All posts by aharley

Is the high street hotting up?

Who said the high street was dead? With soaring temperatures in the UK, the public is shunning their computers and phones and heading to the Great British high street to part with their hard-earned cash.

According to the latest CBI Distributive Trades Survey, 32% of retailers said that sales volumes were up in July than compared to a year ago and 13% said they had to place more orders with suppliers as a result. A combination of the unusually nice weather (does this weather even belong in the UK?) and World Cup fever have been thanked for the boost in high street sales this July, which also saw 45% of motor traders report that sales volumes were up compared to this time last year (convertible anyone?).

These figures should be seen as a huge positive for the high street, especially following the results from the survey campaign #WDYT (What do you think?) which found consumers want more and better shops available to them. The survey, which was completed by 300,000 people, found that 78% of respondents worry about the high street and 70% are concerned about shops closing – proving that the public still back “popping into town” to do their shopping.

All the positives do come with negatives though – in the same CBI Survey, retailers reported that they expect sales to slow again in August and orders to flatten out. With subdued real wage growth, households are still feeling the financial pinch and retailers are still battling with the reduced costs online retailers are able to offer.

Along with the Government’s inquiry into high streets and town centres 2030 to examine how local areas are planning for the future of their high streets, this month’s results should be seen as a step in the right direction to securing the future of the British high street.

Bluestones One supports fundraiser for Jeanie-May

We regularly try to support local and national charities and fundraisers, but the one we’re recently supporting is much closer to home.

Read more

Top interview questions for professional drivers

Job interviews – something everyone has experienced at least once in their lives. It’s no different for professional drivers, especially those working contract roles who might end up attending several interviews a year.

If you’re yet to have your first interview as a professional driver, it can be daunting to know what to expect and if it will be dramatically different to any interview you’ve attended before. Many companies require their prospective employees to undergo a practical assessment to ensure they are technically capable, but what about the formal interview?

Here are some of the most common questions you can expect at an interview as a professional driver – whether that’s tramping up and down the country, making deliveries in a 7.5 tonne or nipping around the city in a van.

Tell us about your experience as a professional driver?

This is a standard question that most companies will ask. It is your opportunity to tell them about your past roles in more detail and give them more information you couldn’t cover in your CV.

What do you think the primary roles of a professional driver are?

The employer wants to make sure you understand that the role of a driver isn’t just driving. There are so many things a driver is also responsible for, like providing outstanding customer service, ensuring they are sticking to health and safety rules, maintaining the vehicle and keeping paperwork up to date.

What do you know about the company?

With this question, the company is checking to see if you’ve done your research and are passionate about the role you are pursuing.
What would you do if you were running out of driving hours but hadn’t finished a job?

The company want to see how well you are able to assess a situation – whether you’re running out of driving hours because of a traffic jam, slow-moving vehicles or hold-ups at a distribution centre – while ensuring you’re staying within the law and taking breaks when you need them.

Do you think teamwork is important in this industry?

While traditionally seen as a bit of a lonely job, employers want to see that as a driver you understand you are part of something much bigger and will be interacting with a wide range people from distribution centre managers, operations staff, other drivers and the public.

How do you handle unexpected instances? Like mechanical breakdowns or receiving the wrong load?

The company want to see how quickly you can think on your feet while remaining calm and finding a suitable solution to a problem.

How familiar are you with drivers’ hours and the European working time directive?

The company wants to make sure you know the laws that affect professional drivers throughout the UK and Europe and understand the importance of following them.

If you’re looking for a new driving role, check out our latest jobs or get in contact with the team.