'Show some gumption' - advice to Sheffield job seekers from firms which questioned city's work ethic

Sheffielders have leapt to the challenge after a businessman questioned whether people in the city really wanted to work.
Rob English with some of the new recruitsRob English with some of the new recruits
Rob English with some of the new recruits

Firms which had been struggling to fill vacancies have recruited seven new sales staff off the back of an article in The Star calling into doubt the city's work ethic.

Nick Murphy, managing director of Meadowhall-based health and safety firm HS Direct, last month laid down the gauntlet amid frustration at the number of no-shows for interviews.

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He claimed his experience suggested many people in Sheffield and the north in general lacked the appetite for work, preferring to rely instead on benefits.

Robert English, managing director of sister company EL Direct, which provides employment law support, said there had been a fantastic response and strong candidates had been found to fill all the roles across the two firms.

He also offered advice to any jobseekers still out there, urging them to do their research and tailor CVs, as well as showing some 'gumption' by approaching companies to which they believe they could contribute.

"We had about 30 new applications off the back of the article and we're delighted with the strength of the people we've recruited as a result," he said.

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"The candidates were all fairly front foot as they'd seen the article and decided to do something about it."

Mr English said the firm never had a shortage of applications for its sales roles, which do not require experience or training and come with a basic salary of £15,600 a year rising to as much as £50,000 with commission for its most successful staff.

But he claimed it had increasingly found those who did apply failed to tailor their CV or covering letter for the positions, would often not turn up for interviews and when they did turn up frequently failed to display even a basic understanding of what the job entailed.

"I think often when applying for jobs people these days people just fire off the same CV to 100 different companies before sitting back and waiting for a response," he said.

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"Because they're not tailoring their CVs or covering letters, it often comes across as quite grey and woolly what skills they have for that particular job.

"I think a lot of business owners receive these generic applications, realise no effort has been made and ask themselves why they should give that person a chance.

"It's important you do your research and are not afraid to show some gumption by approaching companies even if they're not advertising."

Perry Cawthorne, from Swallownest, in Rotherham, is among the new sales consultants at EL Direct.

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The 25-year-old, whose past jobs include running bars and providing web support for a mobile phone operator, said he he is enjoying the role so far and everyone has been very supportive.

He believes there is always something out there for those who are determined to find employment.

"My advice is to keep fighting and never let things get you down. If you put in the effort you will get the rewards," he added.

EL Direct and HS Direct do not currently have any positions available but Mr English encouraged anyone wishing to work for the company to send in their CVs as it is considering expanding.

Top tips for jobseekers

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1, Always tailor your CV to fit the role you're applying for

2, Make sure you include a personalised covering letter

3, Work on your interview skills and make sure you turn up looking smart, as first impressions count

4, Do your research. Read up about the firm and what the job involves

5, Don't be afraid to approach companies if they have not advertised for staff. They will be impressed by those displaying the 'gumption' to get in touch and show what they have to offer

* advice provided by Robert English, of EL Direct