Read our interview with Lee Clark, lead technical recruiter at LR Senergy.
- With so many applicants for 1 role, what advice would you give to a candidate to ensure they stand out?
First of all, ensure they are applying for the correct role to either match their skillset or outline why they are applying for that position if that role is out-with their usual remit. Unfortunately at the moment with the high number of applicants, candidates are standing out for the wrong reasons with applying for totally unsuitable positions, or without reading/understanding what the role actually entails.
*Stand-out for the right reasons.
- What research do you recommend a candidate undertakes before applying for a role?
Read the Job Description/advert thoroughly and understand the position you are applying for, plus also the company you are applying too. Do you know someone that works in that company? Referrals go a very long way in this day & age, so always best to sound out people you know and what better way to find out about a company than asking a current employee?
*Even a little bit of research can go a long way.
- When you look at a CV what are the first 3 things you consider?
Initially I would always look at a CV against the criteria I have for the role. In regard to other things considered, this changes with the position in question and unfortunately there are not really 3 key common denominators I would stick to. Some people would say spelling, grammar and lay-out of a CV, but after review, if you have a CV that is maybe not the best aesthetically, but technically it is a match, would you discount it? One other would be to use key words instead of abbreviations, as not all use the same or correct abbreviations when explaining skills and experience.
*Do not always judge a CV by first impressions.
- Are there any particular questions you always like to ask a candidate?
I suppose the first one would be ‘Why have you applied for this role? It always needs to be an ‘open’ question as situations differ. Each candidate has their own reason for applying for a position, may it be them being out of work, career development or the desire to work for your company & what they can offer, so you need to establish the reasons behind the application.
*Every application has a reason, so establish it and discuss.
- What is your opinion on length of CV? Is there an ‘optimum’ length and style CV a candidate should be aiming for?
A CV should not read like War & Peace, but you have to ensure you include all relevant information. If your work history goes back quite a long way, then just include a section of it and add ‘further work history upon request’ or another option is to use more CV space to explain your most recent and relevant positions and the further you go back, just add the company, role & dates with no details. Always ensure the important information is at the beginning of your CV, such as: Profile, Contact Details, Education, Most Recent Employment & Experience. Most applications are made on more recent experience, so understand that positions from years ago, may not be required. Another is to use the page space available to you, do not tab across too much and waste valuable space. If your CV is 10 or 12 pages long, most Recruiters/Line Managers will not look that far down or start to lose interest.
*Make maximum impact at the beginning of your CV and maximise the page space.
- What would you recommend candidates avoid including on their CV?
Never copy & paste your job description into your CV. We want to know the details of what you did and how you grew in that role, plus any achievements you accomplished whilst undertaking it, not read the remit you were given at the start of the position.
*Sell yourself & achievements, not your job description.
- How much do you value a social profile, particularly Facebook when considering a candidate?
I value social media very highly when it comes to recruitment, but use professional networking sites and must admit I do not look for anyone on Facebook for professional reasons. It has been well documented about companies looking up potential employees on Facebook, only to notice disturbing pictures/statuses or actions which can then be detrimental to any application. Be careful what you post online!
*Your Social Media footprint is very hard to erase.
- The UK government recently delivered tax breaks to the North Sea O&G industry, what impact, if any, do you think these will have?
My personal opinion is that these tax breaks will not have much impact in the North Sea Oil & Gas Industry. These actions seem to be miss-directed and too late. The industry required assistance with exploration, not just production and they seem to keep missing the boat. With 10’s of thousands of jobs already lost, whatever is offered by the UK Government, will not make much of an impact on these numbers re-gaining work within the UK O&G sector. Previous to the down-turn, we were already in a situation of a large skills gap in the industry and this is now only made worse with a lot of Graduates looking for future prospects, but with little exploration activity planned, having to look at other avenues out-with the industry.
*We should be planning for the future and not just for the now.
- How has LR Senergy adapted to the changes in the Oil and Gas market over the last 18 months?
LR Senergy as with all O&G companies has had a tough 18 months. We were bought by LR (Lloyds Register) back in 2014 and this purchase was escalated in 2015, which showed what commitment LR had to LR Senergy and the O&G market. I won’t say it has been easy, but we are tackling each challenge as it comes. We also have exciting times ahead with being fully integrated with LR which is ongoing, but has already increased what we can offer to the market.
*We are not going anywhere except forward.
- What is your opinion on the current oil and gas market and outlook for 2016?
This is a difficult one and I wish I had a crystal ball. We have already seen ups & downs in 2016, with the oil price making a light gain over a three (3) month period. However, this is very temperamental OPEC members/non-OPEC members decisions and will continue to fluctuate on their public statements. Quite a few companies will be going through budget preparation for 2016/17 at the moment, so the next couple of months will be very interesting to monitor and see what comes of this, but with very little exploration projects lined-up for 2016, I think the focus will now shift to a possible resurgence in 2017.
*Two steps forward, one step back.
- Are there any particular sub sectors within oil and gas that you see are likely to recover and grow quicker?
I think the main sub sector to continue or come back quicker would be production. Output in the UK Continental shelf bucked the trend in 2015 with an increase of between 7%-8% compared to the previous year. Although this could also been seen to be the result of investment decisions made previous to the downturn, with the tax breaks offered by the UK Government, this can only assist in output increasing through 2016. 2017 onwards though, may be a different story, but only time will tell.
*Grab any gain with both hands.
- What are your thoughts on candidates wanting to make the transition from oil and gas into other industry sectors?
My current thoughts are that O&G candidates may not have any other option but to look at other sectors. If they have transferable skills, then why not? Not all industry sectors are as volatile as the O&G sector, so if someone is looking for some kind of stability over the coming years, then this is probably the correct decision. I can also see how others sectors may interpret the transition though and need to ask candidates to right questions to ensure they are not just being used as a stop-gap until the O&G industry hopefully bounces back and then leaves them high and dry for the future.
*Make the transition for the right reason.
- What are you highlights working at LR Senergy?
When I was working for Recruitment Agencies, I found great pleasure in filling a position and exceeding my clients initial expectations, but you never got to see the impact that the placement made on a particular project or company. Here at LR Senergy, I make permanent or associate placement where you can see exactly where they will fit into the team or join a specific project to achieve the project outline. It gives you great satisfaction when a project goes well and you can see or gain feedback that someone placed (or multiple people when a project) have contributed to the successful delivery of that project.
*It’s all about reputation
- How important do you think employer brand is when recruiting?
Employer branding is extremely important in attracting the best and future talent to join you over direct competition or other companies/industries. Companies need to ensure that they are engaging with potential employees or clients and not just pushing out information all the time. At LR Senergy we are currently piloting a Employee Advocacy Programme (EAP) where our employees create, post and share relevant articles/guides which does not just heighten LR Senergy’s company branding but also highlights the current skillsets we already have employed whilst increasing employees social media presence.
*Don’t just brand you products, make your employees brand ambassadors.
- Finally what would be your single recommendation to a candidate looking to break into the oil and gas industry?
The industry will continue to need ‘new blood’ filtering into the market. As mentioned previously, there has always been a requirement to fill the industry skills gap, so do not give up hope. Target specific companies which work within your skillset or the sector you wish to work in. Do not make generic applications, find out who your point of contact should be and try to gain a professional relationship with them. There are also networking groups you can join to make contacts and which can offer advice & support such as Aberdeen Young Professionals (AYP) & Aberdeen Business Network (ABN), plus plenty of social media groups. It may take a bit longer at the moment, but opportunities do exist.
*Make connections, for now and the future.
Lee Clark is currently a technical recruiter with LR Senergy based in Aberdeen and covers Well Operations, Well Engineering, Survey & Geoengineering, QHSE, IS and Board positions on a Global basis. He has 12 years recruitment & executive search experience, with over 8 of these recruiting in a technical capacity for the Oil & Gas Industry.
Link to LR Senergy’s Careers site: http://www.lr-senergy.com/careers
LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lee-clark-mirp-certrp-75490b14