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Father Christmas vs. GDPR


For what it’s worth, I don’t think Father Christmas (Santa Claus) is in contravention of Article 4 of the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (Consent) for a couple of reasons.

1) I’d suggest his list is made up of either a) last year’s customers (children who consented to him delivering them toys via the soliciting of his service via the writing of a letter) and the data has been kept for a reasonable amount of time (1 year), or b) from this year’s customers (those who have solicited his service by writing to The Big Man more recently).

2) It sounds like he’s currently cleansing his database by checking it twice (not by sending out a mailshot which would potentially be in breach of both current and future legislation), so I assume he’s currently removing  any children who have actively opted out of any future interactions.

KONGS Cardiff Review

Written by Kay Panisales

It’s the first Payday Friday Lunch of 2017! New year, new start for Climb Associates welcoming 2 new awesome members of staff: that’s myself and our in-house charmer, Michael Jones.

Starting off this year’s tradition of trying out and promoting independent restaurants in Cardiff is the recently opened Kongs. Chris and Ian are already huge fans of great burgers so this choice seems like the perfect one.

Hailing from the other side of the bridge, Kongs was founded in Bristol in 2014 and due to its impressive success, decided to open their second venue in the heart of Cardiff.

Walking in to the restaurant, we are welcomed by cheerful staff and the nostalgic feel of the 80’s/90’s era. There was a ping pong table, foosball table, and a variety of classic arcade games like Mortal Kombat and Donkey Kong that takes us back to our teenage years.

After walking around and playing with the arcade games, we were all excited to choose which burger we were going to try out first (we already agreed this won’t be the last time we’ll be here!). Burger Theory had a selection of burgers you wouldn’t see at your typical run of the mill restaurant. The assortment of ingredients, sauces and cheese was enough to make us drool just reading them off the menu! After some deliberation, we decided on The Don, Down N’ Dirty, and The Hairy Beast, with a side of skin on fries.

The food arrived and the first thing that hits you is the smell. There was no hesitation from us to dig in to our individual slice of heaven. The first bite is a mixture of amazement and appreciation. It’s not at all surprising that his is the first time we all stopped talking since we got in. It seems to get better with every bite and we wanted to savour each one. The intensity of the flavour is beyond words. I’m still dreaming of The Don even now.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…



So to summarise, get yourself down there and try their burgers! You won’t be disappointed.

Watch this space for February’s adventure…

Woe is me! Some people dislike recruiters.

People are perfectly entitled to their opinions on the recruitment industry and, for that matter, any industry where they’ve previously received bad service.

I dislike some logistics companies and whilst I continue to use the train I hate the service they provide. I’m not a fan of John Lewis online although I really like the in-store experience. These are my personal views and someone telling me they’ve previously had a good or better experience than the one I’ve had isn’t going to change my view. The only way my view is going to change is if/when I receive a good service from these industries or companies.

This brings me on to my point, if someone has an issue with (in this case) the recruitment industry we should listen to their grievances and subsequently try to be better. Their mind won’t be changed by either a) a recruiter telling them how they or their company act more professionally or b) someone illustrating their own positive experience of recruitment.

The only way this person is going to change their mind regarding recruiters or the industry is by receiving a better service on a consistent and ongoing basis.

I agree with your arguments that we aren’t all the same. Service levels vary dramatically from company to company, that will always be the case.

I think Derren Brown summed it up nicely when he said, “The only things you can control are your thoughts and actions. We spend our lives trying to somehow fix stuff we can’t, like what other people think and do.”

I can’t change what people think of recruitment, I can’t change the practices of other recruiters. What I can control are the practices I use in my own recruitment business and the way I treat my candidates and the way I interact with my customers. Everything else is outside of my control.

In that way, hopefully I can provide a positive experience for all the people with whom I interact in my own little recruitment world.

Ultimately though, I know I’m not the only person shaping their view and I just have to deal with that.

What is recruitment? It’s best not to overthink it.

Recruitment is theoretically selling the prospect of a service.

Once the organisation has theoretically purchased your prospective service you then need to try to provide an actual service to the organisation whilst, at the same time, theoretically selling the prospect of a new role to a potential candidate.

Once the prospective candidate has theoretically bought the prospect offered, you then need to actually sell the theoretically interested candidate to the theoretically interested customer.

Once the theoretically interested customer becomes actually interested in the theoretically interested candidate you then need to try and sell the actual role to the theoretically interested candidate to ensure they’re actually interested in an actual role before progressing to interview.

Once we get to this point it’s in the hands of the prospective customer who is actually interested in the prospective candidate who, in turn, is actually interested in the prospective role.

It’s important, prior to this point, to ensure that the actual role and the prospective role are the same thing otherwise the prospective candidate who was interested in the prospective role will no longer be interested in the actual role.

As long as the prospective role and the actual role are one and the same thing and the prospective candidate meets the expectation of the prospective customer we’re now at a stage where an actual service can be sold – it’s at this point that we join the normal(ish) sales cycle.

“I have something you’re interested in buying, let’s hash out a deal.”

Unfortunately for everyone involved, candidates are not white goods.  At this point in the sales cycle, for example, a (pre-IOT) photocopier would be incapable of turning round and deciding it doesn’t actually want to work for the customer, which is occasionally the case in recruitment.

Generally speaking, if this happens, the actual role/salary/rate differs from the prospective role/salary/rate.  Or, very possibly, a better prospective opportunity has come along which makes the desire for our previously interesting opportunity to dwindle to a mere theoretical interest should the other prospective opportunity turn out to be only theoretical.  Either way, dust yourself off and try again.

Are you looking for a job using LinkedIn? Here are some tips.


LinkedIn, for better or worse, is turning/has turned into a CV database and a prime source of candidates for recruiters.


If you are planning to use LinkedIn as a tool with which you can secure your next contract or permanent position then it’s important for you to know how recruiters use LinkedIn to find you.


One fatal trap I’ve noticed many contractors falling in to recently is changing their job title to reflect the fact they are actively looking for a new role.


When you change your job title from “Business Analyst” to “Actively looking for new opportunities – available 26th August”, your intention may be to advise your network that you’re on the lookout for a new role, which they may or may not notice due to the quagmire that is the LinkedIn news feed.  What you are unintentionally doing is restricting your profile from coming up in any searches made for Business Analysts.


People both in and outside of your network will be searching using job titles as the most rudimental search functionality.  You should, at all times, and regardless of your availability, keep your job title as your job title.


If you want to advertise your availability (which is a very good idea), do so in an update or in a post or, if you absolutely need to put it in your job title, don’t do it at the expense of your actual job title.  Something like, “Business Analyst – available 26th August”, would work well and you’ll not be eliminated from people’s searches.


On a relevant note, LinkedIn is making it more and more difficult for people to get in touch with other people without paying for higher and higher subscriptions.  InMails, I feel, are being ignored now due to the high volume being sent due to LinkedIn’s recruiter function.  It’s essentially the mass mail replacement service and some recruiters aren’t being quite as selective as in the past when InMails needed to be used wisely.


To that end, if you are actively looking for a new contract or permanent role, I’d heartily recommend putting your contact details somewhere on your profile, even if it’s just a personal email.


Your connections will be able to see your contact details but those with whom you’re yet to connect will not.  If you’re looking for a new position and someone you’re not connected with has a suitable role but no way of contacting you that’s going to cause problems.


In your profile, under the heading “Additional Info” you can update your “Advice for Contacting”.  This information is visible to everyone whether they are a connection or not.  I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve noticed someone who is actively looking for a new role but has not made it easy for me to get in touch to actually offer them one.  This could be the difference, in this competitive market, between you getting a call about that new role and the phone not ringing.


If you want to tell us of your experiences using LinkedIn to find a job then please drop us an email – – we would love to hear from you.


Despite the high demand for talent, today’s job market is very competitive so it’s important to make sure that you perform well at an interview.

Confidence is a huge factor in interviews. It can be a pretty daunting experience, so you should really try and work with your recruiter to get to know and understand the company culture.

You probably won’t get that sort of information from the company website, but a good recruiter will have insight that they can share with you. Make sure you use them afterall, our job as recruiters is to help people get a new job.

But have you ever thought that a recruiting manager doesn’t really want to be recruiting? Have you ever considered that they want the ideal person to be doing the job in question so that they can carry on with other aspects of their role?

Most prospective employers know whether an individual can do the job they are recruiting for by looking at a CV or from the technical screening. The interview takes place so that the interviewer can discuss a little more about what you’ve written in your CV and, more importantly, to talk to you about your goals are in general; What you would like to do? How you can fit into the team? etc. Prospective employers would love to find the right person for their organization after a couple of interviews rather than ‘wade’ through hours and hours of meetings.  Their time, like yours, is valuable.

Be confident in your ability. Conduct yourself as you usually would in your professional life. Remember, a successful interview is not just the hour that you spend in that room, it’s the first step in the next stage of your career…so why not try and enjoy it?

Despite the frosty or formal approach that some interviewers adopt as their preferred style, the reality is that they WANT to like you. If you genuinely believe that you are the person for the job, then just be yourself.

Below are some tips that you may find useful to take into your next interview:-

–          If an interviewer starts asking difficult questions it may be to see how you perform under pressure, so don’t get defensive or aggressive.

–          Avoid any unnecessary apologies.

–          The purpose of the interview is to present your skills, ability and suitability, so make sure you bring them up. If, by the end of the meeting, you haven’t managed to, take the opportunity to go through it with them.

–          If you are asked to describe your strengths, do so, this is an opportunity to sell yourself, but be aware not to appear arrogant.

–          If you are asked to describe any weaknesses,  there are several different ways you can answer, including mentioning skills that aren’t critical for the job, skills you have improved on, and turning a negative into a positive. This is not the time to reveal the photocopier incident at the last staff party!

–          Expect to be asked to describe your current responsibilities. Be ready to tell the interviewer the following:

  • What you enjoyed about each job
  • What you think your achievements are
  • What experience you gained & how that has helped you
  • What technical skills you acquired

–          Avoid just yes and no answers. Most questions the interviewer asks will be intended to get you talking. Try to use examples.

–          Never stray from the point, or talk for more than a couple of minutes at a time, but do give comprehensive answers. Be concise.

–          Never openly criticize your current or previous employers. Always talk positively about your experiences.

I’m always interested to hear other techniques or preparation suggestions that anyone else can offer so please feel free to share them.

Good luck.




I came across a post on LinkedIn this week that has clearly done the rounds with 750+ “likes” and more than 200 comments to date. This interested me for various reasons which I’ll highlight below. I’ve removed the names of the companies and people involved as they’re not important.

The original message – quoted below – was from a freelancer who’d clearly just had a recent run-in with a recruitment agency.

“To the nice folks at [Company name removed] who just told me they would not put me forward for a role unless I gave the name of the company I interviewed with yesterday, I prefer to keep the trust that other people have put in me to keep clients confidential. Thank you.”

This consultant is right to have a moan about an unscrupulous practice used by a recruiter. For me, the worst thing is not even the fact the agency has asked him about who else he’s interviewed with – an agency will try their luck to gain lead information, we’re always looking for new prospective customers after all. The worst thing about this situation is the intimation that the agency is essentially holding the freelancer to ransom; “Give me information or I won’t put you forward to me customer”.

This is wrong on so many levels. As previously mentioned, recruiters are within their rights to ask where you’ve previously interviewed. You are well within your rights to refuse to give this information. Any recruiter who values integrity and trust won’t press any further than this. If you do choose to give up this information, it would be hypocrisy of the highest order for the agent to then turn around and ask you to keep details of his/her customer confidential.

The response on the LinkedIn comment by a director of the aforementioned agency (and the catalyst for this going as viral as something can on LinkedIn) came shortly thereafter.

“Hi [Name removed], As part of our professional service we provide to our clients we always give the client with as much information about our candidates as possible, this includes other interviews or pending offers the candidates have so the client has all the information in order to make an informed decision on suitability. Further to your comment on Linked In [Name removed] will be calling you to discuss this and the experience you have had with [Company name removed]. Should this still not be satisfactory then please contact me directly. Thanks [Name removed]

As the director of a recruitment organisation myself, this is not the tact I would have taken. It should have been a phone call (rather than a public response) and it should have been an apology, rather than a defence of the practice used.

At Climb Associates we have many years recruitment experience between us and never has a customer asked us to give specific information about where else candidates are interviewing. It’s good to be able to advise a customer if a candidate has other interviews or other offers in the pipeline as this often dictates the speed of response from the customer but there is absolutely no need to know who these interviews are with.

So far, so inept.

Another aspect of this which interests me is the professional/social media angle. This thing has blown up exceptionally quickly. Once information is out there in the public domain it’s virtually impossible to stop and things take on a life of their own.

I don’t believe the director of the agency in question will be taking comfort from the old adage that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”.

For this reason alone it’s imperative for recruiters to serve their customers (both clients and candidates) well and look to forging long-term relationships based on trust and integrity rather than tricky schemes and short-term wins.

My final thought on this is that I do not believe the recruiter was interested in this candidate for the role in the first place (if indeed there was a role at all). The interest was in lead generation.
If the candidate is a strong fit for a position both technically and culturally there is absolutely no way that I would not be sending that candidate’s profile to my customer. I have an obligation to my customer to find the best available people on the market for any given position.

Why would I jeopardise my customer getting the person they need to solve a crucial business problem and myself earning a living on a piece of information that has no bearing whatsoever on the candidate’s ability to do the work?

I wouldn’t – and I don’t believe anyone else would either, if there was actually a role there to be filled and you were the right person for it.

I’d become a contractor, if it wasn’t so complicated…

The contract/interim market is booming right now and with the skills gap increasing and the demand the demand for talent expanding weekly, now is a good time for those looking to make the switch.

Switching from PAYE employment can be quite daunting, there are natural concerns that anyone will have. This is quite normal and no one can be blamed for being a bit cautious at first. What if the contract doesn’t work out? What happens after this contract ends, how long will I be waiting for the next one?

It is questions like that, that you can answer by building up a good relationship with your recruiter and they should be on hand to speak with you to address such concerns.

But what about the admin side of things? Whilst running your own company can be time consuming, it’s not necessarily as big a concern as you may think.

Yes you need to complete timesheets in a timely manner. Yes expenses need to be signed off in the right fashion but there is technology available to make this very easy. Climb Associates provide Self Bill, Online Timesheeting and expense re-claim to make this essential bit of admin, as efficient as possible.

But what about getting invoices paid? It’s here when you need to be working with a reputable agency that pays quickly. It’s also worth working with a good accountant or umbrella company to raise the invoices on your behalf. These may seem to be an additional cost, but are really worth their weight in gold, certainly when you are first setting up.

Any business flourishes when you have the right partners, so take the time to build a good relationship with an accountant, umbrella firm and especially your agency, when embarking into the world of contracting. If you can get that part right, then all you need to do is focus on delivering your expertise to the client….and you already know that you are good at that part!!