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

recruitment consultant job in bristol

Why Be Content When You Could Be Happy?

Why Be Content When You Could Be Happy?

Are you making the most of your career potential, or have you taken the easy route and settled for ‘good enough’? Here’s why little steps now could mean big progress soon…

Happiness is an individual thing. One of the beautiful, chaotic things about being human is that different things make different people happy. But doesn’t everybody just want to be rich and give up work entirely? Not necessarily….

In the middle of last century, pioneering work by American psychologist Abraham Maslow studied the top one per cent of the population to work out what drives them to succeed. The result is his now-famous ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ that comprises – in order of impact – survival, safety, belonging, esteem, and self-actualisation. This concept is usually portrayed by a pyramid, with the basics of survival and safety at the base, building up to the more important, but less essential layers of esteem and self-actualisation at the pinnacle.

•	Why Be Content When You Could Be Happy


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, source: Wikipedia
Self-What Now?

This may sound like a soundbite from a self-help book, but it’s actually pretty simple; it just means doing what makes you happy. Maslow puts this at the top of his pyramid of needs for a very good reason: it’s what you were meant to do, given solid foundations to build upon. This is all about realising your potential, which led Maslow to observe, “What a man can be, he must be.”


Well Done! What’s Next?

If you’re content in your work, then well done – you’re already doing better than anyone who’s still struggling to survive. You’ve met your daily needs and could reasonably carry on as normal with no negative impact on your day-to-day life – and that’s not to be taken lightly! But…

Is that enough? Are you willing to stall your ascent of the pyramid halfway up? Or do you want to see what you can really do and take it to the top? Will there come a day a year from now – or five years, or ten – when you look back and think, ‘I wish I’d pushed harder to do the things I know I can do’?


We Walk It Like We Talk It

You don’t have far to look for inspiration; our very own MD, James Kingston explains, “I left my role at Thatcher Associates as I didn’t want to settle for ‘content’ any more. I wanted the opportunity to really build something and get out of bed in the morning every day with a smile.” And how did that baller move work out for James? “Four years on and we’re now a £2.5m award-winning business, with a really exciting vision that takes us to 2020 and we’re ahead on our targets, year on year.”

You don’t have to start up your own business to make the move from being content to happy, but that’s what gave James the motivation. What would make you happy?


It’s All About YOU!

That’s why Kingston Barnes takes the time to get to know you as a candidate before we even think about putting you forward for a role. We’re not here to tick boxes and hit quotas. We’re here because we’re passionate about putting the right people forward for the right role and that’s why we do our best by both our clients and our candidates. We want to help you make the most out of your potential as you climb your personal pyramid of needs.

We know that if you’re ticking along and doing OK in your current role, then you might not be looking for your next career move right now. But what if your dream role came up and you missed it because you settled for good enough?

We’ve already helped hundreds of people to realise their potential and make the move from content to happy. Could you be next? Even if you aren’t looking to move on today, wouldn’t it be a good idea to have a friendly face out there looking for your dream job?

Call us today on 0117 325 2233 or send an email to and tell us what would make you happy in your work. You never know – maybe we can help…




How References Can Make Or Break Your Career

How References Can Make Or Break Your Career

What’s the most important aspect of any job application? A striking CV? That’s a given. A winning cover letter? That’s how you get your foot in the door. A strong interview? You’re almost there…

You might be surprised to learn that your references could make the difference between a job offer and the job centre. Here’s why.


Of course you’ll say you can do the job, but there’s nobody better placed to confirm that than a previous employer who’s seen your skills in action. Potential employers aren’t just looking for confirmation that you held the title you claim for the time stated on your CV – although that’s part of it – but they also want to find out more about what you’ve done previously; how your actual duties and responsibilities compare to the ones you’ve detailed – and how well you met their expectations.

Most hirers only take up references when they’ve already decided to appoint you, but some ask before interview. If that’s the case, make sure you don’t burn your bridges where you’re working now when they find out you’re looking elsewhere. If you think it could negatively impact your current position if you’re unsuccessful, it’s perfectly acceptable to offer one set of referees pre-interview and another when you get the offer, as long as you make that clear up front.


Set The Scene

Don’t bother with open letters of reference; nobody believes them. You need to put your hirer in touch with your referees directly, because that will carry more weight. But check they’re happy to provide a reference before you name them; there’s nothing more off-putting than a referee who says, ‘I’d rather not do this’ for whatever reason, because it sets alarm bells ringing. They might think you’re the best thing ever and just be unsure of the company policy on references, but it will make your prospective employer doubt your application.

If you have a good relationship with your referee, then it’s worth taking the time to describe what you’ve shared in the application process and what you have to offer in this role. You don’t need to coach them or provide a script, but a heartfelt explanation of why you think you’re right for the job could help to put them in the right headspace before they even speak to HR on your behalf.


Who To Choose?

If you’re a graduate, then a tutor or course leader is fine, but a supervisor from a work placement is better. If you’ve been in the industry for a few years, then you need to offer professional references. The best ones can offer real insight into what you have to offer your prospective employer – and that doesn’t have to be your line manager, although that’s best. You could also consider colleagues, supply chain contacts and clients as potential alternatives.


How Many References Do You Need?

Two at a minimum, up to five if you can; three is the magic number. Regardless of how many references you offer, it pays to be aware of the fact that the process might not be restricted to the names you put forward; a company might make an informal enquiry if they know your previous employer, or someone you worked with, so it pays to play nice out there as a bad reference will halt any inroads you have made with a prospective employer.


The Kingston Barnes Difference

Employers contact Kingston Barnes so that the Bristol based recruitment agency can find them the best candidates – and part of that process is taking up references. That puts you a step ahead of other candidates because your application has already been pre-approved.  Kingston Barnes places a high priority on referencing all candidates so we know them inside and out.


End Game

When the dust has settled, take two minutes to thank your referees; that’s only polite. And if that isn’t motivation enough, just remember that it might not help you get the job this time, but what about next time around?


Contact Kingston Barnes today to find out about career advice and opportunities. You can call us on 0117 325 2233 or send an email to

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.