How you can have a successful career and be a great mum too

August 1st was a huge day for Kingston Barnes and an even bigger moment for newly promoted Associate Director Kate Hallett.  Kate was Kingston Barnes’s first employee and has been a key figurehead in the business from its inception to now a multi-million-pound, award winning recruitment consultancy that employs 20+ people.

James Kingston, Managing Director of Kingston Barnes said “Promoting Kate has been one of my personal highlights since setting up Kingston Barnes. She was the first person we ever hired and has been with us every step of the way. From just the two of us in our tiny office on Park Street taking us to our prestigious office now at Queen Square. Without Kates hard work and efforts Kingston Barnes would not be the company it is today. We have so much to thank Kate for, from the company culture and people we employ, through to the first-class service to our clients and candidates.”

( L-R James Kingston – MD with Kate Hallett – Associate Director )  

Kates Story

Kate began her career in the construction industry in 1999 at Redcliffe Homes, a bespoke residential developer. During her four years with the company, Kate was able to work alongside key professionals in every department of the business, gaining insights into all aspects of the construction industry.

When a friend suggested that Kate would be a good fit for recruitment, she soon found herself working for HAYS as a Resourcer, finding candidates in the construction industry. Over the next 10 years, Kate had several promotions and worked her way up through the ranks to Senior Business Manager before becoming a mother in 2010, with a second daughter arriving in 2012.

James knew that Kate’s combination of industry experience and talent was just the kind of calibre he was looking for in his new venture, which is why he asked her to join the team in 2013. As Kate puts it, leaving such an established company as a mum to two young girls was, “really quite a gamble” but there was something about the opportunity that I knew I would regret not pursuing it”

Not every recruitment consultancy is flexible enough to accommodate the needs of a working mum and provide career opportunities too, but James was happy to work out a way that meant Kate could bring her contribution to the company and excel both at the work place and at home. The chance to work part time at a senior level meant that Kate didn’t have to choose between her career and family life. The flexibility is one of the things she treasures about working at Kingston Barnes. “I have the flexibility in my career to work around my children. I work extremely hard and James rewards me very well. At times it can be a juggling act but thanks to my support network and the culture at KB they have enabled me to give 100% to my job and be a great mum at the same time”.

Having the best of both worlds

Kate acknowledges that she’s, “very lucky” to find a role that’s been tailored to her, but she also appreciates the way that the day-to-day business is less rigid than the norm. She says that, “It’s refreshing to work for a company that really cares about its staff and what we do. It’s not just a numbers game.”

Being a mother should never be a barrier to your career and Kate is testament that you can be a great mother and achieve in the work place too.

“I think we need to challenge the idea that women have to give up their career to have a family. My position at Kingston Barnes has allowed me to work at a senior level and also have a good work/life balance.  I am hugely proud of my journey, through hard work and perseverance I have achieved my promotion to Associate Director and I couldn’t be happier. It has been exciting to be an integral part of Kingston Barnes since day one and I am grateful to James for providing me with the opportunity. I am very fortunate to have the best of both worlds which is extremely hard to come by. I’m looking forward to the future too and continuing my career development as we continue to expand.

Could you be a part of the Kingston Barnes journey?

Any team is only as strong as its weakest player – and Kingston Barnes is looking to expand its team of industry expert recruiters right now. If you want to be a part of the journey on the route to success, join the winning team today. If you’re a recruitment specialist, think you can bring value and add a new dimension to the Kingston Barnes team, then we want to hear from you. Call us today on 0117 325 2233 or email us at

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How To Stop Putting The Brakes On Your Career

How To Stop Putting The Brakes On Your Career. We look at why some candidates don’t make the most of their careers – and how they can boost their earning potential and job satisfaction.

Taking the next step on your career ladder can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster ride, if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphor. From the despair of finding the right role and self-doubt on application to the agonising wait to hear if you’ve been deemed acceptable, it’s easy to imagine that you’ll only get your hopes up, only to have them dashed.

Far from setting yourself to fail, if you go about your job hunt the right way, you’re actually setting yourself up to succeed. Talk to a professional recruiter, who can help you identify your strengths and where you can successfully apply them, from industry sector down to specific roles – and even individual companies who are looking for… well, you.


 Would You Rather Be Comfortable, Or Fulfilled?

If you’ve been in your current role for some time, then you know how it works. You know what the company wants from its employees; you know what to expect of your boss; and you know how and when you get paid. Even if you’re not happy with any or all of these things – and a hundred more – you know what to expect. And that familiarity can be comforting.

Which is exactly why it’s called the comfort zone. Nobody does their best work from inside their comfort zone, as evidenced by research in 1908 by two psychologists that has become known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law. Their data shows that performance increases – up to a point – with interest. If your work is not sufficiently challenging, or stimulating, then you are quite simply not working to your potential.


Fear Of Rejection

Nobody likes being told they’re not good enough, so why put yourself in a position to be hurt if you don’t succeed? Because the alternative is to never find out what you’re truly capable of – and isn’t that the larger failure?

The key to overcoming this fear of rejection is to measure yourself against the industry standard so you can accurately assess your status and potential. Again, a good recruiter can help you to realistically measure your chance of success and crucially, how you can improve it.

If you don’t ask, the answer will always be ‘no’. If you do ask, sometimes, it might just be ‘yes’…


Lack Of Qualifications

This is possibly the easiest objection to overcome. If you’ve identified your ideal job, but lack the paperwork, invest your time and money to achieve it. And it will be an investment – in your future – and as such, you can work out the time or money put in and the projected return on investment.

Whether that’s through on–the-job learning, night school or distance learning, you can do it if you really want to. It may take longer than you’d like, but that will only heighten the sense of achievement when you make it.



Lack Of Experience

This one’s not so easy. It’s the old Catch 22 that you need experience to get the job, but you need the job to get experience. It’s time to think laterally and identify the skills that are key to the role, then work out how you could acquire them in other areas.

You might be able to find a job that requires relevant skills, or you could look at hobbies and volunteer work that demonstrate an interest and a willingness to learn in those areas.



Big Fish, Little Pond?

The transition from apex predator to dither fish is a daunting proposition, but once you’ve reached the top of the food chain in your current environment, where else is there to go? Enter the big pond as a little fish and you’ll have room to grow.


What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

The human brain is very good at tricking its owner into sleepless nights over unfounded fears. This is called catastrophic thinking. Don’t listen to those nagging doubts in the darkest hours of the night; or rather listen, understand and file them. Then apply your rational brain in the cold light of day to identify unfounded fears or potential problems. Fear can’t hurt you and problems only need the right solution.



Today IS The Day

If you’ve ever postponed progressing your career because the time isn’t right, today’s headline news is – it’s never going to be the right time. If you’re waiting to get your ducks in a row or the right celestial alignment, then you’re going to get very good at one skill… waiting.

Not being ready is just an excuse. If you have an ambition to make more of your career, then today is the day to sit down, identify any challenges – and, most importantly, how you can overcome them one by one.


Don’t let today get away; this is your time to act. Take the initiative for the rest of your professional life by talking to us today about how we can help you to make the most of your career potential. Call us on 0117 325 2233 or email us at

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Starting A New Job – How To Impress In Your First 90 Days

Starting A New Job – How To Impress In Your First 90 Days

Starting A New Job – How To Impress In Your First 90 Days

Winning your dream job is only the start; now you have to walk it like you talk it. Your new manager wants to be reassured they made the right decision to hire you – and your co-workers need to know that you’ll be a good addition to the team. Find out how you can show the value you can add in the first 90 days of any new job.


First 30 Days


Turn Up On Time

Don’t be late on your first day. Make sure you have any tools you need to do your job and that you’re ready to get to work. Bring any paperwork you’ve been asked for and be willing to spend time in onboarding tasks that could range from health and safety briefings to a business lunch.


Why Have You been Hired?

Whether you’ve been hired to dream up blue sky strategies, due to your specialist knowledge or because you can lay more bricks than average, you need to understand where you fit within the business strategy. Bringing in new business is never a bad idea, but if your boss really wants you to improve efficiencies, then that should be your focus. Ultimately, you’ve been hired to make the business more profitable; now figure out how you can be seen to do it.


What Does Your Boss Expect Of You?

Any ambitious new hire wants to quickly deliver value for their new employer, but don’t feel desperate to validate your appointment the moment you arrive. Before you can even think about delivering a ‘quick win’, you need to understand what a ‘win’ is for your boss. Understand how your manager’s success is measured, help them to achieve their goals – and in turn, help them to look good in front of their boss.

Work out if they want regular updates, or if they only want to hear from you when there’s a problem. Some managers want to be involved in every conversation, where others just want you to get on with the job. Neither is right or wrong; you just need to work out which kind of manager you have – and deliver what they want.


Company culture

If figuring out your boss is your first priority, then the company’s next. Learn what it values – both in terms of its people and its business – and apply yourself to it. Pay attention to how people in your new firm communicate with one another. Are email trails more valued than telephone conversations?  Go with it. If you think there’s a better way to get things done, save it for when you’ve established yourself as part of the team.


Back To The Future

Only start to help writing your new employer’s future when you know its backstory. It’s tempting to make far-reaching suggestions early on, but failing to learn from their historical mistakes will only undermine you. Learn from them so you don’t repeat them.


Get To Know Your Co-Workers

Anyone who wasn’t involved in your interview process probably has no idea why you’ve been added to the team. Make sure to establish your credentials and how you can help. Nobody likes a show off, but it’s a good idea to share your experience, previous roles and achievements as you get to know the people around you.


Make Your Colleagues Look Good

It’s a lonely road if you try to prove your worth by exposing the weaknesses of the people you work with. Instead, find ways to improve the way your manager looks on your peers and you could win important alliances. After all, you don’t yet know who could prove influential on your career progress.


Get To Know Your Customers & Clients

If your job means that you have direct contact with customers or clients, you should say ‘hi’ in your first month. Reassuring them that their level of service with either remain the same – or improve – will speak volumes to them about how much you value their custom.


First 60 Days


Take It To The Next Level

Talk to the people around – and above – you about how you can apply your skills to further your team, department and the company as a whole. You’ve been hired to do a particular job, but taking on additional tasks and responsibilities now will establish your reputation as a team player and someone who has more to offer than the basic job spec.


Get Your Co-Workers To Know You

If you spent your first month on the outside looking in, your second month should be spent trying to bring others into your orbit. Step out from behind your monitor or clipboard and suggest a night out – or just going for lunch.

Engage anyone you’ve identified as team players that could solidify your position. Concentrate on people who make things happen and hold power, influence or knowledge. Move anybody who’s an office politician or time waster to the edge of your circle.


Be Seen To Improve

Nobody’s perfect. It doesn’t matter if you’re an Agile expert or a bricklayer; you can always improve. Catch up on the latest learning in the field, or improve your physical strength and stamina. Raising your game after you’ve got the job is the single clearest signal that you want to succeed in your new role.


First 90 Days


Take The Lead

Now that you’re seen as a team player, think about volunteering to take point on a new project, whether that’s client focused or just improving the reception area. Being seen to be a trustworthy project manager when there’s no business pressure will put you at a definite advantage when the stakes are higher.


Use Your Initiative

If you know that a new project or client is coming, then position yourself to be of use. Research the sector, industry or technology so that you can bring knowledge to the table from day one.


Formalise Your Presence

If there’s a social club, council, board or committee, join it. Build on the relationships you’ve fostered in your first two months to integrate yourself into the fabric of the company.


Pay It Forward

Take note of everything that you’ve learned in your first three months as a new recruit – and document it. From IT log-ins or document control to canteen culture, record it if you would have found it useful in your first 90 days. Then pass it on to your manager, so they can improve the onboarding process for their next hire. Not only will this make your manager look good, but it also reminds them that you’re a team player looking for any way you can improve the way the business runs.