26Jun 2017

It’s time for a positive message! In a world of constant fear mongering, poor economic stability and a rapidly changing market place, it can be easy to get caught up in the hype and worry about the future.The one word of advice I would give to anyone that is thinking about their future would be: Talk to us…

Through talking to us, we will be able to give you advice and help in either your current or future situation. I have always found that no one, no matter how happy they currently are in their role is ever “not looking”. A large proportion of the people that I place within new roles I have been in contact with for over a number of years. Within that time of course, a lot can change in an individuals aspirations, motivations and career situation.

There are a lot of cowboys out there admittedly that spoil it for the rest of us, however, as a market specialist, I would feel comfortable in talking to you about your own individual situation and advise you on the best course of action for the future, or you might just want a chat about the industry. In a vertical marketplace such as ours, confidentiality is key.

By making yourself aware to us, even if you are not looking immediately means that we can always speak to you when the right role does come up.

If you want to make sure your future is secure before you even realise it, Drop me an email or give me a call!

I look forward to hearing from you!

Don’t worry, there is a job out there for everyone!

David Jobin       Closing the interview
Key Account Manager at PG Automotive (UK) Ltd


08Jun 2017

Can LinkedIn really help your career?

How to use LinkedIn to market yourself as a candidate.

More than ever social media is being used to market yourself as a candidate in the job market whether this is being done consciously or sub consciously it certainly leaves a footprint.

My advice to candidates with regards to their social media, if you are attending an interview most of, many of potential employers will research you in advance to meeting you. Just as I advise all candidates to research who they are meeting.

Firstly, a professional photo, or something industry or job related.  For example, if you work in a technical role, maybe use a photo of you demonstrating a product or piece of equipment. Try to steer clear of the Friday night photo out at the local watering hole. So, what to include on your profile, just as a CV list your achievements and what you do, include a summary. Use this as an opportunity to showcase yourself on a professional level.

When liking, sharing and commenting on posts on LinkedIn, try to make sure it is business related, however the occasional personal comment will make you seem “human”. Avoid getting into an “keyboard warrior” type antics, discuss posts that are specific to your industry but it can be like playing with fire with some comments, and it can get out of control very quickly.

This brings me on to content. What should you post about on LinkedIn? The one is very simple, promote your company products, industry news and new products lines. This shows your audience your finger is firmly on the pulse of your industry, but more importantly it will generate leads and business and increase your profile within the industry. You will be surprised by the amount of people who will contact you as they have seen you active on LinkedIn!

Moreover as people use handheld devices more than PC’s to use LinkedIn the use of images and videos, rather than written posts have increased in recent times. This instantly engages the reader, rather than having to click on the “read more”. Instant engagement is what you should strive for in your posts.

That brings me on to your “connections”. At first (I was guilty of this) you seem to add every man and his dog to your connections regardless of industry. My advice on this keep your connections related to your industry.

You never know your next sales or job could come from LinkedIn!

Can LinkedIn really help your career?

Jack Hodges

The Refinish Recruiter at PG Automotive (UK) Ltd


07Jun 2017

do you need to make changes?

Research shows that from the start of the hiring process the top 10% of candidates have disappeared from the market by day 10. So, considering the average time to hire in the UK is approximately 28 days the candidates remaining in your process from day 11 onward are unlikely to be the right fit or the most qualified for your role but most companies will attempt to make a ‘good fit’ from the limited candidates now available. In effect taking on a 6/7 out of 10 because they need the role filled and the slow process has cost them the 9 or 10/10 candidates.

In addition to this, a long hiring process is fast becoming the top reason candidates speak negatively about a brand or company. A recent survey stated that candidates are now taking reviews from former candidates or employees. In the same way that they would from say Trip Advisor, when looking at holiday destinations. The result of this is that it can add a staggering 10% to the cost of every hire.

Remember the hiring process clock starts ticking as soon as that candidate submits the application not when you review it or when they sit in front of you at interview. By then the damage could have been done and your ideal candidate could have slipped through your fingers!

So how long is your hiring process?  Do you need to make changes?

Gavin Collier  do you need to make changes?

Recruitment Director at PG Automotive (UK) Ltd


01Jun 2017

Why should a business use a recruiter?

In my last article, I spoke of why a candidate should use a recruiter, so I’m flipping this round this week and talking through why you should as a business use a recruiter.

Well, firstly let’s talk about time. If recruiting a role yourself, you will spend countless hours sifted through applications and initial screenings (oh the joy!). Using a recruiter will save you time a simple but effective point. Time is critical when filling a vacant sales role for example, if the territory is vacant another employee or even the hiring manager is covering the area. This could result in a loss in revenue as customers are not getting the right amount of contact. Another implication, people are human and if someone is covering 2 roles rather than one it will cause issues trust me I’ve been there!

To combat these issues I work to a very simple guideline and 90% of my roles are filled within 4 weeks. That is what a “specialist” (that word does make me cringe) should be doing. My passion is the refinish market, I know who are the rising stars, the hidden gems but perhaps more importantly who you should avoid. People will talk sometimes to a recruiter rather than apply direct as offers them in some cases some anonymity, also the roles I work on are not out there plastered across the job boards for all to see. Using someone like myself cuts out the headache of marketing the role, finding candidates and organising meetings. Here is some feedback I received from a client on a campaign.

“In particular, Jack Hodges was particularly helpful. He saved me an infinite amount of hours in screening potential candidates for the position that I needed to fill. He also helped to schedule the interviews for the final candidates. When it came to the interviews, the calibre of the interviewees was extremely high; I am not exaggerating when I say, that if I had the available positions, each and every one of the people would have been great assets to bring on board.”

When it comes to finding your next hire within the refinish market. Give me a call on 07960 046131 and let me make your recruitment process quicker, more efficient and more importantly putting the right person in place.

Jack ( The Refinisher).

Jack Hodges

The Refinish Recruiter at PG Automotive (UK) Ltd


31May 2017

With the age of the internet, it has never been easier to prepare for an interview. The effect of this is that now it is harder than ever to stand out. The key is to put the effort in and don’t try to get by on the bare minimum.

It is always a good tactic to put yourself in the employers shoes. What would you like to see and what would you ask yourself in the interview that would impress you?

I often prepare candidates for an interview and brief them to answer any questions they may have, talk through the process and check in on their progress. Too often do I hear the famous last words “I am prepared, I have had a look at the website”.

If you genuinely believe this is an adequate amount of preparation ahead of any role, then I would suggest you need to review your self-motivation to going to the interview in the first place. By marketing yourself effectively you can put yourself in pole position for any job but you need to have that mindset.

There are so many options open to yourself when researching and preparing for an interview and they boil down into 2 areas.

The first is to make sure you are physically prepared and should go without saying. Having a suit a tie ready, checking the traffic and route beforehand, leaving enough time to get there, printing off your CV, taking notes/prep and a pen and paper. All obvious but you really would be surprised how often people don’t do the basics!

The second area is concerning research preparation that you should do ahead of any interview. Living and working in a breathing marketplace such as ours means that everyone always has access to their networks on which they can lean and ask for advice.

If there are any trusted customers, friends or colleagues (if they know you are looking) that you can ask for a second opinion, market knowledge, or perception ensures that you can pass feedback on at interview stage. For example, if you have spoken to a customer and they were negative about the brand you were going to meet, I would not let that prevent you from meeting them, but rather give you the opportunity to confront them directly or offer an opinion on how you would fix the potential problem.

There is also a lot of research to be done by digging deeper through the internet, checking company history, financials and relevant industry news (in their market sector) is also a great way of making sure that you are firstly satisfied that this is the right role / company for you but secondly give the impression to the interviewer that you have put time and effort into your research.

A further example does depend on your knowledge of the role, area and customer base but you could put together a target plan of customers and accounts for you to target.

What all of these suggestions share is going above and beyond the call of duty. You have to start believing that alongside you, the company are interviewing other candidates, some of which could be identical to you, who can bring the same relationships, customers and expertise to any role. I pose the question, what separates you?

The different types of preparation above are a big, bang for your buck investment in time. An interviewer always appreciates that you have shown your commitment by investing time into preparation while giving you the advantage of a balanced view of the role and organisation. You may discover it is not right for you!

There are of course many other things that make an impact and ultimately decide the outcome of any interview but do yourself a favour and give yourself as much of a headstart as possible – effect the things you can affect!

David Jobin       Closing the interview
Key Account Manager at PG Automotive (UK) Ltd



26May 2017

Reality vs Myth – Is recruitment easy?

Firstly, recruitment is a more complex operation than many realise. Having a ‘slick’ and ‘efficient’ process is essential in any business and recruitment is no different. Not only this but you have to have an eye for detail and a plan of action to enable you to deliver the best candidates for every role.

Being a passenger on the inspiring rollercoaster ride of the recruitment consultancy world for the past 4 weeks has been an eye-opening experience. Gone are the days of placing an advert, collating as many CVs as you can, placing your bets and crossing your fingers for your ‘game changer’ candidate to apply.

Recruitment is a niche skill set. You must have a full understanding of the mindset of each candidate/client, finding what motivates or influences them, understanding what their next move is but more importantly… why?

Consultants are the Antonio Conte to Diego Costa, helping you to ensure you achieve the best performance in the most efficient way and score that winning goal. Every high-performance team study the obstacles of each match and create a plan to dominate and win.

The only way I can describe a consultant’s recruitment process is a swan on a lake, what the swan is doing under the water is constantly performing to keep afloat yet what everyone else sees is a swan gracefully gliding across the water. A recruitment consultant doesn’t just have a pool of candidates that matches every client’s wants and needs, each consultant pulls out every skill to achieve a match made in heaven.

This process consists of an in-depth search, vetting and interviewing process so that we only provide our clients with the best of the best but it doesn’t just stop there. Advertisements will be tailor made and strategically placed as well as proactively marketed to suitable individuals on our internal database, this is all before we even send a CV. Consultants have spent years, building relationships with candidates that are not on the market but within it and the slickness of this when done well is like a SAS operation. That’s the real difference between an agency and consultancy.

After the CV is sent, the consultant is then the tour guide giving facts, figures, managing expectations and advice along the way to maximise the journey to a successful placement. They genuinely are the hidden force accelerating the growth of both careers and companies.

The down fall that plague the recruitment world is that it’s believed to be a quick, effortless process because of past experiences or misconceptions. Look at your personal or professional life and ask yourself the question,

What have you achieved that’s worth having that has come quick and easy?

The lesson I have learnt over the past month which will enable me to keep up this high performance, is to plan, prepare, be creative and articulate but also act. Success doesn’t just happen, it is all down to a very well executed plan!

If you deal with a recruitment consultancy or have an internal function, whenever the next CV hits your desk think back to this article. Think about the amount of effort it has taken to deliver that CV. It certainly wasn’t easy!

Rebecca Keohane 

Client Relationship Manager at PG Automotive (UK) Ltd


26May 2017


What a great story from Activa Contracts, part of the Arnold Clarke Group. It particularly speaks to me as this is exactly how I started in the Automotive industry with Evobus UK and haven’t looked back since! Purely by chance I was offered a Business NVQ apprenticeship at the largest subsidiary of DaimlerAG, providing the UK with Mercedes-Benz and Setra bus and coach products.

This would be the start of my love affair with the industry which would lead to working for manufacturers, fleet & rental companies, engineering and testing – and lead me to where I am today using my experience to work across the industry helping talented people to find them their dream jobs.

Vehicle leasing and fleet management company Activa Contracts is launching a new apprenticeship programme targeted at school leavers.

The launch of the programme follows the Government’s introduction of the apprenticeship levy, which is an initiative to get three million apprentices in training by 2020.

Additionally, GTG (Glasgow Training Group), which has training centres in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Wolverhampton and like Activa Contracts is a member of the Arnold Clark group of companies, is on the register of apprenticeship training providers approved to provide apprenticeships to levy-paying employers.

Milton Keynes-based Activa Contracts will offer apprenticeships in business services covering courses focused on business administration and customer service.

The courses will lead to apprentices gaining National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs), competency-based qualifications that reflect the skills and knowledge needed to undertake a specific job.

Training will be undertaken on the job and by attending courses at GTG West Midlands in Wolverhampton, which is equipped with technical classrooms, IT rooms and a purpose-built driver training centre. Apprenticeships will take 12-18 months to complete.

This is a great way to combat a shortage of quality candidates. Training young and hungry people in the right way, this in turn creates experienced personnel that the industry needs – this can only lead to a successful future for both company and staff.

Here at PG Automotive I work with experienced candidates across this market place, so feel free to get in touch with me to see how I can help with your current or future recruitment needs.

You can contact me on:

0845 643 0497 – 07507 614402 – sean@pgautomotive.com

Sean Smith 

Automotive Consultant at PG Automotive (UK) Ltd


18May 2017
But is it good for your recruitment plans?


The honest answer is NO!

Many candidates and clients who should be working together never make that a reality, why? simple, Summer Holidays. I can hear you laughing and thinking what does that have to do with it? Well let me explain….

Every year clients have recruitment needs reactive and proactive which cover the months of June-September. They begin the process and then bang! The dreaded Summer Holiday. The candidate has a fortnight in Spain they get back the client has a fortnight in the Algarve. An entire month passes from either a cv being sent or a first interview taking place. Yes an entire month! Now we have all heard the saying “Time kills deals” well in this scenario it does because among other reasons the client has a need so urgent they cannot make the timescales work, the candidate becomes disengaged from the process or they just feel their current situation isn’t so bad after a couple of weeks of vitamin D and Sangria. (This will not last but the reality will hit to late)

So how can you help you? Very simple…. be decisive! So here are a few things to consider.

  • Be realistic with timelines.
  • Work back from your critical start date by 4 weeks (av notice period) that is the latest you can have an offer accepted. You then can plan your 1st and 2nd stage interview deadlines from where you are currently.
  • Reduce the stages, do you need to have 2 or 3 stages in the process. Can you get the decision makers in the room at the 1st stage. Surveys are suggesting protracted process as a major deciding factor when considering an employer.
  • Review your cv’s quickly, if using an agency do not leave it 2 weeks to give feedback on a cv. In a marketplace with record low unemployment and skills shortages candidates have many other options. It is not arrogance or indifference, it is fact.
  • As above feedback from interviews is equally critical, it is not acceptable in either case and does damage to your brand if you delay feedback. (48hrs is a reasonable expectations)
  • Manage expectations and avoid cliche responses like “I have a few more to see and will get back to you!” This is a very vague and does not leave the candidate with a positive impression. Give them a timescale and stick to it, regardless of your other candidates.

These are just some of the pitfalls that happen every year and prevent great candidates working for great companies.

So the next time you are entering into the hiring process at this time of year head the warning “time kills deals” but more importantly so could the Summer Holidays!

PG Automotive recruit Automotive Aftermarket professionals across the car, commercial vehicle and refinish sectors. We are a market leader, not because we say so because the market says so! #bePG #teamPG #IamPG

But is it good for your recruitment plans?

Gavin Collier  But is it good for your recruitment plans?

Recruitment Director at PG Automotive (UK) Ltd


16May 2017

Why should you use a Recruiter?

In today’s marketplace, the majority of people will have been approached, or used a recruiter either to find them a new position or to find them their next employee.

Reputation is always a key driver, I am fortunate enough to work solely with one industry and a vertical within that industry. When it comes to the refinish marketplace, I live and breathe it. Whether it be attending exhibitions, bodyshop events or seeing first hand refinish products being used here at Reep Midlands. For this reason, I may be inclined to call myself a “specialist”, but you will have to deal with me to make that decision for yourself.

Ok, I may have been slightly beating my own drum at that start there, now let me go through why you should use a recruiter.

A Recruiter in my own opinion should act as the “compère”, between you as a candidate and a potential employer. Putting the right people in front of the right employer is a skill, encountering a large number of variables along the way. Yes, the skills must be right to do the role however much more is involved. There many more elements which come together to make the perfect candidate, personalities need to match with company culture and ethics. A good recruiter will understand the needs to match all aspects, the candidate must be right for the business in the same breath as the client being right for the candidate ensuring longevity for both client and candidate alike. Believe me this is no easy task.

Recruiters (well the good ones), have a network of hiring managers, business influence’s and decision makers in multiple business’s. Something that as a candidate you in all likelihood don’t have, or not to the extent I may have. We have access to jobs that are not advertised by the business themselves, that’s a simple one.

I like all professionals like to showcase their work and below is a recommendation from a candidate who secured his dream job.

“Should you require an individual to be in your corner when it comes down to securing a career move within the Automotive refinish industry you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone more exceptional than Jack Hodges of PG Automotive. Jack works tirelessly to open up opportunities that otherwise would not be available. His professionalism is to be commended! and you know what? he’s a really great person too.”

This recommendation links in with the image at the top. The candidate took the time to send me a Thank you card, a lovely gesture that puts it in to clarity what I do for a living. I have the ability to change people’s careers and in turn their lives. A quote from Will Smith sums my mantra up. “If you’re not making someone else’s life better than you’re wasting your time”.

So when it comes to looking at the next step in your career in the Refinish industry. One call you must make is to myself and judge if the self-acclaimed “Refinisher” is up to the task.

What came first the solution or the problem?Jack Hodges

The Refinish Recruiter at PG Automotive (UK) Ltd


12May 2017

Is contingency recruitment hurting our industry?

I have a question? If you employed a builder to build you a house and half way through you decided you didn’t want that house building anymore. Would you be able to just walk away or would you have to pay for the work and materials up to that point?

Of course you would have to pay!

So why do we as recruiters accept that we will work upfront with no reward when the goal posts move and your client takes an internal candidate or pulls the role for any other reason?

“Why are we treated so differently?”

Why do we not value our service in the same way and apply the same rules as other businesses, maybe then we may be handled in the same way as other professional trades or services. We have overheads, use materials and have salaries to pay, so why are we devaluing our place in the business world so much. Employers need us, candidates need us, we provide services which change peoples lives. Yet we are not always afforded the respect we deserve due to the saturated market place and the sometimes poor process carried out by recruitment businesses.

With the levels of new agencies all taking a very small share of the market each, it inevitably leads to a situation where decisions are based on percentages rather than quality. So I believe the industry is self harming and something needs to change.

So this brings me back to my other headline point, which is the best option for clients when choosing a recruitment partner, using multiple agencies and demanding unrealistic fees. Engaging recruiters in a race to the finish is not the way to recruit the best talent in a candidate short market place. The most efficient and proven way to recruit the best talent is to engage with one specialist recruiter on an exclusive or retained basis.

“You cannot expect steak for burger prices and to be seated first!”

This also guarantees that you get a consultant fully focused on your role and is committed to ensure quality service delivery. What other role do you know, where you hope you will be paid for the work carried out. The recruiter get to know your business, its culture, the intricate details of the roles and that will lead to more relevant short lists and a reduced time to hire. You will not be briefing multiple consultants and sifting masses of cv’s, having to remove duplicates. How much is your time worth???

Now I am not saying that you should expect a lesser service if you engage on a contingency basis, however do not be fooled into thinking that you are at the top of the priority list. Your probably not!

“What do you really know about what your recruiter does or doesn’t do?”

The next time you have a recruitment need, speak to that consultant in detail. Ask them how their process works? how they prioritize their roles? and where their candidates come from? Also ask them one other question, how many roles are you working on today that are contingency? Digest that and decide honestly where you think your role will fit into their daily plans and how much of their time you will receive.

So what do I believe…

It will only be when you fully understand your recruiter and their role that you will truly realize why retained or exclusive is the right choice. Recruitment done right, isn’t as simple as people think it is or we would all be millionaires!

As for recruiters do not devalue your service or your brand by entering into a race to the finish. Insist on commitment so that you can manage the recruitment cycle correctly. This will lead to both your and your clients brands being reflected correctly, quality service and the experience being a positive one for the candidate.

Who knows they could become your next client!

Gavin Collier  Are you an arrogant interviewer

Recruitment Director at PG Automotive (UK) Ltd