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3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Accept Any Form of Lateness

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Accept Any Form of Lateness

I saw an interesting post online recently which posed the question “how much should lateness be tolerated?” I can’t cite chapter and verse from it but what surprised me most of all was the feeling that the writer was suggesting that, as employers, we need to cut workers a little slack to be late on a semi-regular basis. This was particularly emphasised in the case of (everybody take a deep breath…) “Millenials” where it was suggested that enforcing strict timing rules may lead to disengagement and, ultimately, the employees seeking another professional home.

So… hang on a minute… employers shouldn’t hold their employees accountable to reasonable deadlines for fear that the workers will quit? Workers can turn up when they deign to do so and achieve their work-related targets at a pace that suits *them* rather than the businesses?

Come on… that’s the inmates running the asylum!

Is lateness ever acceptable?

Yes – if the lateness is due to something out of the individual’s control.

We’ve all been there – traffic jam, train cancellation, or simply being at the mercy of somebody else who can’t get out the door in time, but you’ve got to give a little leeway when the person in question isn’t entirely in control of his or her own destiny. However that doesn’t mean you need to give this leeway indefinitely.

As the saying goes, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. If the person in question continually lays on excuse after excuse and seems like the unluckiest person in the world, what with traffic jams, flat tyres, missed busses and so forth, there’s a pattern that the latecomer is failing to react to – and that’s not good enough.


1. It shows a lack of respect for you.

Did you turn up on time? Do you deliver on your promised targets by the agreed deadline? Of course you do.

So why shouldn’t other people?

Your time is valuable and I have no doubt you work hard to ensure you perform at the best level you can. If somebody with less experience is taking a paycheque (or even guidance or training) from you and can’t at least mimic your behaviour, what does that say about the esteem in which they hold you?

Turning up late regularly means you’re at the bottom of his list of priorities. Missing targets that force your department or team backwards suggest his commitment to success doesn’t match yours. Why should you have to carry this sort of dead weight? If he doesn’t respect you, your work or your rules, find somebody who will. They’re out there.

2. It demonstrates an inability (or unwillingness) to forward plan realistically

I’ve been late for a few meetings in my time. Despite having left a clear extra twenty minutes on a journey, I might meet with road-related mishaps and there’s no way of predicting this. Still, what I do next mitigates it. Firstly, I make sure to pull off the road and phone the person I’m meeting to explain the situation and set realistic expectations of what’s going to happen. Secondly, I learn from the situation and don’t repeat it. If I travel that road again, I make sure I leave even earlier. The next time I meet that person, I make damn sure I get there early because late twice-in-a-row is not the way to move forward.

Somebody who is continually late, whether it be in terms of getting in at the right time or hitting deadlines, is not learning from his or her mistakes. That’s an attitude issue, right there. Refusal to learn a lesson doesn’t make for personal nor professional progress.

3. It sets a dangerous precedent within your company

Above all else, this is the key point. It’s tempting to sometimes brush away lateness if the person in question is otherwise a good performer. “He hits all of his targets, so I’ll overlook him wandering in 10 minutes late a couple of times a week…” That seems pretty harmless on paper and in the isolated case of one person but what happens when others within the company see this and conclude that lateness is acceptable?

They’ll start doing it, and you’ll have to try and explain that you cut the person who outperforms them some slack, then there will be accusations of favouritism, one rule for some, another for everybody else… and it’ll end in chaos. Do yourself a favour and lay down a clear line from the word go. As long as you’re setting reasonable and realistic expectations in exchange for the salary  you pay, you’ve every right to expect people to adhere to your rules. Even if a majority of your workforce are generally conscientious people who perform well and work hard, the minority will latch on to any opportunity to point a finger and say “if they can do it, so can I…” irrespective of their own performance.

Data analysis within recruitment hiring

The Joy and Frustration of Recruiting


The joy and frustration of hiring new recruiters…

Hiring somebody with no experience and guiding him or her through the first days, weeks and months of a fledgling career can be the greatest joy of a recruitment manager – when we get it right and the person we’ve backed turns into a big league player, there’s little better. Seeing a newcomer gain skills and confidence, evolving in front of our eyes and becoming an assured, competent professional who is going to further the reputation of both our company and our industry as a whole – that’s a fantastic feeling.

However, statistically, we’re more likely to end up with a mid level player or, worse still, a money pit. Indeed, one of the greatest frustrations of any recruitment manager is the risk involved in investing in the wrong people.

The losses from a bad hire can mount up quickly. Six months of salary, six months of training, six months of operation costs. If there was an agency involved, that’s even more money that you can’t get back. Sure, the work you’ve got in return will be of some value but not an adequate return on your investment.

This is one of the reasons why many recruitment companies look to make quick decisions on newcomers in their first month or two. If there are enough red flags about either attitude or aptitude (or both), they’ll cut their losses, reclaim whatever they can from any agency involved, and look to invest their money in somebody else. The frustration with this is that it’s hard to get a genuine feel for the true upside of a newcomer in his first few weeks, so snap decisions can be made and people who might have worked out given support through a rocky start become wasted potential.


In short, hiring within recruitment is often a minefield of frustration and missed opportunities. 

It’s little wonder that increasingly more managers are second guessing their own decisions at interview and looking to restructure their interview and on-boarding processes to ensure that those who join are more likely to be a good investment. The issue, however, is that the longer and more complex an interview process, the more likely it is that better candidates will be snapped up by other companies or, alternatively, lose interest in working for your company since having to jump through hoop after hoop at interview doesn’t exactly create a welcoming impression.

It’s a difficult balancing act – either move quickly on gut feeling and potentially get people who turn out to not be what you hoped, or be more deliberate and potentially lose some great people to your competition – the never-ending quandary of the recruitment hiring manager!


Something I’ve become more aware of recently is the application of science to the process.

An evolution within business since I sold Talisman (in 2008) has been Big Data and its application.

Whilst it’s an industry still in its infancy, the application of data analysis within recruitment intrigues me. I’m not talking about amateur psychology or the ham-fisted psychometric testing that many companies have hung their hat on for much of the last couple of decades, I’m talking about proper accrual of data within a company, then applying scientifically developed and proven algorithms to enable recruiting managers to have a better idea as to what they’re dealing with.

It’s the kind of thing I would have loved to have access to a decade ago. I suspect the cost of the service/product would have been more than offset by the money I would have saved in avoiding hiring people who turned out to be all mouth and no trousers (metaphorically, not literally). I might have also given others a chance instead of rebuffing them – and they might have become big hitters within my business.


Data science at work

Speaking with Steven John from PredictiveHire recently, I was fascinated to learn more about their business and the successes they’ve had already. I’m something of a sceptic by nature so found it hard to believe that something I’ve always thought would be fantastic in concept yet unrealistic has indeed become very real – and very helpful. Steve was quick to point out that it’s not a replacement for decision making, it’s an enhancement. By creating and harnessing data points within the existing workforce of the company, PredictiveHire creates an algorithm that is unique to a business and that can predict the likely performance of a candidate within that company. These are tailored to provide outputs based on what the business considers a good/likely measure of fit or performance. In short, it offers recruiting managers a pre-interview indication as to whether any candidate is a strong, moderate or weak statistical fit. The obvious bets may still be obvious (although we’ve all been disappointed by a superstar interviewee who didn’t translate into a superstar employee!) but this technology will help with all candidates, including those who fit into the grey areas where the hiring decision could go either way.

The most interesting example I found in their company communications was feedback they recently received from an early adopter recruitment client who was quoted as saying: “Our new hires who received high performance predictions from PredictiveHire are becoming productive twice as quickly against the average” – and that’s from the HR Director of a global recruitment firm. If you want to know more about any of this, give Steve a shout via his LinkedIn page, I’m sure he’ll be happy to oblige. If you’re a hiring manager in a company bigger than 50 employees, a chat with Steve is something I’d encourage. And no, I’m not on commission! It’s a genuinely interesting product and service that I think could genuinely affect businesses in a hugely positive manner, cutting down on time and money wasted in investing in the wrong people and passing up the better bets – something I would have benefited hugely from back in ‘my day’ as hiring manager of a recruitment business.


The bottom line

From where I’m sitting, it’s great news to see data science being worked more successfully into hiring processes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not an advocate of turning personnel decisions over to algorithms but the more knowledge we can be equipped with before making a decision can only lead to better decisions overall.


The RecruitMentor

GREAT SALES FILMS – The RecruitMentor Tuesday Triple


Great Sales Films


The recent success of Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle The Wolf of Wall Street showed that modern day cinema-goers are happy to reach into their wallet for the privilege of spending almost 3 hours watching a film inextricably connected with sales. No doubt some viewers came away with an overwhelming desire to cash in their current job and make some serious bank within the stock market.

Being motivated to try to improve your career prospects is a great thing for sure – but the cinematic glamour of the successful salesman’s high life can mislead people into thinking that they’re only a job offer and a few months away from caviar receptions and sabbaticals in St Tropez.

Hopefully film enthusiasts from the younger generation will seek out some other sales films, each of which will offer food for thought and key points to be integrated into any recruiter’s performance.

Here are three of my favourites…


Tuesday Triple


1/ The Pursuit of Happyness


The film based on the real-life story of the now-millionaire but formerly-homeless Chris Gardner is an incredibly well scripted, well acted and moving look at the struggle one man has to go through in order to get his life from where he doesn’t want it to be to where he does.

Think you’re facing adversity with an unappealing commute, longish hours and a mediocre basic salary?

Watch this film and get a little perspective.

The Pursuit of Happyness


2/ Boiler Room

Any scene in this film involving Ben Affleck is worth its weight in learning & development gold. The scenes with Vin Diesel aren’t too shabby either.

Overall, it’s a decent film but the scenes where Affleck and Diesel show you how it’s done will motivate, inspire and kick the ass of anybody who is behaving like a “piker” (their words, not mine!)

Boiler Room


3/ Glengarry Glen Ross 

Pacino. Spacey. Harris. Arkin. Pryce. Baldwin (the good one). Lemmon.

Among the best casts ever assembled, this supremely acted story is simple and honest – rather than overemphasizing the glamour of success (as many sales films do), Glengarry Glen Ross focuses on the fear of failure and the mistakes that this causes people to make.

Both inspiring and cautionary, this is well worth a watch, particularly for those who are newer to sales and could do with seeing how it “used to be” back in the 80s and 90s pre-mobile phones and internet immediacy.

Glengarry Glen Ross

How about you? What are the best sales films you’ve enjoyed – and learned from?




Looking to get more out of your day-to-day performance? Or better results from your team of juniors? Well, it’s not going to happen by waiting and hoping…! Check out The RecruitMentor training books and get on the fast track to success. Low cost, high value… learn more, earn more.

Dress for success… or not – RecruitMentor Horror Stories

Recruitment Horror Stories

RHS Logo

Whilst stocking my garage shelves with freshly delivered copies of my fabulous RecruitMentor training books, I found an old photo album – as you do, when digging around in a garage with altogether too much clutter in it.

And, as you also do when looking back at snaps from the pre-digital era (note to younger readers – yep, there was an age when you only got 24 pictures at a time and had to wait days for them to be developed – it’s one of the reasons why people older than 35 have some form of patience… that and parenting…), I found myself both smiling and cringing at some of my more questionable sartorial choices. A cringe came for sure when I found the picture of what I’d chosen to wear on my first day in recruitment. Black shirt. Navy suit. Bright red tie. Some form of loafer. Not a good combination at all. But, at the time, I thought it was smart. Because when you’ve spent several years at University and it’s your first day in the ‘real world’, suit, shirt and tie says SMART, irrespective of colour or coordination.

Needless to say, it didn’t take me long to smarten up, both literally and figuratively.

On day three at my new job, I passed the company director on the stairs and gave him a nervous greeting (the guy wasn’t just my boss, he was almost seven feet tall so pretty intimidating!). A cheery “hello” followed, which definitely helped calm me. The calm was then immediately shattered with the phrase “a businessman never wears a comedy tie”. And that was the end of that conversation. I went out on lunch break, bought myself two inexpensive but passable silk ties from Moss Bros, consigned my Homer Simpson tie to the bin and that was that.

But you’ve got to admit, it’s a forgivable and pretty much understandable mistake to make, right? They certainly don’t give classes at school or Uni about what sort of attire to wear to the office and I figured providing it was suit, shirt, tie, I was good to go. The nuances needed filling in but the basic idea was there. We all understand that.

Well, apparently not ALL of us.

Many years later after I’d learned how to dress properly for work and was running my own business (the two must have been somehow connected…), as I walked towards my meeting room, ready to interview a prospective employee, I found one of my PAs attempting to mask a snigger.

“What’s so funny?”, I enquired.

“You’ll see…”, came the reply.

I entered the room and the chap I was about to interview stood up from his chair to shake my hand. Good firm handshake. Pleasant, friendly countenance. Genuine smile. SHORTS.

He was wearing shorts.

Not board shorts or bermuda shorts.


Not quite Daisy Dukes but definitely the sort of short 80s footballers sported. In all honesty, I can’t remember what else he was wearing but it was some sort of non-descript T-shirt or sweatshirt on his upper half. I couldn’t get past the shorts. I could get behind it if he was interviewing as a go-go dancer or gym instructor but why on earth would ANYBODY think wearing shorts to a recruitment interview would be a good idea?

Retrospectively, I kinda wish he’d worn shirt, tie and suit jacket with it. Then it would have been a statement about conformity and I probably would have hired him for having the balls to do it. As it was, in the clobber he’d deemed fit for interview, I was concerned about his level of balls for a whole different reason.


Managing a team of recruitment newcomers? In your first year of recruitment? Looking to make sure you’re doing all of the job all of the time? Check out The RecruitMentor training books to enhance your career. Low cost, high value… learn more, earn more.

3 Worst Office Drinks – The RecruitMentor Tuesday Triple

Worst Office Drinks

When it comes to office drinks, the downside of more choice is the potential to make the wrong choice.

It’s easy to do, especially if your company is laying on things that you might otherwise have to pay a pretty penny for. After all, you can get water anywhere… but something you’d usually have to pay a couple of quid for in a shop? Take that now and go with water later – or so the idea goes.

As companies stock up their breakout room shelves with increasingly appealing beverages to get you through the day, there are few you’d be best advised to avoid – no matter how tempting they might look.


Tuesday Triple

1/ Hot chocolate

… otherwise known as a nap in a cup.

Back in 2006, after acquiring my first fancy drinks dispenser for the office (one of those ones where you put the sachet in and a hot beverage magically appears moments later), I decided that giving my employees the option of the occasional hot chocolate would be a very nice thing to do.

What ensued was tantamount to a hamster storing food in its cheeks so nobody else could get it. Almost instantly, all of the sachets had disappeared from the drinks rack and been stowed in employees’ desks. To make things fair, next time I ordered, I divvied them out equally so everybody got the same.

It still didn’t solve the biggest problem which was that a nice cup of hot chocolate lead to blood sugar spikes that saw my workers end up practically comatose about half an hour after their drink. Needless to say, I didn’t think an hour’s worth of companywide lethargy was in everybody’s business interests so hot chocolate was taken off the menu.


2/ Energy drinks

There was a time when a few members of my team and I would gladly and capably put away upwards of five cans of energy drink on any given Friday morning to make sure we ended the week with a bang.

The theory wasn’t quite in line with the reality as this “bang” only lasted until midday. The afternoon was mainly spent deeply regretting the morning’s consumption and fighting through a taurine hangover.

At least it was only one day a week – I’ve seen recruiters go through several cans of the sticky, sweet stuff every day for so long it has actually made them ill. No good for your bank balance, no good for your health. If you find yourself lacking energy at work, cut down on your carbohydrate intake at lunch, increase water levels and make sure you get some exercise at some point during the day. Don’t depend on any product with a colour or animal in its name.


3/ Beer (or any alcoholic drink)

Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting that recruiters casually drink their way through every day. However, some companies do allow (or even encourage) their team to crack open a bottle or can at some point during Friday afternoon to celebrate another week well worked.

In theory, I’m completely down with this – providing it comes at the genuine end of the work week. Where I begin to disagree with the practice is when people continue to make business calls whilst sipping suds.

Whilst a little Dutch courage can help you make statements and assertions you may normally shy away from, this can be highly damaging. Even after one beer, many people have their judgement compromised enough to make decisions or agreements that they might usually avoid. And once the decision is made, you cannot retract it.

By all means, raise a glass – but don’t do it until there’s no more work to be done.



Managing a team of recruitment newcomers? In your first year of recruitment? Looking to make sure you’re doing all of the job all of the time? Check out The RecruitMentor training books to enhance your career. Low cost, high value… learn more, earn more.

The three best office drinks – The RecruitMentor Tuesday Triple



The term “employee engagement” has become commonplace over the last five years, almost to the point of overuse. The theory behind it is sound – make your office a place where people love to work and they will deliver to the best of their capabilities and stay as long as you want them to. There are many different practices across many different companies but one of the most immediately obvious things on this front is what you put in your workers’ cup.

Gone are the days of bunging a handful of indifferent teabags and a jar of instant coffee next to a kettle in the kitchen. Now, some companies breakout rooms could compete with the offerings available at the local Starbucks.

So much choice – but which are the best?




1/ Black coffee

My first boss in recruitment absolutely swears by this as an indicator that a candidate is going to be worth interviewing. Black coffee, no sugar is a simple drink to make, stays hot for longer (buying you more time in interview!) and gives you a jolt of caffeine without the spike in blood sugar and inevitable crash that comes from sweetening up your cup of Joe.


2/ Water

Amidst all this choice, the very best selection often gets completely ignored. Somebody who spend their entire day drinking coffee is doing themselves a mischief. Even though coffee has water involved, it isn’t the same thing – drink enough and you’ll get dehydrated. If your body is in any way dehydrated, you will become lethargic and less effective.

Back when I was at drama school, my voice coach always used to say “when you pee clear, you are ready to perform” – that’s a principle I would apply to performance in the office as well!

Water. Plain. Simple. Often.


3/ Green tea

As I approached 30, I came to the realisation that I was a little overweight. The better part of a decade behind a desk had not been kind to me and so, in addition to sorting out my exercise regimen, I made some drastic changes to my diet.

Among the most important of these was no alcohol and no caffeine. For the first 10 days, I remember feeling shocking and it was only then I realised just how much impact these two things can have on you when you overindulge (which, to be fair, I probably had been doing with both…)

But only water all the time is boring! Especially when everybody in the office around you is enjoying a nice, hot brew. Praise be for green tea!

Once you get past the initially peculiar taste, it actually becomes somewhat comforting and, being hot, lasts longer than a cold drink. There are also antioxidants in green tea which are, apparently, good for you – though you never can tell what the experts will change their mind on next week…


Agree? Disagree? Comments and discussion welcomed!


The RecruitMentor

Managing a team of recruitment newcomers? In your first year of recruitment? Looking to make sure you’re doing all of the job all of the time? Check out The RecruitMentor training books to enhance your career. Low cost, high value… learn more, earn more.