Motivational Monday #100 The Truth Is Out There


Motivational Monday #100 The Truth Is Out There

“I want to believe.”

Fox Mulder

When I started thinking about the fact that the 100th article was coming up I tried to think of what my biggest and best suggestion or idea might be.  Unfortunately that didn’t work and I couldn’t settle on what to write! So in fact I think that’s the first point that I’d like to share in this centenary article.

There isn’t one big idea that is bigger than everything else. There isn’t a single answer to the challenges that confront us in life.

Life rolls on, days come and day go and some are good, some are average and some are downright rubbish – oh and of course because life is a real rollercoaster some days are all three!

What will help one day isn’t going to necessarily help the next day. Also, and I think this is something I was guilty of searching for when I was younger, but there isn’t a single magic bullet of advice that will permanently slay all evil.

That might work in the fairy tales but in real life the reality is a little more complicated. Sage advice, a positive motivational quote and words of wisdoms can help and can make a difference but I am reminded of what the late, great Zig Ziglar said when he wrote

“Motivation is like bathing. You have to keep doing it for it to make a difference.”

It isn’t realistic to expect to find one piece of advice that will fix everything but you can expect to find pieces of advice that will help a little and often.

So try to find time in your day to stop and think some positive thoughts, to play your favourite music or talk with a friend.

Life if you let it can sweep you away with a flood of obligations, must do’s and have-to-do’s. That becomes a heavy burden and without something to lighten the load it can ultimate wear down even the strongest person.

Personally I have found the most profound ideas, the best motivational thoughts and frankly the cleverest solutions to the challenges of life have come from other people. Over the last 100 articles I have tried to capture and relay some of the ideas that have come my way. Many of the best of those were inspired by conversations with some of the wonderful people that I know or have met in passing over these last few years.

And that is something I have really learnt for myself from writing these articles – that the best way to gain new ideas, to grow as a person or to find motivation is through other people. Talk to them, ask them questions and listen with an open mind and an open heart.

Not every view is correct, not every opinion will match with yours but those other views and opinions will give you something to think about and every so often the most unexpected person will say something that will change your life just a little bit.

Wisdom and motivation respect no title, no rank and no privileges. They are the domain of us all so if you want to have more of them in your life then look, both at the people all around you, and also the people who pass through your life fleetingly.

And have faith that the life that you have had up to this point has also given you knowledge and wisdom that you can share with others. As the famous quote from Marianne Williamson goes

“Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.”

So not in a sense of egotism but in a sense of wonder at the power of mankind’s inherent goodness I suggest that maybe we should all shine a little brighter, share a little more of what we know and share more of what makes us positive.

After all if everyone one of us strove to make the world a little more understanding, positive and bright wouldn’t that truly change the world? 

Like Fox Mulder I want to believe that and in fact after these 100 articles I do believe it.

Until next time; be successful!

Stephen Hart

Development Specialist,

The Power of Being a Niche Recruiter


The Power of Being a Niche Recruiter

When, at the beginning of the year, I surveyed Yorkshire based Managing Directors of recruitment companies one of the big things that came back was an overwhelming belief in the power of recruiters working within a niche (full details here).

At the end of February I was down in London attending a ukrecruiter and RIBA event where one of the panel debates was on being a niche recruiter.

The three panel members were Alan McBride, David Smith and Alana Carroll.

A couple of interesting comments were put forward by the panel – all of whom run niche recruitment companies and the comments closely echoed what had come back on the Yorkshire focused survey that I had conducted:

Alan McBride of Camino Partners Ltd said

“Being a niche recruiter is a strength because you have the option to say ‘no’ to clients; then when you say ‘yes’ the no adds strength to the yes.”

It’s a great point and was made in reaction to a question of whether a niche recruiter should go outside of their speciality should a client ask it. The point was made that it was sometimes heart-breaking to have to turn work away however the purity of the desk was felt to be more important and more profitable in the long run than grabbing a quick fee outside of the niche.

David Smith of Interactive Selection said

“Live and breathe the industry. Embed yourself in it.”

David expanded on this and explained that it was important that a recruiter looking to go down the niche route really needed to have some level of interest in the sector. That would then make learning about the industry and going to exhibitions and events much more pleasant and positive.

On that point going out to events and exhibitions was highly recommended by all panellists and having a background in the sector was recommended strongly by Alana and Alan. To be clear they didn’t feel it was an absolute prerequisite but certainly beneficial.

Alana Carroll of Gravitas Recruitment (SW) LTD said

“Build your business based on reputation. Treat candidates and clients with equal respect because you never know who will be important in the future.”

All experienced recruiters reading this will be nodding with agreement – candidates become clients – is the old adage within recruitment but the panel member, and I agree with them, felt that things have moved on from there. Given the current skill shortage in most sectors the value in candidates, especially passive ones is who they in turn know.

In other words there is no need to wait for candidates become clients – they are, right now, capable of making you introductions to unique, off the grid, placeable individuals who can make you a fee!

In summary the event in London was thought provoking and well attended by recruitment directors from across the country. On a personal level it provided an opportunity for me to meet a number of contacts who I have only known online up to now and rather pleasingly several of the people who I met are regular readers of this blog!

These director level events are held quarterly and I think they are well worth considering attending if you go with an open mind, as you should with all networking events! You can view future events via the ukrecruiter website.

Stephen Hart

Development Specialist,


Motivational Monday #99 Start Where You Are

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Motivational Monday #99 Start Where You Are

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

Arthur Ashe

When you read the histories of successful people there are very few common factors. Some start rich, with good connections and great resources to draw upon whilst others start poor, knowing no one and with few resources. About the only thing that they do have in common is that they started.

And that’s a really big thing. How many of us have had ideas of things that we could do – songs or books we could write, businesses we could create or changes we could make in our lives and yet how many of us have not acted on those ideas? Surely for every JK Rowling there are hundreds of us with book ideas that lie dormant and unwritten.

I think it’s that we are often waiting for the perfect circumstances to get started or if not the perfect circumstances then at least something else to happen or to be in place. We tell ourselves that ‘once we have that new laptop’ we will start writing that book or ‘once this month is out of the way’ we will be able to focus on the new project. And thus our plans and ideas slip and slide further and further into the future.

The great Zig Ziglar used to say that “You can’t wait for all the lights to be green before you head into town” and he’s absolutely right. With the same thinking we need to start with what we have now if we really want to go on the journey that we are imagining in our heads.

I remember watching a documentary on the legendary footballer Pele, perhaps the greatest footballer the world has ever seen, and how he started off kicking tin cans in the backstreets of the town he grew up in not being able to afford a proper football – which is about as disadvantaged as you can get. I wonder what would have happened if he had waited until he had a proper football prior to practicing his skills?

Fortunately he started with what he had and then he moved on from there and the rest is history. And I think there is a lesson in there for all of us.

The truth is we probably don’t have the ideal resources that we want right now but surely it’s better to start with what we have than to stagnate and do nothing whilst we wait for the ideal resources or circumstances.  Consider that the Declaration of Independence was drafted on the back of an envelope so you can probably start writing your book on the computer you have or even on paper! Make some headway whilst you are waiting and when the new laptop arrives it will be a bonus!

So if you have an idea for something new or some change you want to make in your life then consider that you will have some resources that you can use and whilst they might not be ideal they will get you started and getting started is one of the keys to success.

Stephen Hart

Development Specialist,
P.S. I realise that Arthur Ashe was a cricketer however I don’t know any cricket stories hence talking about Pele! Hopefully you will all forgive me for mixing the sports up a bit! 

Recruitment Survey 2015 – the Results

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Recruitment Survey 2015 – the Results

The recruitment industry has been through the mill these last five years but the corner seems to have been turned … or has it?

At Edenchanges we thought it would be good to go out and ask some questions of the people who are most likely to know – managing directors of recruitment firms. These are experienced business professionals and recruiters and at the leading edge of the recruitment industry.

And because Edenchanges are based in Yorkshire, and we thought it would be interesting to get a northern perspective so we limited our questions to Yorkshire based managing directors – although the firms queried recruit across the country and in several instances globally.

The four survey questions which we asked were:

  1. Where do you see the biggest challenge to recruitment firms coming from in 2015?
  2. Given both the continued increase of social media recruiting by companies directly and the increase in internal recruitment teams, how can external recruiters still add value to their clients?
  3. What advice would you give to a new recruiter coming into the industry in 2015?
  4. What do you think is the most important skill for a recruiter to master?

The answers were honest and thought provoking and you can read them online (or download a copy) by clicking on the image below:

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In summary whilst almost every company questioned is looking to expand there are clear challenges ahead that recruiters need to address. The markets are shifting and recruiters need to adjust what they do if they want to thrive.

I would like to thank all the respondents who generously took time out of their busy schedules to share their views with me. This e-book has been written and produced in the belief that we in recruitment are stronger together.

Stephen Hart

Development Specialist,


Motivational Monday #98 Relationship Attitudes


Motivational Monday #98 Relationship Attitudes

Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.”

– William James

There is that old saying that life doesn’t come with a handbook and nowhere is that more true than in that thorny, twisty subject of relationships.

For example I remember many years ago my mother telling me that it was a good thing that I’d had an argument with my girlfriend of the time. I remember being really taken aback as in my naïve young mind the course of true love always ran true and arguments had no place in the rosy mental picture that I had of romance.

Now I am at an age where my eldest son is having those first serious romances and we are having those same discussions around love, romance and relationships that I had had with my parents.

At the dinner table the other night St Valentine’s Day prompted such a conversation and it got me thinking about the ebb and flow of relations and how conflict is often a critical factor in deepening a relationship.

Even Hollywood recognises this. In most romance films the protagonists typically have their relationship deepened as a consequence of conflict and disagreements – When Harry Met Sally or Hitch being two examples that spring to mind.  

And yes those are just made up stories but if we are honest with ourselves isn’t it true that all of us have been influenced in some way in the art of romance and relationships through movies.

We are back to there being no handbook for life and it’s far less embarrassing to watch a movie and then copy something from there than to ask someone!

So we all muddle through and try to learn by doing in the field of romance but I think the positive side of conflict gets over looked. We have a natural inclination to veer away from it and even the movies don’t help very much as I think typically we remember the happy endings rather than the journey the characters went on.

So that leaves us then with either our own hard won experiences or words of wisdom that we might get, if we are brave enough to ask, from friends or family members.

Or in some instances you can read something that can really make a difference. I found the quote from William James last week and I think it’s a real pearl of wisdom (as quotes from William James often are).

Consider for a moment the last heated discussion you had with your significant other – and sadly the slightly artificial and forced nature of St Valentine’s Day can often create those unwanted discussions – when you were having that discussion were you really trying to deepen your relationship or did you have a different goal?

I know that if I am arguing with someone then I am not trying to deepen the relationship I am trying to prove a point – that my view or version of the facts is correct and consequently, either by implication or directly, they are wrong. Now at best that might make me ‘right’ because my version of events has been agreed to but it isn’t likely to deepen the relationship I have with the other person.

If I am discussing a point with someone that’s different and whilst it might involve a strong debate about things it isn’t in itself about proving the other person wrong.

Too often I think our intent, which is powered by our attitude, is to prove our point and yet that is a very hollow and short sighted victory; assuming we achieve that victory at all.

Heated discussions are going to occur in all real relationships because they show that both parties care enough to debate; which was what my mother explained to me all those years ago. The trick is to have a positive attitude and turn what could be arguments into discussions.

And if anyone is reading this after having a stormy St Valentine’s Day then it is probably possible to go back to the other party and start again. With a positive, caring and relationship focused attitude maybe you can have a more constructive discussion and in fact deepen your relationship due to the conflict rather that to suffer from it.

Stephen Hart

Development Specialist,
Photocredit – – used with thanks
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How to be Successful in Recruitment Part 14 Activity Level Calculation

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How to be Successful in Recruitment Part 14

Activity Level Calculation

I often get asked by consultants how hard they should work and it’s one of those questions where there isn’t a single answer. However I do believe there is a way to work out what the answer is for each consultant so let me share that with you now.

Activity Level Calculation

This calculation shows you the amount of first interviews you need to arrange on a monthly basis to achieve your target.

What you need to know

You need to know the following pieces of information to enable you to work out your required activity level.

NOTE: A send out is a first interview – yes old school jargon but it’s the school I went to!

  1. Annual target
  2. Average fee*
  3. Send out ratio**

* If you are brand new to the business then find out what the company average is and use that figure

**Send out ratio = Number of first interviews vs. number of placements made – again if you are new find out what the ratio typically is for new consultants in your particular company alternatively work on a 1:10 ratio

How to calculate your Activity Level:

  • Step 1) Annual target  ÷ Ten* = Your monthly target
  • Step 2) Monthly target  ÷ Average Fee = Number of placements needed per month
  • Step 3) Number of placements need x Send Out Ratio =

Number of send outs needed per month – to hit your annual target

* Yes you could divide this by 12 but this is one of those situations where mathematics has to move over for sales so let’s divide it by 10 and carry on from there! (Feel free to email me if you want to know specifically why I recommend dividing it by 10 –

And that’s it; as simple as that. I outlined an example below of how this can break down and you’ll see that it requires the hypothetical consultant below to be really quite productive! The thing about this activity level calculation is that it’s real and true. Yes you might buck the trend and do slightly better numbers but that just means you will over achieve by even more.

Any consultant who is serious about hitting their targets should consider the activity level result as the minimum that they should achieve each month.

Sample calculation:

Annual target:   £150,000

Average fee:      £8,500

Send out ratio: 1: 8 (one placement for every 8 first interviews arranged)

  • Step 1) £150,000 (annual target) ÷ 10 = £15,000
  • Step 2) £15,000 (monthly target) ÷ £8,500 (average) = 1.76 rounded up = 2      
  • Step 3) 2 x 8 (send out ratio) = 16

The result clearly shows that the individual needs to arrange 16 first interviews per month to expect to hit their annual target.



Development Specialist,


Motivational Monday #97 Feeling the Answers


Motivational Monday #97 Feeling the Answers

“Without personal meaning a logical decision is worthless for action.”

Harry Harrison (adapted)

Have you ever had one of those moments in life where you know exactly what to do for the best? What it was you realised you needed to do will of course be unique to you but commonly these moments revolve around things like diet, exercise, relationships and work.

You know the sort of thing – eat healthier, exercise more, make more time with friends and family and maybe be more positive at work or study your job harder so you can get better at it.

Those are very common things that people want to get better at doing and I think it’s fair to say that most of us have had that 3am moment where we have the answer. We know exactly what we need to do and we are going to start in the morning.

Now if we are honest with ourselves isn’t it true to say that many of those moments of clarity haven’t actually been followed up on and that of those that have very few became long lasting changes.

It’s similar to when you are having a heart to heart conversation with a friend or colleague and as you share your troubles and challenges the other person comes up with good ideas and possible solutions.

Just as with our personal moments of revelation so often these solutions from our friends are not acted up even though they very often make perfect sense.

In all honesty if we reflect for a moment isn’t it true that we have often been given good, practical and sensible advice and found ourselves saying things like “Yes that makes sense, I could do that” whilst knowing full well that we have no intention of acting on the advice at all!

Now that issue of our capacity for internal resistance to external advice might well feature in a future article so for now let’s return to the main issue that I want to focus on here and look at how we can bridge the gap between advice and action.

And really it all comes down to internalising it or in plainer English, feeling it. Sometimes that just happens. Sometimes there is just that moment when you realise you know the answer and it feels absolutely right and more than that the reasons to enact the idea, plan or notion are also felt.

For myself I’m happy to share that I can remember the moment when I felt fat and unfit. That moment, which was a few years ago, has spurred me on to change my diet, exercise more and now I’m a suit size down and two trouser sizes slimmer.

All the years of knowing that my diet was bad and that my exercise regime was a joke hadn’t spurred me to action in the way that feeling the reality of my situation did.

So the trick to bridging the gap between knowledge and action, when it comes to personal change, is to find emotionally based reasons to make a change and enact the new solutions and ideas.. When someone gives you advice that makes sense, or you realise it yourself, don’t stop with simply having that new knowledge. Continue thinking and talking until you can find emotional reasons to take action.

You see it’s not that you don’t know the answers it’s that you don’t feel the answers strongly enough. When you make it personal and emotive to yourself then the actions will follow and the results will happen!

Stephen Hart

Development Specialist,
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