Posts Tagged ‘ Staffing ’

Recruitment Fraud – Action Needed?

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A week or so ago there was a topic that was posted on The FIRM’s discussion forum that was quite alarming. One of the members, an in-house UK based recruitment manager at a large company had flagged the issue of Recruitment Fraud.

I suspect that label could cover a multitude of sins, some very minor that we might experience every day and some major. This one falls into the latter category. It would appear that criminal gangs have been targeting the jobs market to collect personal information about people. In many of these cases it appears that the perpetrators of such fraud are creating spoof corporate websites and enticing people to apply for jobs through them. Of course the ‘candidates’ think they are applying for legitimate jobs at well known global companies In doing so, the targeted members of the public are asked to provide a range of personal information that would be relevant to a job application, but being given to a criminal company puts them at serious risk.

These fraudsters have also claimed to be able to arrange visas including travel and accommodation, couriers, legal advice or other services. The perpetrators can get quite clever providing alternate contact info for another spoof department or transferring calls. All with the objective of convincing the ‘applicant’ of their legitimacy and to con them into supplying personal information and money in the belief that a legitimate visa will be issued.

In addition the fraudsters have been known to send what appears to be real job offers to these ‘applicants’. In a recent situation one company actually had people turn up to start work. As you can imagine this caused a lot of frustration and disappointment to all involved.

It seems that it is all very convincing with many overseas workers looking to migrate being targeted at potentially great expense to them.

Many companies including RBS, British Airways and Shell ( only did a very brief search) are now putting notices on their corporate careers sites to inform people of how they advertise and the processes they follow during a formal recruitment lifecycle. There is of course no indication that they have been targeted or if they are just acting ahead of the game.

This is a serious issue and thought it wise to raise awareness of the issue to a wider audience and to suggest that everyone starts to think of a page or statement that we can put on their corporate careers web site. Not only are the individuals victims of this but so would your company be if this happened to you or them. It would damage your reputation and the level of trust people have in your corporate, customer/consumer and employer brands.

Many of you will be aware of this, but if not I hope it helps


Why can’t you fill my vacancies?

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We all hear about the politicians, The REC, the CBI and other commentators that have opinions talk about The Skills Shortage, as if it is a living thing, in generalised terms, yet does anyone actually know what this Skills Shortage is that they talk about? In the real world employers do not generally tend to have too much trouble finding staff to fill their vacancies, certainly not where I have worked. However there are times when filling a vacancy does prove difficult.

I think every recruiter whether working for an agency or doing it for real in-house, as well as most HR practitioners will have come up against a specific real world skills shortage every now and then. This is typical when there is a huge demand for skills required as a result of legislative or processing change. Examples of this might be the major changes in how programs were developed in the 80’s and 90’s from linear coding to OOD (what we take as pretty standard and has moved on to how programs are written today). Computer Operating Systems changed drastically in the 90’s from mainframe and centralised computing to distributed Windows and UNIX platforms. Then you have the business applications that required major process overhauls or innovation; changes to Pensions administration in the 80’s, Y2K (this was when the dates changed from 1999 to 2000 in case you didn’t notice), SOX and more recently Solvency II amongst a shed full of others. Technical skills (not necessarily IT skills) needed to address these business processes or requirements are varied but at the time tend to be either in high demand or non-existent in the job market. But is there ever really any need for it to be this way.

One thing that has been common over the last three decades and remains unchanged today is there always seems to be a lack of planning by business to accommodate these changes. Typically changes to legislation that affect business processes come with plenty of notice to allow businesses to prepare, train and deliver. Its common sense to realise that whenever significant changes need to be implemented there is always a drastic demand for specialist skills. Yet if every company in your market space wants the same limited resources, or the specific combination of requirements that just never existed before, what are you supposed to do, as recruiters and as businesses?

I suspect that many recruiters continue to try and find that elusive candidate or two to acquiesce a hiring manager that has a wish list of demands.

I also suspect that hiring managers hold out for the perfect candidate that can perform and deliver from day one.

Recruiters – Just saying we can’t find what you are looking for is not good enough.

Hiring Managers – Just asking for experience that is not available in the market and leaving a vacancy open for longer than 60 days or more is not good enough either.

Neither attitude helps though does it? It doesn’t get the job done!

Yet despite the fact that so many companies are chasing the limited resources, how many are thinking longer term and looking at ways to actually get the job done?

I can’t understand this. Consider the cost of an empty seat for 3 months, offering zero productivity and a zero prognosis on when it will be filled as well as the impact that empty seat has on other members of the team. Then consider taking a ‘not quite perfect’ candidate and training them over the same period. Not only have you got someone who is taking some of the work now, you will have someone who will fill the seat in 3 months. Surely it’s better to train someone to be productive in three months, than it is to wait for three months then still have no one to do the job.

Very simple logic.

Whilst the hiring managers own the process of business process delivery the recruiters are responsible to ensure that the right skills are acquired for the job. Typically recruiters will have a good feel for the market; if they are doing their job properly they will do anyway. They should have the information, confidence and the trust of their customer community to advise, consult and provide the information to the hiring managers. Be brave say it as it is. If a hiring manager can’t have what they want because of non-availability of and competition for skills or money or any other influencing factor then you need to tell them. It won’t be good enough to just say it, you will have to outline the potential implications along with the options available and how you would propose to ensure that their business plans stay on track.

And just engaging with more agencies won’t work either. If the skills don’t exists how are they going to find them?
The solution however lies in the advanced notice and planning, being aware of changes and the impact to resources both in-house and in the job market that these changes will demand. In the HR community we call this Talent Demand Planning. It should be taken seriously by the business leaders and planner, by the HRBP and by the Recruiters, planning potentially up to 18-24 months in advance, yet I suspect it is not.

Why not?

Who knows? Complacency, laziness, nativity, arrogance or worse ignorance of the job market and available talent pools. A combination of the above I suspect comes close.

There is no such thing as The Skills Shortage just poor planning and limited vision.

CV Farmers or Hunters for Top Talent? what would you rather be?

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Just over three months ago I embarked upon #MyJobHunt and started to really learn a lot about the abilities and the attitudes that pervade recruiting.   I’d had my own experiences, been influenced by other people’s and formed my own opinions, but the 6 weeks of #myjobhunt and the subsequent 10 weeks has taught me so many more realities around what we do and how we do it.

During my six week journey and adventure whilst I was looking for my next employment option I had two clear thoughts  and have used them a number of times in discussions and in presentations.

1.       The number of companies that have dedicated in-house recruitment teams is the tip of the iceberg; the number of those companies that have a sophisticated in-house team represent  the pinnacle of the tip of the iceberg


2.       The second point is that no recruiter is as good as they think they are; no process is as good as it is meant to be.


I’m not going to comment on the sophisticated teams and structures because they really are very very  good at what they do and how they do it.

Anyone hear the expression CV Farmer?  I use it quite a bit. It can apply to agency and in-house recruiters alike.  A CV Farmer is a recruiter that posts job adverts on company web sites and job boards or gives an agency a brief then sits back and waits for the CV’s to come to them.  They then do basic screening and then pass them directly the Hiring Managers.  The vast majority of in-house teams or structures are made up of CV Farmers or as their HR colleagues call them and their customers refer to them; Administrators.

These structures and individuals generally lack the understanding of what it takes to be a Hunter, actively searching for the right individual, assessing their capabilities and competencies in line with the needs of the business and the culture of the environment, let alone be able to provide substantiated advice and guidance to the Hiring Manager.

Don’t get me wrong. Farmers fill vacancies. They can do it and save on fees that may be spent on agencies or search firms. However how confident are you that you have hired the best possible candidate rather than a convenient one?

I’ve had countless conversations with other in-house recruiters over the last few months, covering a wide variety of topics.  One common thread is how a recruiting team’s performance and its worth to the business can be directly influenced by or as a result of the attitude of the person at the top of the tree in HR.   I can relate to this, unfortunately.

I have only ever met a few HR Managers or Directors that know how to recruit, unless their primary role is recruitment.  I was given a perfectly clear example of this recently when speaking with HRDs from organisations of various sizes and markets.  I asked by a show of hands how many of them had personally recruited for people in the last year.  Most of them put their hands up.  When I then asked them to put their hands down if they had used an agency or search company, all but one put their hands down.  All they had proven was that they knew how to use a phone.  I told them so, which opened up all sorts of conversations.

One clear point from personal experiences during #MyJobHunt, as well as before and after, is that the majority of HR departments treat recruiters as Administrators, which in turn means that they tend not to be equipped well enough to give a candidate a proper experience and therefore don’t add any real value.  In fact in many companies recruitment is managed by HR Administrators.  Worse still, if they are treated like administrators, they will behave like administrators and not necessarily give the candidate the experience they will need or deserve.

What I find troubling is that we constantly read in the business or HR press, or are informed internally that attracting and acquiring top talent is a Top 5 Board level priority, yet it is rarely treated as such and tends to be treated with little respect and importance by HRDs.

I agree that I have generalised and  appreciate that there are many reasons why in-house teams are not as good as they think they are or could be, and I am pretty sure that this post will stimulate a few comments, but hey it I didn’t hear it or experience it I wouldn’t comment on it.  I think you know that about me.

The point I am trying to make is that recruiters can add significant value to your employer brand, your corporate brand, your reputation in the market, your ability to attract and acquire top talent and when supported, equipped and engaged correctly they will add far more value to the company balance sheet than any other part of HR…………..arguably.  I am biased of course

I’m in the lucky position to have joined a company as we go through a transformation, part of which is the creation of an improved and hopefully sophisticated team at the pinnacle of the tip of the iceberg with all the processes, tools and skills to add real value to the company – yeah that’s my goal and my job!







How do I get onto your PSL?

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If you haven’t yet come across UK Recruiter I recommend a visit and a read. Run by Louise Triance, UK Recruiter not only provides a wealth of information to all those involved in the UK recruitment market, but Louise is a big advocate of getting agencies and in-house recruiters to network and cooperate with each other.

Louise recently asked for contributions to her “Recruiter Clinic” series by asking various people involved with the recruitment business “What is the question you are asked the most often?” and “What is the answer you give?”

I was pleased to help.

This is the question I get asked the most: How do I get onto your PSL?

Many large organisations with traditional purchasing models follow complicated and cumbersome RFQ, RFI and tendering processes to select the suppliers for their PSL. There is no sure fire way of getting through the rules, weighting and scoring matrices that can be set up by procurement teams I’m afraid. This kind of process and the resulting set up, tend to leave suppliers feeling they are being kept at and arm’s length, with limited relationship potential, other than that of traditional supplier/buyer and that any quality in service is diminished. I agree. It’s a lottery and to be honest a waste of energy and time for all concerned.

In organisations where there is more emphasis on quality of service and importance placed on cooperation and understanding of the business, as well as the personalities required in the different roles, it is crucial that you build a relationship with the key stakeholders. These will either be with the in-house recruiting teams or the hiring manager.

A bit of advice, if the organisation you are trying to sell to has an in-house recruiting team, bypass them at your peril, for they can be the decision makers not only on which agency to deal with, but also on which people will be hired. You will almost certainly ruin any chance you have of dealing with that company if you try and go around the in-house recruiting team to the hiring managers directly.

Within such organisations PSL’s are built based on suppliers’ previous track record with a company, on feedback and input they get from the hiring managers. In-house teams in many of the HR departments talk to each other and compare notes on agencies, especially if they are members of The FIRM, and thus it is important that the levels and quality of service you offer is of the highest standards at all times.

If you are invited to give a presentation as part of a PSL review, be sure that you know the company you are presenting to inside out. You have to know the scope and scale of the company, which markets in operates in, who its competitors are, what the competitors are doing (in respect of sales strategy, reorgs, hiring) why they hire, how they hire, what competences they look for in the various departments, what technologies are important to that market, what is the buzz in the market, what legislation could affect them. This is more information than you can possibly get from an hours superficial searching on the internet. This is proper and through research, but it has to be done if you want to have any credibility. If you can clearly show that you know the market better than the in-house recruiters then you will be adding value already.

Hope this helps

What does the Recruitment Industry Compete on?

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In a departure from #myjobhunt blog series

Recently I was asked “What do you think are the key factors that the recruitment industry competes on?”

My Answer:

You have to think about what you are competing for. Are agencies and search firms competing for the potential candidates or are they competing for the actual deal with the customer? They should have both in mind always.

Of course if competing for the candidates you have to be able to present yourself as credible and effective. An agency has to present itself as knowing the market as well as the ins and outs of the customer they are representing to the candidate, without the hard sell. They have to know all there is to know to ensure that the candidate has sufficient information to determine if the job and company is suitable. Also armed with the customer knowledge the agency recruiter will be able to determine accurately if a candidate can be turned into a credible applicant in front of the customer.

Competing at the customer level we look for agencies or suppliers that will be able to represent our brand, our company and the position we are recruiting for as if they work for us; much like a sales channel does for products. If a search firm or agency can show they have the ability to understand our business, our processes and our culture then they will be equipped to sell our proposition to each candidate and be of greater service and thus value to all parties.

To compete we all have to be in the position to represent ourselves to each other and meet the expectations of all involved. If as a customer I respect the agency or search firm – and more importantly the person I am dealing with – I will invest the time to educate them and equip them to better represent me. In doing so the agency or search firm will be armed to earn the trust of the candidate. The candidate will have confidence that they will be represented to the customer and the customer will have the confidence that their brand is in safe hands. The customer will appreciate that candidates from that particular source will be thoroughly vetted and closest to the mark.

So answer to the question; the industry competes on knowledge and credibility……………oh yeah, for the poorly managed in-house PSL structures its all about price and not quality of service and the poorly equipped agencies all compete on speed of service rather than quality.

I welcome thoughts and comments on this one please

Job Hunting is About Making Right Choices for the Right Reasons – Day 27 #myjobhunt

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This is Wednesday and Day 27. I’ve been unemployed for 2 whole weeks now. Gone in a flash! Feels like the first push has come to a head now. For the last week this was always going to be a big day for #myjobhunt with two final, or at least that was how they had been billed, interviews.

So before I get into the events and thoughts of today, let’s have a quick look at yesterday. As you have read in this and other blogs a few friends had a camping expedition in Devon over the weekend. It was one of the most relaxing and fun filled weekends I have had in a long time, maybe because there was very little pressure and the only expectations that had to be realized, were we would laugh, have a lot to drink, get very wet surfing and not have nearly enough sleep. The big point of this for me was the laughter and the relaxation with friends that have cared and have supported me throughout #myjobhunt. Talk of work was avoided and only touched upon in general or lighthearted banter. With sixteen very noisy, confident and extrovert people in a reasonably close environment you would have thought that I wouldn’t have had time for serious reflection, yet this is exactly what I was able to do, albeit briefly.

On Monday of this week I had a long conversation with Mrs F about the progress of #myjobhunt. No concerns apart from making the right choice. It doesn’t necessarily come down to choice and in this particular case – I’ll get there in a moment – it wasn’t about choice.

Since Day 1 I have been pursuing a job with an American technology company and have had a number of interviews, all of which have been blogged about here. I had a supposed final interview last week which resulted in another final interview to be had this week, today in fact. At this point I didn’t have a choice. As I mentioned very early on in Day 1 or Day 2 a candidate needs to get an offer to make a choice. Well that is not entirely true. I had the choice to withdraw my application altogether, didn’t I?

And that is what I did; I withdrew my application after 6 interviews. Didn’t see that one coming did you?

Why? You may ask. There were number of reasons if I was being really picky and critical, however the key deciding factor was that I did not have a good feeling about it. I didn’t have a bad feeling either. This means I had no emotion attached to it and to pursue a job that, if I got it, would have meant a 130-mile round trip, which I was poorly motivated by would have been wrong; not only for me, but to them too. Also after 6 individual interviews for the same role I was pursing it, they were not pursing me. I don’t want that to sound arrogant but they hadn’t once called me after an interview to ask me for my feedback, nor had they given me any feedback or a compelling reason to want to work for them. It won’t therefore surprise you; it didn’t me, to know that all they said when I called to tell them was “thanks for letting us know”! (WTF???) I think that response justifies and verifies that I had made the right decision to pull out.

I know! I know! They may have had that response because I was not the person they wanted anyway. But please???!! They and we have to give a candidate a better experience than that. It wasn’t a bad one and it won’t change my views on their products, but it wasn’t good enough for my requirements as a candidate, or by my standards as a Recruitment Manager.

Dusted down and moving on.

I was also contacted directly by a couple of members of The FIRM who proposed ideas to me or wanted to explore my interest or availability. Another couple of online contacts had put resourcers at other companies in touch with me and these need to be followed up.

So whilst the pipeline is not as long as it was previously it is still there. But it needs me persecute it and not let the opportunities slip me by. It is important that I follow all of these up to be sure I am not overlooked, nor show anyone any disrespect. If I have done this to you already I apologise.

Onwards and Upwards – Day 27: I travelled into London with my usual tunes on my iPod – yup you guessed it Genesis, Suppers Ready – for an interview in the City. I love the City, as I do most of Central London, but the City is special and was looking forward to this one having had a great call with both the recruiter and the hiring manager last week.

(SIDE NOTE -Trouble was the Tube strike hangover today. Now do they think us stupid? “signal failures” crippling the network the day after a strike. Says much about the intelligence somewhere in that mix! The irony is that they are striking over the possibility of maybe 800 jobs being cut and yet their laziness and not going to work today was delaying me for an interview. Lazy work-shy b#@*&$+s)

Where was I? – oh yeah stuck at Baker Street. I got to the City in the end in plenty of time – my usual 30 minutes safety window intact. The interview seemed to go well, but I think they are always difficult to read. That is all I will say. I am very keen on this one and don’t want to tempt fate. True to their nature the recruiter called within 2 hours to ask me for my feedback; however that call turned into another interview of sorts. This recruiter is awesome and asked me questions about the questions I was asked in the interview proper. What a way to make sure I had been focused, paying attention to the key points and taking it all in. So now I have the wait to hear. This is the worst bit. I am tight with anticipation on this one.

Music of Day 26 – Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd
Music of Day 27 – Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones

The one big downer of the last few days is the news that Connaught, the housing facilities maintenance company has gone into administration. There are a few of their recruiters in The FIRM that are likely to be affected or at least left worrying in uncertain times. I mention it because it means that potentially a large number of people – 4500 reported – could be in the same boat as me soon. It is not nice and I wish them all success in finding replacement opportunities soon, should they need to. One of their number, a recruiter and a member of The FIRM contacted my directly on Twitter yesterday, thanking me for this blog! He has taken something from it and reported to me today that he has already arranged two interviews on his Day 1– so I have competition in #myjobhunt eh? Seriously this is great news and of course I am glad I help in a small way – who would be?

What was also interesting is that he has been able to do this using his network of contacts and not relaying on the traditional and “so last year” approach of calling the agencies.

So if anyone reading this is looking for a technical recruiter in the Thames Valley, Surrey, Hants or London please give Jon Harrison aka @jonnieboyh a Tweet. Let’s see if we can take this social media networking thing to the next level shall we?

I want a job and that is till my #1 priority but if I can help others find jobs and if I can help companies find candidates by Paying it Forward, then I will.

And NO NO NO I am not starting my own agency again!

It’s called Social Recruiting

Just in case you are wondering what my background is my LinkedIn profile is a click away

or at

in the About Me page above. My contact details can be found in the Contact Me page and am open to any type of conversation that will help me or help you.

Thanks for reading

Putting My Back Into Job Hunting, Not a Good Idea – Day 25 #myjobhunt

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My name is Gary Franklin and I am looking for a new job.

My last blog post was almost a week ago. That was Day 21 of #myjobhunt, this is Day 25. Having said that, the activity that took place on the last 3 days of last week probably amounts to enough to make it Day 21 and three quarters. But each day is separate.

So what happened on Days 22-24? Like I said last week, I was going to take it easier for a week. I needed a real break to be honest and whilst some might say that I have it easy being out of work and not getting up etc etc. blah blah…….you will know that if you have been in this position it can be very tiring, both mentally and physically. Yet a real break is not an option – I cannot afford to get used to not working, which is all so easy to do whilst the weather is warm. I can also tell you the way I have gone about it has been a lot more stressful than I had taken it to be. To the point that last week I could hardly move because of pain in my back and shoulders – all caused by a bad seating position, at the dining room table and not the desk in the attic, (and yes I’m at the table now) and of course the intensity and self-induced tension of the #myjobhunt process.

As mentioned in Day 21, the Wednesday of last week, which would have been Day 22 was dominated by a final interview (the 6th) with the Head of Global TA for a company I had been speaking with since Day 1. The interview lasted for 90 minutes and I seemed to get on well with them. At the end of the interview he suggested that he wanted me to have a conversation with their Head of EMEA – the business leader not the TA leader. It was the EMEA Head of TA that I was interviewing for. (Interview #7!!) He also suggested that he would like me to speak with the same chap that hadn’t bothered to make 4 previous attempts at an interview (#8 !!!). I expressed by reservations about that idea and suggested it wasn’t appropriate. He agreed.

I still have the final final interview on Wednesday of this week.

Last week I also commented on a terrific telephone interview I had with an in-house recruiter (she was terrific!) This resulted in me having a second telephone interview with the same company, this time with the Head of HR, EMEA. Now this interview was arranged on the Wednesday whilst I was driving back from the above interview and I hastily agreed to do it 08.30am on Friday 3rd Sept. Nothing wrong with that, except that I went to the Robert Plant concert in London on the Thursday night. Not only did I not get to bed until 2.30am Friday morning, but my ears were ringing and my voice didn’t work when I woke 3.5 hours later! I was a bit relieved to say the least that the interview times got mixed up and had to be rescheduled until later in the morning. All faculties working, I had a great chat with the Director, some of whose questions were very clever; one about LinkedIn connection ownership focused my wind like a razor. Thankfully I have read many comments on this issue and thus not only have my opinions, but also have those of others and options to present. I was invited to meet with her for Wednesday of this week at their offices in Central London. I was also asked to prepare a First 100-Day Plan for the interview. Best interview approach so far.

During each of the days I was sent Tweets, emails and LI InMails from so many generous people informing me of different vacant positions. I also found a couple of interest in some of the online groups and forums I frequent. I had a conversation about one that sounded pretty interesting – a 6 month interim position. However when the issue of rate was mentioned it was far below what the current climate/market is paying. We then had a very good conversation about this and what other roles are paying per day, I was able to provide details for them to do some checking if they required. Whether it makes any difference to them, budgets being budgets I don’t know. I’ve not heard back. I didn’t take the rate personally at all. It is what it is. I’ve spoken with so many candidates that take it as a personal insult when the rate or salary is not to their liking. Why do they do this? Do they think they are unique? Do they think they are a legend or the gift the company is waiting for? There is no need for it and it will most certainly not win you any favour with any agency or employer, regardless how unrealistic the salary or rate they can afford is.

On 3.5 hours sleep I packed the car and set off to spend the weekend in a field on the north Devon coast with a great bunch of people for the inaugural #SocRecCamp. Each of these people are prominent online in the recruiting business from one angle or another and have been supportive of me and #myjobhunt to the extreme. This is all I will say on this post but I will have a recollection of the 2010 #SocRecCamp in a later posting.

Music of the last few days –
Rock n Roll – Robert Plant & The Band of Joy (live Bluegrass version) – genius.
That’s Not My Name – The Ting Tings for campfire (gas lanterns) smiles

What have I learned these last few days? It is important that when companies go to market with a position they have scoped it out correctly. If a role is worth upwards of £350 per day, you will not do yourself and your reputation in the market any favours by only paying £250 per day. Yes, you are likely to get someone to fill the job; however one would question the levels of ability to reach the competency heights you need. Better to pay to get the job done properly and get the right experience from the market, than give the market a negative impression about your inability to pay or how much respect and value you give to certain functions. Remember Employer Brand is very hard to repair at the individual level. This is obviously not a job hunting lesson but it is certainly something I can remember from a job hunters perspective next time I am involved in a discussion with Comp &Ben or a hiring manager.

Another lesson learned is that I cannot maintain the high levels of energy needed if I don’t help myself. Exercise and good posture whilst sitting are both essential. I do not recommend having lengthy conversations on the phone or going to interviews when uncomfortable or in pain. I was for the last two weeks, as a result I was very distracted, had lower energy and stamina levels and my enthusiasm and therefore my chances of success were reduced. All Fixed now though.

Just in case you are wondering what my background is more can be found via my LinkedIn profile

Please Tweet or pass onto others who may know others who can help me.

thanks for reading