/ Public Health England’s Couch to 5k app which was downloaded 858,000 times between March and June last year, a 92% increase compared with 2019. Check out more information on this useful link https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/get-running-with-couch-to-5k/


Like many across the country, our busy working days now revolve around a “commute a few steps downstairs or upstairs” and Zoom meetings. With long, long hours sat tapping away on laptops interspersed with calls.


Gone is the commute to the office. For many, our step counts and levels of movement have suffered.


Before Covid struck, most of us would travel, often walking to meetings, even taking a lunchtime stroll to grab some lunch. Now, that 20-minute stroll can easily become a daily ‘two-step toddle’ to the fridge and back.


This is why all of us at Astute wanted to do an organised event to raise awareness of the physical and mental health benefits of exercise AND support our local communities whilst helping a brilliant local charity, all at the same time.

Hence, our #miles4meals charity initiative was born! 😊

To make a donation, check out our fundraising page on Derby City Mission’s website HERE

Alternatively, if you or your team would like to join us to help Derby City Mission put together more food parcels for those in need, please email me – [email protected] and my team and I will warmly welcome you and send you more information.



Article by Mary Maguire

Managing Director
Astute | Accountancy & Finance | HR | Office Support

Suite One, Ground Floor West, Cardinal Square, 10 Nottingham Road, Derby, DE1 3QT

T: 01332 346100

E:  [email protected]

W: www.astuterecruitment.com

LI:  https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/mary-maguire/18/73/553

LI: www.linkedin.com/company/astute-recruitment/

Miles 4 Meals - Our walk from John'Groats to Lands End to raise money for Derby City Mission
Miles 4 Meals – Our walk from John’Groats to Lands End to raise money for Derby City Mission


All of us at Astute Recruitment Ltd are delighted to announce that today, 1st February 2021, we are launching our Miles 4 Meals charity campaign!

Our team will be ‘virtually’ walking the 911 miles from John O’Groats to Lands End, and if we can walk back again!

We find ourselves in unusual times. Many more people, families and children are struggling with financial problems. We also have a climate of increasing mental health and anxiety issues due to the latest Lockdown restrictions and hardships caused by COVID.


All of us at Astute, wanted to help, so we’re launching our #Miles4Meals campaign. From Monday 1st February until Good Friday on the 2nd April, our team will be using our lunchtimes or spare time to walk, run and cycle the 911 miles from John O’Groats to Lands End, and hopefully back again! If you can, please help us with our goal.


*The Government’s current advice is people can exercise for up to one hour a day and observe all COVID social distancing guidance. We can still all clock up a few steps in an hour though!


On virtual arrival to Lands End, Astute Recruitment will donate £500 to Derby City Mission & this amazing cause.

If we can get back to John O’Groats, a roundtrip of 1822 miles, Astute will double their donation to £1,000 for Derby City Mission, our chosen charity.  


Every mile covered will raise funds for Derby City Mission who will be using the money to make up much-needed food parcels for the vulnerable.


We’ll be highlighting a series of tips and advice around Mental Health, how important the link between good Mental Health and physical wellbeing is across our social media channels.


We’ll share photos and updates on our progress along the way. Follow our story too and add your own photos and posts if you are taking part!


If you and those in your team would like to join us or just sponsor us for our journey, please email Mary Maguire or Tom Norton, confirming your name, job title, and which company you are from and we will send you more information.


Join us on our charity walk and help raise funds at the same time too!



6 'astute' Interview questions and answers to help you get a job in a pandemic
6 ‘astute’ Interview questions and answers to help you get a job in a pandemic


With interview requests and new jobs taken by our team at Astute Recruitment, it’s great to share some pointers for candidates about to enter the job market to give them an edge on interview.


Imagine, you’ve been selected for a job interview! Well done! It’s always great news, but especially so in such challenging times.  But preparing for a job interview might be trickier than usual, too.


It would be a little weird if you and your interviewer didn’t acknowledge the global pandemic going on.


You’ll probably be doing your interview remotely, online, at least the first interview, and it’s also likely that you’ll be starting work remotely.


The people and business you’re interviewing with won’t be operating as normal, plus you’ll have to navigate different ways to work together.


Apart from the obvious,  (ensuring you’re wearing smart clothes, and your Zoom background looks tidy & professional), preparing for an interview means being ready to answer some different questions. So, what can you expect to be asked?


1. How are you feeling?

It’s normal to start off an interview with an icebreaker, but in the pandemic, small talk can take on a deeper meaning.


For an interviewer, it’s a way to gauge the tone of the interview. Some candidates’ replies might reveal they are struggling, whereas others will take the question much more lightly. In either case, there is no shame in acknowledging how the Covid-19 crisis is affecting you. The worst thing would be if a candidate came across as too disconnected from the situation, which could be a hint as to empathy skills or lack of.


The pandemic is impacting people emotionally, and for an employer to ask this question, shows they care. If you are asked this question, you should show you understand the situation and are adapting to it. You shouldn’t just use the same answers that you had prepared pre-pandemic, as if you were still in a typical office setting.


2. How are you handling your work-life balance?

If you can keep a healthy work-life balance, it shows a potential employer that you’re able to manage your time independently, and be organised.


Working from home is set to continue for a lot of us for the foreseeable, meaning employers are looking for these qualities,


Companies and hiring managers need to know that even if you don’t have a team around you sitting in an office, you ARE going to be able to work by yourself, can be trusted to wfh independently and autonomously.


This doesn’t have to mean that you’re calendar-blocking each hour of your day. But this question is a prime opportunity to highlight how you can, and have been able to work productively.


In an online interview, it’s an opportunity to also build a bond as you can reflect back a question to your interviewer, e.g.”I’ve found it’s key for me to factor in a 20 minute slot to excerise /walk the dog/ play with kids. I find this improves my feelings of wellbeing and makes me more focused and productive working for the rest of the day. What works for you?”.


3. Have you learnt any new skills since March last year?


This isn’t a trick question. Recruiters

wouldn’t be put off if a candidate said they had struggled with motivation or finding time to learn at the beginning of lockdown.

Instead, they’d welcome and expect some  honesty about what they’ve learnt about themselves during the pandemic.


You don’t have to pretend you’ve been on some kind of productivity marathon if you haven’t. Of course employers will want to know if you’ve added any professional skills to your CV, but talking about hobbies you’ve picked up or personal lessons you’ve learnt helps to give interviewers a glimpse of your personality and a real glimpse of you.


For instance, what you learnt about yourself could be how you discovered a new skill or the ability to step back from something. It doesn’t need to be professional, it can be something more personal.


But, how do you answer if you can’t think of anything you’ve learnt in the past few months?


Something as simple as trying out a new recipe counts. Most of us have discovered some new culinary skills 🤣.


4. What’s your ‘work-from-home set-up like?’

Potential employers have every right to ask about a candidate’s home working environment. Especially making sure that potential employees have a computer with internet access, that they have access to a telephone or a landline, and asking about the reliability of their wifi signal


Employers need to know that you have the equipment you need to do the job you are being interviewed for. However, they are aware that few of us have the perfect WFH set-up. Don’t be afraid to mention any challenges you’ve faced working from home, and how you’ve found solutions to work around them.


This is a good question for employers to ask candidates to see how creative they can be, and how they’re dealing with and have adapted to the current situation.


5. “We’re all on Microsoft Teams/ Slack/ Google Hangouts. Have you used it before?”


Of course, if your interview is on a platform you haven’t used before, you’ll want to test it out beforehand to make sure you know how to use it.


It’s also worth getting to know the main digital communication tools that are popular with businesses. Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Slack and Zoom are all free to download and experiment with.


Some great advice to all candidates, is to be organised and prepared with the tech that they could be using if they are offered a job.


Lots of companies used digital communication tools before the pandemic. They’re just using them even more now. If candidates are unfamiliar with them they should definitely look them up & try them out before interviewing for a new job.


For employees who have started looking for a job after several years, this is a really useful tip.


6. Do you have any questions for us?

Pre-pandemic and lockdown, candidates would go into the office, meet a couple of members of the team. They’d get all of the contextual information before being offered the job and deciding whether to accept it.


Now, with largely online interviews, applicants don’t have all of the sensory, physical experiences through Candidates who have managed to get an interview aren’t getting the complete view of companies they’re applying for.


To counteract this, ask a lot of questions during your interview to get a clear idea of how the company works, the office culture and how you’ll work with different teams and individuals.


For starters, ask questions about training, daily tasks and communication methods. It’s equally important to ask about potential colleagues and hierarchy. This may mean clarifying who you would report to or who you can ask for help when you need it. Alternatively, it might mean taking a more informal approach to interviewing altogether.


A great suggestion for candidates is to ask, “If possible, could I have a virtual lunch with the team that I could be working with, just so I can get to know them—maybe not so much in a professional sense, but in a more casual, informal way?“


You could ask to have one-on-one meetings with potential future team members as part of the interview process. This shows you take the future culture of your potential colleagues seriously.


Companies should be understanding about these requests.


It’s really key that candidates meet more people, especially now. Particularly so if companies add a few more steps to the recruitment process. This can give applicants the confidence to be happy if they go on to secure a job offer.


Remember, it’s not just the candidate who has to adapt to the recruiter, but the recruiter who has to understand it’s a different situation for applicants too!


If you have questions around this topic or would like more information about this or something else, feel free to contact our MD, Mary Maguire, by email on [email protected]


An article by Mary Maguire, Managing Director
Astute Recruitment Ltd

Suite One, Ground Floor West, Cardinal Square, 10 Nottingham Road, Derby, DE1 3QT

T: 01332 346100

LI:  https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/mary-maguire/18/73/553 

LI: www.linkedin.com/company/astute-recruitment/

Astute Recruitment Ltd share our top 10 tips for managing stress and anxiety
Astute Recruitment Ltd share our top 10 tips for managing stress and anxiety


As England heads into a second national lockdown, we provide some tips for working from home during this stressful time, and hope this helps those feeling anxious, worried or struggling generally.


Stress Awareness Day, falls today, 4th November 2020. It was created by the Founder of International Stress Management Association (ISMA) Carole Spiers in 1998.


Carole is speaking at an online Stress and Wellbeing Summit, covering stress management, workplace wellbeing and how to develop resilience during unprecedented times, as a result of the pandemic.


In this ‘new normal’, companies, and their staff face massive challenges with millions of people once again asked to work from home – some for the first time in their lives.


Carole Spiers said, “With over half of adults reporting that their mental health worsened during the first lockdown (MIND Survey, June 2020), it’s more important than ever to get wellbeing working for home-workers.”


We are sharing ISMA’s 10 tips on working from home productively with a few extra pointers we all learned at Astute Recruitment in the last lockdown: –


1/ Dress as though you are going to work.

Finding a daily routine is proven to help anxiety and stress. Find a place that is exclusively yours during working hours. Get dressed every morning, at the same time. Don’t stay in pyjamas and slippers every day. If you need to make or attend video calls, you need to be dressed for the camera.


2/ Be open to adapting to change

People are creatures of habit and often do not like changes to our daily routines. Now we find ourselves in the current changing situation, we must be able to adapt, be open to adapt and get used to change quickly. Try and think positively about ways you can use your time in isolation most productively.


3/ Try exercising and eating healthily

Every day build some time for exercise. This can just be a short stroll or an online fitness class. Diarise this. Make this something to break up your day and change your focus away from ‘work’. Be aware of what you are eating and try and eat more healthily. You can pre-plan your meals and get creative with your cooking if some food items aren’t easily available.

Stock up on some staples that you can mix and match to knock something together easily. Don’t forget that frozen vegetables retain their goodness and vitamins much longer than freshly bought items.


4/ Using IT to keep in touch

When you are used to working with others, it is not easy being by yourself. Make full use of video/ online meetings, video calls and phone apps to stay in touch with colleagues and others in your circle. At Astute in the last lockdown, our team whether furloughed or not, said that their highlight of the day during lockdown was our daily zoom meeting. It wasn’t about work, it was about talking and seeing each other and really helped everyone. Whether working from home or not, to have a daily time to look forward to catching up with friends at work, (albeit in their homes!) can provide a real highlight to your day and ‘lift’ your spirits.


5/ Make it easier to work with family at home

Having to work with small children, older kids, and partners/ husbands/ extended family at home doesn’t help you to concentrate. But what can you do?  If you have a partner, share the load. If you live alone with children, get them occupied with an activity before you start to work. Build a routine, a day plan that the kids can get used to, and share this in the kitchen on a wallchart or whiteboard. If everyone understands when ‘Mummy or Daddy’ needs to be working – it is easier to have that time alone.


6/ Plan work in blocks of time

Normal office hours between – 9 – 5 might not work in Lockdown and working from home. If you have children, you may choose to work in the evening as well, or very first thing before the kids get up and get a couple of hours admin out of the way.  There is nothing wrong with this and this helped a number of our team with kids or partners, to manage their day, give them structure and help them be really productive.

It is essential to build in breaks where you can step away from your bedroom/ kitchen table or if you are very lucky – your home office 😊 Set your alarm on your mobile so that you have regular meal times and just even 5-minute breaks to go and make a cuppa. With no usual office banter or typical office distractions, it can be all too easy to zone out and suddenly realise hours have gone by and you haven’t eaten anything!

Make sure you take regular breaks and set yourself goals during the day.


7/ Keep in touch with friends!

It can be really lonely working from home. With no distractions from your friends in the office as usual, think of someone you can ‘buddy’ up with. We are all social creatures and thrive with social interactions. Having a ‘buddy’ to share experiences with and give each other support/ advice – is a brilliant idea and so good for your wellbeing (and sanity!). It can often give you a real lift. Get imaginative and have a ‘Friday drink’ at 4pm/ 5pm – or later in the evening – share a glass of wine, online!


8/ Get the balance right

There is no ‘one size fits all’ and recognising this is absolutely key.

What works for you does not necessarily work for someone else!  Use trial and error until you find the right balance and don’t feel bad about getting it wrong a few times! Kids/ pets/ partners and life in general will still throw some curve balls.

If you do find certain things work – share your successes with friends and co-workers. You may just have the key to unlock some of their problems!

Talk to people used to working alone from the last lockdown. There may also be people you know who are used to working from home anyway. Contact them and ask what tips and ideas they can share. They will be glad to share if they know it will help you/ someone else!


9/ Have clear boundaries between ‘home/ family life’ and ‘work-life’

Every day, At the end of your ‘work’ day, switch off your computer. Tidy your desk and close the door.

This routine will become a daily habit and help with balancing your work time and home life.

Just as you would in a normal working week- you need to have clear boundaries between work time and home time.


10/ Get a good night’s sleep!

Worry and anxiety can often be a barrier to getting to sleep and having quality sleep.

The answer? Plan your bedtime. Make sure you have some downtime from work before you go to bed. Our brains are wired so that if they have been crunching numbers, solving problems and generally very active – they need some time to calm down.

Don’t eat rich foods or drink too much coffee after 8pm. And put down the Playstation/ social media feeds an hour before bedtime.

Have a regular time for bed! Whether you are a night-owl or rise with the lark, make sure you stick to a bedtime routine and go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Regular 7-hour sleep times will improve your mental health, make you more alert and more productive at work and at home!


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