Blog

Bluestones One on talent attraction in retail merchandising

What is behind the success of retailers’ merchandising? We spoke with the Bluestones One Retail Merchandising team, Gary White, Gary Lowe and Ashley Jewitt, about attracting the right talent to the teams who work day and night to ensure the country’s shops are ready and why it is an exciting career.

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The difference between an inbound and outbound sales advisor

While many people might believe that inbound and outbound sales jobs fall into the same category, the truth is there are many differences between the responsibilities and tasks taken on by an inbound and outbound sales advisor.

Both roles do have a lot of crossovers – individuals working in inbound or outbound sales advisor positions share many of the same skill sets that are necessary to be successful in the job.

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Bluestones One on the driver shortage

The UK continues to face a driver shortage, with the deficit staked at between 45,000 – 50,000 HGV drivers this year alone. So, we spoke with Warrington’s Regional Operations Manager, Martin Bispham, to find out his thoughts on the driver shortage and what needs to be done to combat it.

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Productivity in the UK: What can be done?

Productivity, as measured by the amount of work produced per working hour, is the main driver of long-term economic growth and higher living standards. However, in the UK productivity remains below the average pre-crisis growth rate of 2%, with the country still lagging behind most of continental Europe at about 16.3% below average.

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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.

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.

What’s the deal with pop-up shops?

The pop-up shop is here to stay – first brought into the public’s conscience in the noughties, pop-ups aren’t a throwaway concept but a key part of a retailers’ core strategy. It isn’t just large international companies that flock to the high street with temporary stores, independent retailers and start-ups all see the benefit of “here today, gone tomorrow” shops.

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Why it’s important to keep your CV up to date

Keeping your CV up to date on a regular basis, is it worth it? It can be tempting to forget about your CV once you’ve secured a new position or have been happily in your job for a couple of years – allowing it to accumulate virtual dust in the depths of your PC’s files or very real dust in the back of your drawer – but even if you’re not searching for a new position there are some very good reasons why you should keep your CV up to date.

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How shoppers are influenced by retail

With the advent of online shopping, it can be easy to believe that the high street isn’t important anymore – but in-store experiences far outweigh the digital world when it comes to influencing shoppers and increasing basket size. By using the psychology of smell, sight, touch and sound retailers have found they can positively affect how shoppers perceive a store’s product offering.

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How to prepare for your Driver CPC training

It’s an inevitable part of being a professional driver – as of 2015, all commercial drivers on the road are expected to have a valid Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC), which has to be kept up-to-date with periodic training every 5 years.

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