Worst Top Ten Candidate Excuses

Cast UK are excited to be nearing our 10th birthday in May this year & to celebrate we have decided to produce a series of blogs around the number “10”.

Our first showcases some of the worst / best or most unusual candidate excuses we’ve had over the last ten years to get out of an interview. Some of them we hear time & time again, while others are somewhat less common!

10.The most common excuse used is that “I’ve had a car accident on the way to the interview.”

9. Candidate calls to say “I’m not taking the job at ____” after watching the Panorama exposé the previous night.

8. A candidate called to say he couldn’t attend his interview after a member of his family was beaten up.

7. Someone once turned up 23 hours early. He was a day early and even if he had got the date right, he would have been an hour late!

6. A candidate went AWOL when he should have attended an interview. He then sent us a ‘selfie’ from his hospital bed hooked up to oxygen.

5. A candidate who used the same excuse twice, which was that his mother had died – 6 months apart.

4. Someone emailed in: “Apologies for the late notice. I’m going to be unable to attend today. There was an issue at my wedding involving others and I have to go back to my home town to make a statement. Please apologise on my behalf.”

3. We had a candidate start a job then after two weeks go missing in action. When we finally tracked him down we found out that he had not quit his last job but instead simply taken two weeks holiday to test out the new role!

2. Someone we’d put forward for an international role, called in the night before the interview to confess he’s afraid of flying….

1. Foreign language speaking role: One of our candidates calls the day before to explain they think they have forgotten the language, despite having originally been a native speaker!

Are your Procurement Skills transferable?

If you have worked within a procurement or buying environment, you have probably worked alongside people with quite a diverse set of backgrounds. So why is it, when you see a job advertised it will usually ask for experience in the same industry?

Generally speaking there appears to be two main schools of thought regarding the relevance of industry experience when it comes to securing that next challenge.

“If I can buy helicopter parts I can buy cake ingredients.”
The first school of thought is simple: procurement is a process of finding the best value source of a material or service. It doesn’t matter what that material or service is, just that you know how to run the process surrounding it. Some would argue that it doesn’t matter if that material is steel from China or pineapples from the Caribbean, because at the end of the day you are buying X of Y for Z and are pineapples and steel really so different?

The advantages of this argument are that by moving into a new environment you can discover a whole new way of approaching your procurement strategy, taking on brand new challenges and diversifying your skill set (and who doesn’t want that?). From the employer’s point of view, adding somebody with a different set of experiences and background to their team adds a fresh perspective and can produce unexpected and exciting results.

On the other hand, sometimes the leap can be too far. The culture might be completely different within a different industry and maybe moving from Cake Inc. to Jet Fighter Corp wasn’t the best decision for you!

“If they haven’t worked in automotive they wouldn’t fit with us.”
The second school of thought is the polar opposite. There are plenty of people who believe that unless you have had direct experience in a particular sector that you won’t have the knowledge or understanding of the product or processes necessary to make an impact.

Something I’ve often seen is engineers or other workers on the production side moving into purchasing, where their depth of understanding of all the different materials, machinery and processes gives them a huge edge when dealing with suppliers.

The advantage to this approach is that you are getting a like for like fit: you know as a candidate that the area you are going into is familiar and that you can and will achieve results. From the employer’s point of view it is far less risky to hire somebody that you know has worked in the same sector and can hit the ground running.

The only obvious disadvantage here is that you are dramatically shrinking the pool of positions you can apply for and who knows, that job within the steel industry might be a great fit for you, despite your Caribbean pineapple exploits.

Best of Both?
Personally, I think that the best approach varies massively depending on the environment you are going into. If the company is quite small and only has one buyer then it would probably be best to make sure that that the potential candidate understands the industry! If, however, there is a large procurement team, wouldn’t it make sense to have a whole range of backgrounds and experience to make sure that you are covering every possible angle? My approach as a recruiter is to get to the heart of what the client needs from a candidate and, although often they may be convinced it has to be someone from the same industry, they will usually be more responsive to the idea once I’ve explained why!

What do you think?
I’d be really interested in hearing your thoughts on this! I’ve recently had some very interesting conversations with hiring managers as to why a guy working in the dairy industry could be relevant to an automotive business.

Which side of the fence you are on; are steel and pineapples interchangeable, or do you have to have to come from the same industry background?


As I turn my attention to the world of interim recruitment, I wanted to share some advice regarding CVs that I have learned over the last 8 years of working in recruitment.

People spend hours preparing CVs and what you are about to read probably doesn’t meet your expectations about how clients review them.


Firstly, you should think of your CV as a marketing tool and not necessarily an information provider!

Hiring managers and recruiters generally scan in an “F” pattern when speed reading CV’s, which generally means that text isn’t read thoroughly. Recent research from the job search site TheLadders shows that we only spend 6.25 seconds looking at a CV before deciding whether the candidate should be considered for the role. The study also showed that 80% of the six seconds is spent looking at just six things;

  • Name
  • Current Title/company
  • Pervious Title/company
  • Previous position, start and end dates
  • Current position, start and end dates

The other 20% is spent looking for keywords that are relevant to the job that is being recruited! As harsh as it sounds, I have to agree with the research.

It’s all very well telling you that we read in an “F” Pattern, but how can you use this to your advantage? Here are a few tips that will encourage the reader to review your CV in more detail.

Tip 1:

Firstly, give the reader all the above information that they are seeking at in a condensed format for each job, for example:

Macro Tak Limited       LOGISTICS DIRECTOR August 2013 to March 2015

Macro Tak Limited is a major supplier of dispense equipment for the beer and soft drinks industry.

If you then set it out as I’ve done below, then it gives the reader everything they need by scanning down the left:

Macro Tak Limited

August 2013 to March 2015

Logistics Director

Macro Tak Limited is a major supplier of dispense equipment for the beer and soft drinks industry.

Tip 2:

The second bit of advice that is always well received is relevant to the ‘summary’ of the company you work for. Taking the example above, I can bet that you said to yourself “I don’t know that company” (probably because I just made it up). Micro Tak may be a high flying company but by the very fact that you don’t know them, it makes your perception more negative rather than positive. Expand on this summary to give a “macro to micro” view highlighting company turnover, stating reach (national/international/global), their most recognised product/type, sectors and finally the names of your most prestigious or well-known customers. By referencing these you are creating commonality and increasing credibility of your company because the reader can now connect the dots by association:

Macro Tak Limited

August 2013 to March 2015

Logistics Director

Macro Tak Limited is a major supplier of dispense equipment for the beer and soft drinks industry for customers such as Coca Cola, SAB Miller, Heineken and Diageo.

Notice how those commonly recognisable names conjure up affirmative feelings……this is the power of associated marketing!

Tip 3:

So, you’ve got your headings and summary right, what information do you put in the body? Many of your responsibilities will be alluded to by your job title and company, so don’t regurgitate your job description unless you can quantify it and it is something worth bragging about i.e. holding accountability for an £8m budget.

Do take the time to quantify your achievements; this might not be something that you do on a regular basis in your current role but for candidates in the Purchasing and Buying, Logistics and Supply Chain fields it is a worthwhile exercise, focusing on cost, service and accuracy improvements. Think about the performance level before and after you introduced any changes:

“Implemented lean/agile management disciplines in order to significantly improve Stock Record Accuracy from 91 to 99.9%”

Tip 4:

Don’t separate achievements sections at the top of your CV because as we already know, the hiring manager or recruiter is going to look at who you work for, what your job title is now and how long you have been there for. Therefore, if your achievements section has been positioned above this then it is highly unlikely that the reader will double back to find it.

6.25 seconds is such a short time to make an impact, but if you have a crisp and clearly laid out CV with the most relevant information in the right places, then you stand a much better chance of someone reading through the rest of your excellent resumé!

Cast UK launch “Workout Wednesdays”

We are pleased to announce that we have launched a new health initiative to help everyone in our business lead a more active & healthier lifestyle.
As of this week, we are now offering our team Insanity-style workout sessions every Wednesday morning in our on-site gym run by our very own personal trainer Tony! Starting at 8am we are running the free weekly sessions in an attempt to help our teams improve their cardiovascular fitness and boost the start to their day by having a team workout.

In addition to offering the sessions, Wayne Brophy confirmed that everyone taking part will be able to start work ½ hour later than usual to allow time to shower & get ready for their working day. Wayne commented “We are really excited to be launching this new Workout Wednesday initiative, as we feel that anything we can do to help improve peoples’ fitness can only be a good thing.”

Alongside “Workout Wednesdays”, we are also offering free fruit & decaffeinated tea to offset the slightly less healthy honesty chocolate and snack box we have had in our office for a long time.

Tony summed it all up “It’s a really great way to start your day with a high-tempo workout. It gets the blood flowing & really motivates everyone to start the day in an energised state of mind.”

Judging by the red faces of those taking part afterwards, it certainly looks as though Tony is not going to cut anyone any slack!

Does the path ahead excite you?

Have you started a career in supply chain, purchasing, buying, merchandising or logistics? Does the career path you have in front of you excite you? If not, read on….

Working forms a large part of our lives. We spend nearly as much time at work as we do with our loved ones. Therefore, why do many of us find ourselves in jobs that we do not truly enjoy?

I started my career for a global food manufacturing business. I joined the company working on a placement year from university before being offered a permanent role once I had finished my course. Progression opportunities were available and I moved quickly through 3 promotions within the supply chain team becoming a Supply Manager. I learned an awful lot working in supply chain and I (kind of) enjoyed the job but was it getting the best out of me? I thrive on meeting people, building relationships and interaction. This was a small part of my role as a supply manager but not enough of it. As I only had experience of working for one company, I didn’t have anything to compare it to. A change in my personal circumstances meant I was relocating back to Manchester. Naturally, I met with a specialist supply chain recruitment business that had come highly recommended, Cast UK. On describing my frustrations with the role as well as the parts I enjoyed to the consultant, it became apparent that another supply chain position would not alleviate any of these frustrations. The trouble was, all of my experience was in supply chain and it felt like I would be wasting all of this experience if I did not progress with this career. 

The next part of the conversation was pivotal for me in the development of my career. The consultant I was dealing with talked to me about two supply chain roles. He also suggested supply chain recruitment as potentially a good option for me. It was something I had never considered before but he provided me lots of information, both the good and the not so good, about what the role entailed. The more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be a good move for me. I quickly forgot about the two supply chain roles and all my focus was on the recruitment position. I next met with Cast UK’s MD, Wayne Brophy, and following this meeting, I was completely sold on recruitment. I was just hoping I had done enough to impress. My sister in law is an HR Manager and she had tried to put me off with horror stories she has had dealing with recruitment consultants. With recruitment consultants seemingly having such a bad reputation, I genuinely thought this would be a great opportunity to make a difference simply by treating people as you expect to be treated yourself. I really believed what Wayne told me about Cast UK doing things differently from the standard recruitment businesses that give the rest of the industry a bad reputation. Eight years later, I am still here and what he told me remains true. It has been a great opportunity for me to use the experience gained in supply chain in a completely different environment that is more fitting with my natural style. Working in a growing business has been great for me as there are always opportunities to progress your career and take on extra responsibility.

Recruitment is certainly not for everyone, there are lots of highs and lows. I admire supply chain and purchasing professionals. I deal with many senior candidates and clients on a daily basis who have had much more successful careers than I would have had staying in supply chain. They thoroughly enjoy the roles they are doing. For those of you like that, it seems you are in the right career. Hopefully we can help you to progress this career further. For those of you who are ambitious but don’t see the rest of your career working in supply chain, purchasing, logistics, buying or merchandising, could recruitment be a good option for you too? Financially, it can be a rewarding career but for those who say being money motivated is one of the most important things for a recruitment consultant, I have to disagree. From my experience, those who are motivated by customer service, being the best you can possibly be and doing a great job for your candidates and clients, the rewards will follow. And there are lots of rewards on offer – significant bonuses, holidays, weekends away, premier league football, champions league football in Europe, trips to the races. I could go on.

Here at Cast UK, our preferred internal recruitment method is recruiting people who have experience within our specialist areas (supply chain, procurement, logistics, buying, merchandising) as well as having a passion for success. This enables you to understand the roles we recruit from an early stage and establish your credibility with both candidates and clients. In my current role leading our supply chain and buying team across the FMCG and retail sector, I am looking for people with a desire to achieve and make a real difference. If the above story resonates with you and you would like to have a chat about a career in recruitment, please get in touch.

Peter Hobson, Managing Consultant

E: peterhobson@castuk.com

T: 0161 825 0825

Cast UK welcomes two new consultants to its Manchester office

We are happy to announce that we have strengthened our team with two new appointments to our Manchester office.

The new starters, Tony Zyda and Connor Blankley, have joined Cast UK’s Training Academy and will be working in the Logistics sector.

With extensive experience working here in the UK and overseas, Tony Zyda is a former Logistical Operations and Warehouse Manager, with 22 years military experience in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.

Connor Blankley comes to Cast UK from a recruitment background, with a passion for the industry already established. He joins the Logistics South team, led by Gary Robinson, to work with clients throughout the South West.

Commenting on his experience of the Cast UK Training Academy, Tony said: “It’s great to be part of an ambitious team who are sector specialists. Having been a candidate in the past, I have been on the receiving end of poor service from other agencies. With my logistics background, and great support from my team leader, Gary, I am really excited about my new career and providing excellent recruitment services at Cast UK’s high standards.”

Connor added “I joined Cast UK because the career opportunities & progression available here are clearly mapped out & attainable. So far I have really enjoyed the in-house training programme. We are covering each topic in depth, with input from team managers & senior consultants, ensuring that we get maximum benefit from peoples’ skills and personal insights gained over years of experience.”

Wayne Brophy, managing director of Cast UK, added: “Having recently moved into our new larger offices at the end of 2014, we are really happy to be expanding our teams through our Training Academy.

We recognise the importance of providing an environment that both supports and challenges ambitious employees embarking on their career with us. We welcome the opportunity to work with Tony & Connor, developing their skills and careers within the recruitment sector.”

Cast UK Christmas Message

If you are anything like us, no doubt you are shocked to find that Christmas is only a few days away & 2015 looms on the horizon….

Perhaps the reason the holidays have crept up on us so quickly this year is that 2014 has been a busy one for everyone and Cast UK is no exception.

With the upturn in the economy our clients have been relentlessly recruiting the best talent out there & we have been running to keep up!

In addition, 2014 has been a year of self-reflection here at Cast UK, as we look within to develop our strengths. Indeed, in the first half of the year we undertook & completed the Government’s Growth Accelerator Scheme, resulting in a new 3 year growth plan which we have been busy implementing ever since! Currently we are recovering from our big office move two weeks ago and finally the new “Orange Towers” is starting to feel a little more like home.

So far the numbers are looking good: Turnover has doubled along with our office space, 8 new recruits have been through our Training Academy, 40 new all-singing-&-dancing phone handsets have been installed along with the new cloud phone system and we have added another two recruitment teams. All-in-all, we are proud of our progress but we won’t be standing still any time soon!

Our relationships with our existing clients have been further reinforced as we have been busy recruiting talent for them. This has helped Cast UK secure several national sole supplier agreements with large organisations plus we have added over forty new clients that we have never worked with before to our ever growing portfolio of happy customers.

We are all optimistic about what 2015 will bring. We think this will be our best year yet plus it is our 10th Year Anniversary as a business so big celebrations are being planned.

Before 2015 commences though, we are going to take a little breath, relax, enjoy a Christmas drink (or two) at the office party & raise a toast, to you, & us for the year head.

Wishing you & your family, the very best Christmas & a fantastic and productive 2015.

Wayne Brophy

Managing Director

Cast UK teams up with JD Sports for festive charity raffle

We are delighted to have teamed up with our client, JD Sports, to offer an epic opportunity to see The Who live in concert at Manchester’s Phones4U Arena this coming weekend, as part of the leading sports fashion retailer’s festive ’Guess Who…..?’ competition.

The tickets are a donation from Cast UK and will see two lucky winners enjoy the opportunity to look back on 50 years of the legendary band as Roger Daltry, Pete Townsend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon perform their greatest hits to a packed arena.

The competition is open to all colleagues at the Kingsway Distribution Centre and the winners and runners up were selected on Wednesday 10th December. The competition will raise funds for JD Sports’ official charity, The Christie – Europe’s largest cancer centre, treating more than 40,000 patients each year.

Wayne Brophy, Managing Director of leading recruitment company, Cast UK, said: “As a charity that is close to our hearts, we wanted to contribute to the competition and thought this would be a prize to remember. Not only will it be a once-in-a-lifetime gig, but we hope it goes some way to raise valuable funding for such a worthy charity.”

Karen Owen, from JD Sports, added: “It’s great to see the Cast UK team get involved with one of our annual Christmas activities again this year. We’ve taken advantage of the theme and introduced a ‘Guess Who?’ picture quiz to inject some fun into the DC during this busy time. It is great that we can also support a fantastic charity whilst doing so.”


Cast UK are pleased to announce we have been appointed the sole recruiter for professional level logistics personnel at Abbey Logistics. Abbey Logistics Group employ over 250 employees & in June this year they acquired most of the assets and customer base relating to the Bulk Powder transport business of Seafield Logistics Limited.

Gareth Steggles, Cast UK’s Logistics North manager said “We are elated to have secured this agreement with Abbey to service all their professional level logistics roles. We have worked with them now for some time & this is the next logical step in our relationship. Our close working partnership means we have a great insight into their culture, and this agreement allows us to have better visibility of Abbey’s requirements as they expand, ensuring we can proactively recruit the best people on their behalf.”

Steve Granite, Managing Director of ALG commented “Abbey recognises that the increased demand for excellent logistics candidates in the UK means we need to work hard to attract the best talent in the industry to maintain a top level of service for our Blue Chip clientele. We are confident that Cast UK can provide us with candidates that have the right knowledge and experience to allow us to continue our expansion going forward.”

Abbey Logistics are aware that the much published skills gap in the logistics industry will continue to cause problems in the short to medium term, hence the creation by Steve Granite of the “Think Logistics” scheme which has been set up to encourage 16 – 24 year olds to consider careers in the logistics industry.

Safety is in Speed when Landing the Best Candidates


Time is of the essence

“In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed.” So said Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th century, proving he knew as much about human nature as he did about the physics of mass and gravity. It’s a call for measured progress to stop caution turning into inaction. And you guessed it, it applies to the current  recruitment climate too, which is thawing fast.

In 2014 Skills for Logistics published its Logistics Employer Skills Survey 2013. Its message of optimism about the near and medium-term future of logistics recruitment (half a million new jobs by 2019) was tempered by a warning that too many companies are still in a recession mindset when it comes to planning for new logistics managers and executives. In short, they are leaving it till the last minute.

At Cast UK, we’re forever advising our clients to get the ball rolling as soon as possible after the need for recruitment becomes obvious – in fact, we suggest that it should never stop.  Just as important is ensuring your recruitment process is as efficient and speedy as possible. The Skills for Logistics published Logistics Employer Skills Survey reported that 57% of companies surveyed have lost potential candidates due to the length of the recruitment process.

Here’s our list of top tips for reducing your process timescales to secure the best talent for your team:

  1. Think long-term. Economies always have their ups and downs, as do individual sectors. But waiting for the ups before going recruiting will lead to disappointment. Planning ahead is essential if you’re to hit the ice speeding.
  2. Keep the interview process nimble. A two-stage process should happen quickly for you and for the candidate to maintain focus and enthusiasm. Block-book interviewers so the gap between the first filter interview and the final one is as short as possible.
  3. Don’t waste time on the maybes. If you’re not sure about someone’s CV, it’s unlikely the candidate will suddenly become the runaway favourite after interview 1. Be brutal, follow your instincts and only interview the ones you’re genuinely tossing up between.
  4. Outsource your recruitment. OK, we would say that, wouldn’t we? But think about all the other companies you hire to supply critical parts of your business, from its fuel to its IT infrastructure. Recruitment is a distinct skill with techniques and expertise that don’t necessarily come naturally to all employers. Outsourcing it brings in the best practices – and the best candidates.
  5. Form a real relationship with the recruiter. Let them in, let them see how you operate, and you’ll probably find your recruiter will be your most valuable partner, identifying potential talent long before you’d considered taking someone on.
  6. Don’t lose your focus on your internal assets. For every experienced new recruit there’s a company somewhere that’s lost an employee. If you’re experiencing a high turnover of staff, it could be that you’re not paying enough attention to their career development. A good retention and talent management scheme will make staff feel vital to your company and can increase the chances of your finding the next manager or executive from within.

You might not be looking for anyone right this moment, but that’s no reason not to get the groundwork under way. Follow the six steps above and when the time comes you’ll already have a plan in place to land the best managers and executives.

Don’t wait till you can hear the ice cracking under your feet – keep moving and feel the benefits.