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BLT at the MCA Awards

BLT had the pleasure of attending the 2011 MCA awards last night at the Lancaster Hotel in London. We were delighted to be one of the main sponsors of the event and sponsored the Change Management in the Public Sector Award which was won by Ernst & Young for their project with NHS Direct.

The event, in association with The Times, was hosted by comedian Dominic Holland. The self proclaimed ‘funny man’, lived up to his reputation, and kept the gags and the laughter flowing over the course of the evening.

Congratulations to all those nominated, and of course to all those that picked up the prestigious awards, including a guest of BLT’s; Julian Sawyer, whose company Bluerock Consulting picked up the innovation award for their work with Barclaycard.

It was refreshing to see some of the smaller firms picking up awards despite the near consistent performance of the larger companies. Boxwood picked up the overall ‘Platinum’ Award for their project with Carphone Warehouse.

For a breakdown the winners in all the project categories, be sure to visit the MCA website

Oh and keep your eyes peeled for a special supplement in the Times on Monday 11th for full coverage of the proceedings.

Consultancy: fee-sharing model

We’re helping The Consultancy Company recruit consultants. They’ve been around for almost as long as BLT, but this is the first time we’ve worked with them.

They have an interesting business model which I haven’t come across before. It’s a fee-sharing one: 70% of fees on average are redistributed to the consultant team.

They attract experienced senior managers/directors looking for a new career direction, and experienced consultants who want a different way of working.

I like their proposition that you can do as little or as much as you want with them – a way of addressing the work/life balance issue which is the consulting industry’s big turn-off for many people.

They are looking at the moment for Supply Chain and Local Government consultants. If you’d like me to put you in touch with them, email me your cv –

Expect the Unexpected

Whilst browsing the internet this morning I stumbled upon a quick ten tips for interview success.

Having given the article a thorough dissection it is clear that interview tips come in all shapes and sizes; presentation, immediate impression, rapport, preparation but my favourite by far is ‘expect the unexpected’, as usually this refers to the possibility of a left field question such as, ‘What kind of an animal are you?’

Candidates often say that this type of questions would immediately throw them, but by taking a deep breath and pausing for a moment to collect your thoughts, this type of question is readily answerable and it’s easy to identify the professional context to the enquiry, (in this case it could refer to habits, personality traits and personal preferences.) However, there are some that are not quite so logical. How would you react if you were asked to dance ‘Blame it on the Boogie’ as some poor interviewees at B&Q were? In what respect might this be a valid assessment of your suitability? Alternatively, what would you do if you noticed the interviewer falling asleep as you answered a question? Would you be offended/pretend not to notice/apologise for being boring?

These occurrences happen all too often as interviewers try to become more and more creative in their approach, which leads me to wonder how you can prepare for the variety of tasks that may or may not be sent your way. Whilst giving candidates advice there is only so much you can predict from an interview and tackling the unknown is never easy. The only advice would be to think laterally and expect the unexpected!

BLT does something funny for it’s money – Red Nose Day 2011

In light of the recent events in Japan and Libya, there hasn’t been that much in the media on this years comic relief efforts. Here at BLT, we feel strongly about the Comic Relief campaign. The word “poverty” is not something many of us can relate to.

“One in two of people in Sub Saharan Africa survive on less than one dollar per day.”

Facts and figures do little to help us build a picture of what 315 million people in Africa have to endure on a daily basis. Those of you who have been watching “Rich, Famous and in the slums” will have a better idea of what being born into poverty entails. Those of you that haven’t, I recommend you take a look, it’s a real eye opener

The Red Nose Day campaign has become a BLT tradition, and we’re incredibly proud that we have been able to raise £300 for such a great cause.

Every 2 years we take a break from the meetings, the emails and the phone lines and meet downstairs with the aim of “doing something funny for our money.” Yesterday was no exception; proceedings began with lunch in our conference rooms, followed by a ‘guess the baby competition’. As a bloke, I didn’t fancy my chances, as if it wasn’t difficult enough; Becky saw fit to through in some wildcard photos! The afternoon provided a steady stream of laughter, most of which came when the identities of the babies were revealed! See if you recognise any of the faces!!/photo.php?fbid=10150210987334848&set=a.10150210986844848.376917.49493764847&theater

Do Employers give Passes to those wearing Glasses?

A recent article in the Financial Times has provoked me to start the debate as to whether wearing glasses is a hindrance or a help? Recent research shows that candidates stand a better chance of getting the job if they wear glasses…

As a glasses (and contact lenses) wearer myself, this is an issue that holds close to my heart. When I have worn my lenses to an interview has it meant that I have been missing out on jobs and opportunities for vanity’s sake? Would I have a higher level of success if I put my specs on? As far back as I can think, I have conscientiously woken up an hour earlier than necessary for interviews so that by the time the interview approaches my eyes are awake enough for me to put my contact lenses in. Not having glasses on is an immediate confidence booster and I have always felt an employer will take note of who wears glasses and who doesn’t. Now that I sit on the other side of the table I know that’s not the case!

When interviewed by the FT, Graeme Read, MD of an International Firm and a Global Executive Recruiter argued that he believes the theory has been ‘pushed by a bunch of opticians’ and that glasses or no glasses, asking intelligent questions is far more important to the average interviewer. He states that although appearances are important, actions and words speak louder. Similarly, Maggie Berry, MD of Women in Technology, a Specialist IT Recruitment firm questions whether it is a confidence booster? Wearing glasses is stereotypically associated with ‘nerds and geeks’ and clearly the image still persists! However, they don’t make you smart and they don’t change your answers.

Upon pondering the issue I have come to the conclusion that the glasses debate could arise from a number of avenues. The recent celebrity trend of wearing false glasses has sparked a craze amongst the population and an increase in sales of plain glass frames. Perhaps given this trend it has merely become more acceptable to wear a pair or spectacles? Alternatively, it could be argued that people who wear glasses look more intelligent and professional as it insinuates they have spent a lot of time reading books and studying. (A recent College of Optometrists Study has revealed that 40% of people with perfect vision would wear glasses if it would help them get a job)

The recruiter in me argues that wearing glasses doesn’t make a blind sight of difference (pardon the pun) and that preparation and personal presentation hold more weight at interview, but the glasses wearer in me can’t help but wonder whether employers subconsciously take note of spectacles, for the good or the bad!

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