Thursday, 17 May 2012

How to avoid unwanted email - a notice!

If you are getting uninvited emails through you will probably dislike it just as much as we do.
So we've decided to fight back and set some interesting addresses for the purpetrators to find.

So for all those genuine readers of this blog please do not use the emails listed below:

Any person using these emails will find their email will not get through.
They are purely for the avoidance of uninvited email.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

CV formats - Online applications

Your choice of CV format could put you at the front or the back of the queue!

Did you know it takes less than 1 minute for your details to be processed at MAC Scientific?
Yes from your application arriving in our mailbox to you being fully registered or your existing records updated and the acknowledgement email sent it takes from 30 - 50 seconds.

To be a winner it helps to be first out of the blocks
We have invested in data parsing systems that assist us with applicant reception.
The Exchange Server, the data parsing system and our state of the art SQL Server based system all combine to rapidly present you to the consultant dealing with your application.

From there we can contact you by SMS, Email or TAPI call to your mobile, work or home number as is you prefer.
Consultants can be reviewing your CV within 60 secs of your application.

Our systems are also smart enough to hold a CV if it is not sure if it's an updated version or a newly registered person's CV. All this is rendered useless if your CV get's held up for manual checking because the CV is illegible or poor or over complex formatting such as tables confuses the parsing software.

Here's a quick list of pointers about the format to speed you along:
  • Always send a CV in MS word format.
  • Try to avoid PDF's they look great but take longer to edit
  • Don't use tables as they affect the order in which the data is parsed
  • Always send a CV as a word Document, never use a skydrive link to a document or your application will not have a CV with it. (All the other applciants will be there done and dusted before anyone goes searching for your CV and then it has to be manually added into the system for scans for future roles.)
  • Europass CV's look good until you edit them, they can cause delays

If you have more time then read on.

Background info
Applications for a role can number in the hundreds, it is not unknown to receive over 1200 applications for a basic lab tech role!   You have competition and never moreso than in the current climate!

Logistically our Recruitment System and processes are developed to cope.
We have state of the art reception software to be able to process bulk applications that come from job boards, websites, careers sites etc.  That process involves automatically extracting the data in your CV to be analysed and submitted to the database whilst simultaneously emailing the Consultant(s) to alert them to your application.
That takes seconds!
So what can go wrong?

MAC Scientific as a reputable agency will never send your details to a client without your express permission.

In accordance with best practice no agency should submit your CV to a client without your permision, this applies in respect of each particular role.  They should also sanitise your CV by removing your personal details and those of your referees.
Therefore some editing (sanitising) must take place to remove these details.  That is not as simple or quick for an agency to do with PDF's and or skydrive docs.  So don't use those if you can help it.

It is policy at MAC Scientific to never alter the content of your CV unless you agree to it.  Minor changes such as typing errors etc are something we would take care of for you but we will never alter the content for fear of altering the context.

So, as PDF's are more difficult to edit they usually get passed to someone else to edit, this will delay an application.
Skydrive docs have to be retrieved by someone so your application will have no CV with it, whereas CV's that came as Word Docs will have been processed and actioned before your gets looked at.  Many clients only allow a limited number of CV's so you do not want to have your CV delayed for any reason or you may find the applications limit is reached.

Upon arrival at my desk I have often had to review 60 or more applicants for one job that came in overnight.  The PDF or Skydrive based CV's are all needing further attention yet we have filled the client imposed quota of applicants for the particular role concerned.   For instance each agency may only be allowed to submit 5 cv's.
Some clients allow only two or three applications at a time so having your CV delayed is not a good tactical move.   You do not want to be fourth!

Skydrive docs have to be downloaded whereas CV's emailed to us as an MS Word attachment are loaded, dealt with and viewed by the consultant at the click of a button.
PDF's require editing in Acrobat which our SQL based system cannot do itself, although processed it's the sanitizing that takes time.  By the time we get a revised CV's back in a workable format we may have submitted our quota of applicants.

You might ask "How does this affect me?"

Quite simply you can be ahead of the game by following the advice in this blog or you can be left sidelined or your application delayed, if you do not follow these basic principles.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

MAC has an 0333 number for mobile callers

0333 means you can call us free from your mobile!

By calling us on 0333-900-4300 you can use your mobile phone's inclusive minutes.
Did you know that although local rate 0845 numbers were cheap from landlines some mobile phone network providers charged in excess of 39 pence per minute to call 0845?
0845 numbers are bad for mobile bills.
0333 numbers are good!
You can now call MAC Scientific on 0333 900 4300 at local rate from a landline and better still it's free within your phone plan's inclusive minutes!




My email was blocked!

Everyone wants to access their email via the web so they use one of the free mail accounts such as Live, Gmail and Yahoo etc. 
For various reasons your account may be blocked by mail servers that are applying rules to prevent spammers etc.

"So what can I do about it?"

In the rare event that this happens to you when applying for a role you should try using the agency's own website.  It will normally have a page with it's own application/registration form, usually requiring you to enter validation text.   
For instance you can can apply for our roles by registering your details and submitting your CV MAC Scientific registration webpage of alternatively you can apply for individual roles from within our job page

Once this is done our system will automatically email you a receipt or confirmation email.
Your emails should not get blocked after that.
In summary, if you apply to an agency or employer but receive an email telling you that your email was blocked, then try again using the agency's/employer's own website "get in touch" pages.

Above all don't forget to have an up to date antivirus programme running on your PC.
Further advice is available at

How can MAC Scientific help you?

There are two main groups of people that MAC Scientific help. MAC Scientific has established a reputation for providing clients with quality candidates who are nourished and developed by an agency that does more than just filter CV’s.
If you are a candidate the MAC Scientific website provides you with access to some of our latest vacancies. Browse the vacancy section and see if any of the roles are right for you. If you can’t find a suitable vacancy then let us know – we welcome feedback from potential candidates and it may be that the right job has just surfaced but is not on the website yet.
You can place your trust in MAC Scientific's Consultants who are not only Recruitment Employment Confederation (REC) trained and qualified but they are  Institute of Recruitment Professionals (IRP) members too. That means our professionals are up to date with legislation and current best practices.  MAC Scientific is a Corporate Member of the REC and therefore assures you of highest standards built into our processes.
Our Consultants have pledged to work to the IRP's Code of Conduct.  You will not find a MAC Scientific Consultant sending your CV without your permission and we mean for any job, you won't find us asking you about one job and sending you for others too.  You will receive the highest standards of service.
We understand that our job seekers vary in their needs from the first time job seeker to Senior Management.  Some need a change of scenery, for others it's a planned career move and often there are those who have been made redundant.  Whatever you require of us we it’s our job to find you the right job.
More specifically it means that there are a number of guidelines to which we adhere. Visit to find out more.
Our site also contains useful guides on a range of topics including tips for writing your CV, advice on how prepare for and perform at interview and even career advice from financial to IT considerations.
If you are a client be assured that we pride ourselves on the quality of our work. We will provide you with the right candidates within the timescale you want them. To save you time we'd rather supply you with quality CV's than quantity, you will not get "snowed" by MAC Scientific.
We also pledge to keep you informed, if we cannot find that Scientific specialist, we will tell you why and let you know what we are to do to resolve the matter.
Our best references come from clients who have been using our services and from candidates who we've placed – we find they are our best sales people!
All MAC Scientific consultants must be REC qualified and IRP members too.  This together with our compliance processes assures you a quality service and the peace of mind.
Visit to find out more about the recruitment industry's trade body and it's standards.

I didn’t get the job because of a virus!

Most corporate virus checkers now automatically quarantine suspect e-mails – the recipient will receive a note saying that a suspect e-mail has arrived. They have to click on a link to view the e-mail, click on the attachment to see if the virus can be cured and only then view the contents.

In the world we live in you cannot afford to have delays or you will be overlooked.
For instance if you’re one of 10 people sending in a CV, 9 of them don’t have a virus and yours does, then you’re likely to be dealt with last - in the best possible scenario that is!
Whilst we at MAC Scientific endeavour to check all CV’s sent to us other firms may be less forgiving – some virus checkers simply bounce the e-mail back, rejecting it before it gets into the system.

If you are serious about security you must have an up-to-date anti-virus program. Go for a name, such as Kaspersky, Norton, Mcafee, Symantec and make sure it’s up to date.

You can't just install it and leave it, you need to have updates that can deal with the latest virus and worms.
If you’re on broadband then you should be able to set the program update to take place automatically. If you’re on dial up it may be slightly trickier, but make sure you update the virus list every day.

If your machine is used by more than one person, or frequently uses CD’s or floppies from other machines then ensure that your anti-virus software checks ALL outgoing mail. Carry out a full system scan once per week to ensure your PC is healthy.

Passing on a virus can seriously damage your job securing abilities.

Make your CV shine

You may not want to hear this but…your age, sex, qualifications, the current job climate, your hair colour, none of these are really stopping you get an interview, more often than not it’s because your CV is not doing you justice.

Looking good on paper or online, with the majority of CVs submitted electronically these days, is an illustration that you will be good in an interview – if you present text well then you may be able to present yourself well.

Whilst content of your CV is paramount, the way it looks and the impression it gives must not be forgotten.

Your font size should ideally be 12 – if it’s less then people start to find things difficult to read. If this presents you with problems then try using a small font size for the elements such as contact details, or reference details. Or use a different font size for qualifications. As a rule, where there is more than a line of text it should be size 12 font.

Do not use a “fancy” font. “Scripted” fonts, that look as if someone has “written” the text are rarely a good idea. There’s a lot to be said for using a straightforward font like Times New Roman or Garamond. They tend to provide a more business-like appearance to a letter or CV, rather than Arial or Courier. Georgia is a trendy font at the moment that may give your CV a different feel.

Do not be afraid of white space – that’s space where there is no text. Do not feel that you have to fill every centimetre of the paper and resist the temptation to insert some clip art, no matter how “amusing” or “quaint” it might be.

Your word processor has a spell checker – use it. There is little worse than a badly checked CV. Once you’ve finished your CV get someone with a keen eye to check it. There are no excuses for typos or bad grammar in a CV and it can be the deciding factor for sending a CV to the “no” pile.

If you are submitting a hard copy of your CV, or an electronic copy that allows decent formatting, then modest use of colour can set your CV apart. Some people like to use non-white paper for CV’s. This is down to individual choice, but white is always the safe and professional option.

Beware of making your CV look too “trendy”. Many CV templates available with word processors or downloadable from the web are too “art” intensive. Also, if you rely on a template the likelihood is that your CV will look very similar to that of other applicants…why not let your CV show some of your personality and “design” it yourself?

Your CV should reflect you. You would turn up looking your best for an interview, your CV should enable you to do the same.

Try to differentiate between the skills gained  academically and those in industry, put them in two clearly labelled sections.  Finally, NEVER NEVER EVER try to bluff people, the reviewers are usually experts in the field concerned.

For example I recall a candidate who claimed, in his CV, to have experience in techniques involving Potassium Bromide,  yet at the interview did not know what a KBr plate was.  He did not get past that question!

Finally make sure that your qualifications are correct.  We all know that no-one will fabricate their qualications but the B and the M keys are only two keys apart.
You do not want to lose a job because you typed MSc instead of BSc.
Similarly when typing your grades.

In keeping with the Line Manager/Scientist/HR person who will be looking at your CV  ............. check things thoroughly!

The questions you don’t want to hear…

How to tackle those awkward or difficult questions.
You know what it’s like, the night before you go for an interview everyone starts to churn out their horror stories. Interviews where the interviewers fire impossible questions at the poor interviewee. Most of these are completely untrue, but it’s amazing how easily a question can throw you.
Open questions are the ones that provide the rope with which candidates can hang themselves. For example, the classic “What is your biggest weakness?” is an invitation to a)land yourself in it by admitting your addiction to “anything with Simon Cowell in it” and viewing his website during working hours, or b) give a bland answer that is forgotten before you’ve even stopped speaking. In this instance it’s best to concentrate on something that’s positive, like “I’m a perfectionist”, or “I demand a lot of my team”, or “I’m sometimes too focussed on meeting deadlines”…
But what other questions are sitting waiting for you, and how can you prepare for them?
Interviewers always know that you’ve either already finished or are about to finish your current employment and that there must be a reason for that – be it the end of a contract or a fall out with the boss, be prepared to talk about your past employment in a positive light. If it was your decision to move then be prepared to justify it.
Then there are the classics like…Why do you want this job? Why should we give you this job? What is it about you that’s right for this role? Here it’s worth having an answer ready based around the job description – treat this as their shopping list and show how you meet the main items.
Questions like “Where do you see yourself in five years time” need an honest answer – this one’s quite difficult to lie about. Perhaps speaking to your agency will help – at MAC Scientific we like to have an idea about a proposed career structure for our candidates and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t share this with the interviewer. If they’re hiring you for a temporary contract then don’t be afraid of saying that you have no intention of being in this country in five years time (if that's the case) – at least you are showing that you have ambition and goals.
Other questions where you have to imagine yourself in the role are an opportunity to show how enthusiastic you are about getting the job. When answering these it’s best to smile and say what you would like about certain situations.
Questions where you are asked to think on your feet, such as “Tell me about a current affairs item currently in the news that matters to you and why?” are asking you to do two things, firstly show you are adept and secondly provide an insight into what interests you, and how passionate you are about them. There’s not always a need to be serious and tackle a “heavy” issue in this type of question, but it’s a good idea to talk about something that you do care about, as this will show in your answer.
It’s important to remember that all questions are an opportunity for you to talk about why you are right for a role – keep that job description in mind, and the elements that you want to bring out in your CV, and bring them into you answers whenever possible. Then, come back with some prepared killer questions of your own…

Failing to prepare is…well, not sensible.

Preparation for an interview can set you aside from your competition…
One of the best ways to reduce interview nerves is by thoroughly preparing for your interview. But what should you prepare?
First things first – do you know where the interview is taking place? Do you know precisely when it’s taking place? Do you know how to get there? Do you know how to get there 10 minutes early? If you’re late, you’ll be even more nervous and will look ill-prepared.
Do you know who’s interviewing you – their name, their role, whether or not you’ll be working with them? Ask your agency for as much information as possible.
Do you have a copy of the job description? If possible you need to know this like the back of your hand – read it and work out what the key areas are that they’re looking for. Try to think of examples from your experience that illustrate how you can meet these requirements. Rehearse talking the interviewer through these. Are there key words within the description that you can bring out, or mention. Starting an answer to a question with “I noticed in the job description that…” shows that you have spent time preparing. Do not be afraid to take a copy of the job description with you and feel free to write notes on it.
Use your resources to research the company – have they appeared in the news lately (most newspapers have an archive search facility, for example How long have they been in business? Who are their major competitors? What are their strengths/weaknesses? Think of ways you can bring this knowledge in to the interview.
Think about the questions that they are likely to ask about your experience and rehearse how you would answer them – think of yourself as an object, how can you best sell this object?
Prepare some questions using your knowledge of the company. It may well be worth writing these down and referring to them in the interview – it ensures you won’t forget them and again shows that you are prepared.
Dress appropriately – the likelihood is that for a scientific job you should look smart, unless your agency tells you otherwise.
Think of a small-talk subject to start the interview off – you’ll probably be asked about your journey, so do you know anything about the area around the office, or have you been near here before? Remember to answer these initial questions in a friendly way, but don’t babble.
You are “selling” yourself – think about what sets you apart from your competition. Why should they employ you?
Remember that you have made it through to interview – lots of people haven’t and you should feel good about this. Try to use this to remain positive in the interview – be enthusiastic and shake hands firmly, but not too firmly, when you walk in. Smile…and try to enjoy it!

Saving money the easy way

Putting money into savings every month is a discipline and one that it takes some people quite a few years to get around to – you’ve worked hard to pay off your debts and are now in a situation where you actually have some cash left at the end of each month.

All too often, however, this money is not put to the best use.

Firstly, if you have money in any type of high interest account but do not have an ISA then you are giving money to the taxman. A number of cash ISA’s are available and every year you have an allowance for tax free savings – in other words you won’t have to pay any interest on money within that ISA. There are a number of instant access accounts, so you don’t need to worry about your money being trapped.

The next stage is to make sure you’re getting the best possible return on your money – and be careful of introductory offers. Some accounts offer a high percentage for the first six months, or on the first couple of thousand in the account – be careful with these, unless you are disciplined enough to move the money after the special offer period.

Take a look at some regular savings accounts – these are often not included in the “top percentage” tables found in the Sunday Papers, as they operate on a strict basis. With this type of account, as the name suggests, savers have to save a specific amount each month – if you miss a month then you will not get the high rate of saving. Some accounts offer a relatively normal percentage for the majority of the year and then on the anniversary of the account pay a bonus percentage on the year as long as all criteria have been met (normally something like money not being taken out, or specific monthly payments going in). If you can be disciplined enough to make sure you make those regular payments then this could be the ideal account for you – read the small print carefully though.

And finally…normal savings accounts. If your account is not giving you the highest percentage then consider moving it. It may be worth looking at offsetting your savings against your mortgage. The Sunday Papers or various financial websites will give you the league of the best payers – loyalty to your existing provider is misplaced, you should be making as much of your savings as you possibly can. Afterall, you earned it!