If you’re like me, your experience of being part of a podcast is or was slim to none. I’ve listened to many over the years, and of course was a die-hard Rogan fan! But listening to and creating a podcast are two very different things.

As a company we had been toying with the idea of creating a podcast to reach our audience and convey the messages and information we believed would greatly benefit both our candidates and clients. We had tried many different mediums, such as Social Media and writing articles before we landed on Podcasting.

Our issue was the depth of information we were trying to impart through mediums that just could not support it. They made the information difficult to digest. Podcasting seemed like the perfect solution to this and our MD Toni agreed, so we got the green light to move forward.

Our mission was to create a resource that would both inform and inspire our candidates and those who are currently seeking new opportunities in the market.

We wanted our podcast to leave the listener with everything they would need to know as they began their journey to land a new job, sharing our own knowledge and experience as recruitment specialists as well as some coveted inside information and our very own Tru Talent ‘Pro Tips’.

We felt that showcasing some of our own individual characters and company culture as a whole would help people become familiar with us, before deciding whether we were the right people to engage with for their Recruitment journey.

Knowing what we wanted to accomplish, and the medium we wanted to use to accomplish it, our greatest challenge was how do we actually do it? How do we begin? How do we make something great and ultimately how do we create a podcast that ads value as well as entertainment to the listener?

This was originally where our mission came to a grinding halt!

We dived into some research and quickly became overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things we needed, from obtaining the correct microphones & equipment, to the best software we should be editing with and the semantics of how it should ‘flow’ and ‘feel’ to give the listener the best possible experience.

We were surprised at the amount of contradicting information out there, and just couldn’t see the wood from the trees leaving us no idea how to proceed….

‘Enter stage left’… Podcast Labs.

Just when our Podcast dream seemed like it was becoming an ever growing nightmare, we were introduced to the team at Podcast Labs.

I have to be honest here, we didn’t really understand everything that podcast labs did at this point and how exactly they could support us in our creation, however, this soon changed.

We shared our idea with them and quickly discovered Podcast Labs knew their stuff, and shared the same value and importance as us on what and how they create, and what they are willing to put their name to. This gave us a tremendous amount of confidence in the team from the very outset.

From the finite technical aspects of mics, Software, and Editing to the Marketing and gaining the necessary exposure, the team excellently supported us. They very quickly outlined everything they could do to help us create an excellent high quality podcast, launch it with a bang, and continue to market it so that it got the exposure it needed.

So, we decided to take the leap and begin our journey with the Podcast Labs team to create our first Tru Talent podcast series…

To say it was a lot of fun is an understatement, however, we were blown away with the finished product. I can speak for the whole team now when I say we created something we were very proud of and that we believe will greatly benefit our candidates and clients alike.

I’m sure this will be the first of many Tru Talent podcast series to come as we continue to strive to discover and utilise the most powerful tools to connect, inform and inspire our candidates and clients.

To listen to our Tru Talent Podcast, you can find us on…

Our Podcast Website page… https://tru-talent.co.uk/the-job-whisperer-podcast/


We are touching lightly upon A.I again this month, but this time from a hiring perspective. This is because it works so well alongside our hot topic of the month here at RISE which has been (other than why is it ACTUALLY so hot we can’t sleep / eat / breathe) :  What a good candidate looks like!

A recently published Article suggested that Recruitment Agencies may become a thing of the past as A.I starts to play a bigger part in recruiting and internal hiring. Are companies set to lean towards this kind of technology to find their next star players?

But let’s ask the question again…..what does a good candidate look like? Have you asked yourself this question and do you continue to ask it whilst writing job descriptions, scanning through CV’s and carrying out interviews?

At first thought, the usual “tick box” criteria might arise such as “Someone with the right Qualifications” “proficient in using Microsoft & basic admin level Software” “A minimum length of experience in that exact field” and so on.

Where all of these things, are of course important, none of these questions make space for a candidate who has the

right personality or interests and outlook to fit the culture of the team or the business as a whole?

Sometimes a “good candidate” for you or for the role you are hiring for, could be as simple as “Someone to come and inspire or implement change in a team” “Someone who might be a speedy learner and is not afraid of a challenge” “someone who has outstanding communication skills”?

These are things that are often lost on paper!

These discussions have been open and ongoing in our office this month as our team have been reflecting upon their own experiences of what a good candidate looks like:

Aimee “When you look at someone’s CV sometimes they don’t appear to have the skills you’re looking for but when you actually have a conversation with them you can get a better feel for a person and start to see their real qualities and skills.” 

Our MD Toni believes firmly in the fact that:

Character should not be overlooked, as the ability to fit into a team and get along with other people is what pushes you into top roles

As a “good candidate”, having the confidence to honour yourself as an individual and not be afraid to be open about what you are looking for is vital. It has to be a fit for you too!

Toni: “Being yourself in an interview is your strongest asset. Even if a certain role doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, it doesn’t mean you failed. Why would you work for a company that doesn’t suit you either?”

There are obviously many roles that require a specific skillset, especially within I.T and Technology. Camila, our I.T Specialist Consultant, sometimes finds that if she has a certain role that is a little more flexible in terms of leaving room for training and development then the “Right Fit” can really come in to play.

Camila – “I have a candidate who is specialised in a certain field in IT and every time I see a relevant role come up I think of him. Not because he is technically the best, but because he is just a really nice person and I want to help him find the perfect role. I will always push for interviews for him. “

All of these things that we touched on as a team really brought to attention, how much of what we do is based on “People”. Understanding, empathy, Human Nature, even guessing someone’s next move. Is A.I going to be that…well…..intelligent?

We see it often where clients have a range of candidates with very similar experience and qualifications who, on paper, tick all the boxes but then there will be a “Wild Card” candidate that might not have experience in certain aspects of the role, but they end up hiring that person because they had a better connection with them.

They had turned up bright eyed and enthusiastic and asked all of the right questions. Their personality and vibrancy were just absolutely perfect and the client’s “Light Bulb Moment” was realising that all of other “missing stuff” could just be learned and wasn’t as vital as they had first thought.

Chris – “If someone comes in excited and raring to go, that’s a great first sign as it gets me excited about putting them forward to a Client, I look forward to telling them about someone special”

Maybe companies could end up missing out on these wonderful experiences if just relying upon tech. An inspiring connection can sometimes be made when meeting people face to face, especially in interviews, for both parties involved!

The other point being, that potentially, A.I might not be flexible enough to accommodate the very best of Human Nature which is to “change one’s mind.” We are all guilty of it and hey life happens!

So many factor’s and influences affect people applying for roles and hirers making offers.

Sometimes we get thrown off course ourselves, and well, we understand Humans better than A.I (……..hopefully!)

Upon reading a previous article that we published and have referred back to above: “Celebrating the Things That Make you Unique” I stumbled across this quote from Angela:

“If someone walked in here now and they knew what was expected of them, with the right attitude and the right values regardless of their experience I would take them on within a heartbeat. It is that spark someone has in their eyes.”

This couldn’t ring more true and more in line with what we do and I am happy to say that I am living proof of this.

By chance I was working in close vicinity to RISE in my previous role, and developed a relationship with the team and four months later here I am! No specific job role experience, no qualifications. Just purely a “connection with the team and the right outlook”. I might not have been able to “tick the boxes” if I had applied for a position in the regular way.

We are not saying that skill set or experience count for nothing. That’s far from the point here, but we do think that being yourself, being passionate about something whether related or not and having the right attitude can sometimes get you opportunities that you might not have had access to on paper.

Working these things into an interview alongside your skills and experiences, could set you apart or propel you further in to your career. You could end up being someone’s “Light Bulb Moment”.

And if you are hiring, then we urge you to consider the “Wild Cards”.

I think it could be said that is one of those “human only” things… I’m not too sure that A.I can really reach this light bulb!

At Tru Talent we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

We spoke with James Spinks the Sales Director at Grapevine about the incoming 5G technology, and how you get into the industry at hand.


Tru Talent: How has telecoms advanced over the last 5-10 years with such a huge boom in the technology industry?

James: 10 years ago, IT and telecommunications were fundamentally separate.  As telecoms technology evolved, IT did the same and there was no doubt about the coming merger of the two. We now have lots of new integrated computer / phone / internet of things (IOT) solutions changing business and consumer landscapes, driven by the IT and telecoms convergence and the decreasing margins on traditional single product solutions

Tru Talent: With the promise of 5G on the horizon, have you had any insight as to how this will change your business and the world of telecoms?

James: From a user’s perspective, 5G will fundamentally change how connectivity, applications and content are consumed, whilst from a provider’s perspective, 5G presents enormous opportunities for network efficiency to deliver innovative services.

Tru Talent: Have you found that you have had to instil more security features as data breaches become more and more apparent it would seem?

James: Whilst we have always been security focused in our core specialities, the GDPR mandate has driven us to streamline the data we use and store, find more efficient ways to communicate with our clients, and help our client base with their own security challenges, through the proactive offering of cost-efficient subscription based security software and innovative hardware solutions.

Tru Talent: Regarding the above have you seen a decline in trust with your clients and how have you mitigated this?

James: As a provider of solutions to our client base for over 25 years trust has never been an issue and we have used this platform to reassure our clients wariness through the provision of appropriate solutions for their requirements, rather than profiteering from the scaremongering in the wider press.

Tru Talent: Do you find marketing campaigns useful in managing and retaining this trust and also to engage and inform your clients?

James: Marketing communications has been key through the transformation of our business, from a reseller of mobile contracts to a fully integrated IT and telecoms service provider. The focus of our marketing communications has been to educate. This has allowed us to both reassure our clients that we are ahead of emerging trends in technology and showcase the benefits of new solutions available to their business.

Tru Talent: Within the world of telecoms, is there ever an easier route in, for example having specific qualifications or is it a case of working your way up?

James: Because the majority of our solutions are bespoke, experience and qualifications are never mandatory.  However, achieving good qualifications is proof of a commitment to a target. Application of both intelligence and hard work and will always be a yardstick by which to compare candidates.  Honesty, integrity and common sense are more valuable commodities in employees than ever before and the challenge is for an individual to convey these strengths in a CV or interview environment.

Tru Talent: Is there any new technologies that we should be aware of that is going to ‘change the game’ like the Cloud did?

James: Given the superior specification of the forthcoming 5G platform, this new technology will change the game for both mobile and fixed communications.  The promise of faster, more agile and secure wireless technology provides the opportunity to bring scalability, security and universal mobility across the telecommunications industry, with expected benefits to all industries from improved broadcasting to automation through IOT.

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.




Angela caught up with Fran Collins, CEO of the Red Funnel Group, to talk a little about what her days consist of, how she got to where she is and how it all works in the marine industry.



Rise: What is your current position and what does your day to day look like?

Fran: I’m the CEO at Red Funnel Group, so my day-to-day role is very varied! I’m responsible for ensuring the strategic direction of the company, and making sure it delivers on the expectations of our shareholders, customers and employees. My role means there are a lot of meetings! Some of these are with other local businesses or organisations, particularly as Red Funnel has a strong sense of social responsibility and we like to be very active in the communities in which we work. Other days, I try to get out in our business and visit staff across the network – we have multiple ships, offices and operations on the Isle of Wight and in Southampton and I never seem to have enough time to get around them all! I also spend quite a bit of time working with our shareholders, and of course with my Leadership Team, who are the Directors responsible for the day-to-day operation.


Rise: Has it taken you a long time to get to the position you are in today?

Fran: Within the industry, I guess it’s been quite a quick journey for me to this role, but I’ve been lucky in that opportunities came up when I was in a position to take them, and I’ve had some great advice from people who had already made similar journeys in their careers.

I joined the Merchant Navy at the age of 16 and went away to sea as an Officer Cadet. After I qualified with a dual licence (so I could sail as a navigational officer or an engineer) I spent the next 11 years sailing in various ranks all around the world and was promoted to Captain in 2006. In 2008, I was offered a 6-month secondment as Operations Manager, and that 6 months turned into 10 years and 4 roles! There were lots of opportunities in shore management, and I realised that I had aspirations to progress upwards, so I made a conscious decision to ensure that my CV had certain attributes needed for a CEO role. This meant taking some roles that I wouldn’t have initially considered; for me, with an operational background, I had to make sure that my commercial understanding and financial skills were really up to scratch. I also took advantage of any and every piece of training and development I was offered, and in 2014 I became Executive Director – Operations at Condor Ferries. Then in January 2018, I was invited to apply for the CEO role at Red Funnel Group, and the rest is history!


Rise: What have been the positives along your journey and what have been the roadblocks?

Fran: The positives have been many, but a couple of things really stand out; one has been the support of others, in all aspects. I’ve been really lucky that, throughout my career, individuals have taken the time to guide me and encourage me to take the opportunities that came up, even if they felt like a risk at the time. Another huge positive is the fun I’ve had, and am still having! I think I’m quite lucky in that there haven’t been overt road blocks – sure, there’s been the odd negative person, but they’re in the minority and learning to deal with that is another skill set that helps me in the roles I do now!


Rise: Has it changed since you started out in the marine industry?

Fran: The Merchant Marine industry is one in which change happens slowly, and this is both good and bad. Something that has changed enormously, though, is the connectivity available to the crews on the ships – when I first went to sea there was no internet and the only way to contact home was by satellite phone at £7/minute. Now ships are much better connected, and this is a great improvement on quality of life. In terms of the gender balance however, women make up c.4% of the global seafaring workforce, and that hasn’t really changed in 20 years. Notwithstanding that, it’s a great industry and I would wholly recommend it to anyone considering something a bit different, especially as the qualification route has changed, and graduates also get a degree in addition to the industry-specific qualifications. There is plenty of travel, lots of experience to gain and a set of transferable life skills that I don’t believe you can get from many other industries.


Rise: What key skills and experience have you used primarily along the way?

Fran: The biggest skill that I’ve used has been the inclination to ‘have a go’. This helped me assess opportunities that came up and take the ones that looked helpful or fun (pretty much all of them were both, as it turned out!). Another, and one which I think is really important, is understanding the value of teamwork – you don’t have to actively like your colleagues (it helps though!) but you do have to find a way to work together for the greater good, and understanding their challenges and opportunities builds a really solid foundation to build on. Being able to admit, then learn from your mistakes and move on is also essential.


Rise: What is the plan from here?

Fran: Well, I’ve been in this role for 6 months now, and I’m loving it! It’s my first CEO role, so I’m learning plenty and enjoying the opportunity to use my previous experiences. The normal term for a CEO in this sort of company is 2-5 years, so I’ve got a bit of time to decide what comes next!


Rise: What would be your main solid bit of advice to someone starting out?

Fran: Be brave and have a go – others will offer you plenty of advice, but it will nearly always be based on their situation and not yours. You have the power to make your own assessments and decisions, and you have the power to make whatever you do a success. It’s not always easy but it will be fun!