Austin Fraser secures top 20 ranking in Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200

Austin Fraser secures top 20 ranking in Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200
Celebrations are set to take place across all Austin Fraser offices, following our second consecutive placement in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200. 2018 sees us come in at 20th in the ninth annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 league table, which ranks Britain’s mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales.
Growing our international presence
How have we achieved this? In the qualifying two year period, we’ve seen exponential international growth, with revenue rocketing up over 115%. Global locations have doubled in the past 18 months, too, opening offices in Berlin, Denver and Dallas. And we have more ambitious plans for Europe and the US in place.
Strategic leadership
As many of you will have seen in the media, earlier this year, we announced a significantly expanded leadership team, with the aim to propel Austin Fraser’s organisation’s global growth. At the same time, the business has been developing deeper relationships across our specialist sectors across Technology, Automation, Aviation and Life Sciences industries
Strengthening our culture
International growth comes with its own set of challenges. So we were delighted to see other regional players like the Bullit Group and Westcoast in the league table.
We’re a people-led business to our core and have nurtured a culture that supports, fosters and rewards success. As a recruitment partner, our teams are genuinely motivated by a core desire to ensure both our clients’ and candidates’ success. We couldn’t be prouder of every team member for making this happen and look forward to celebrating and thanking everyone in person.

Understanding Developer Typology

Understanding Developer Typology
Ahead of the June Leaders in Tech: Baden-Württemberg held on 21st June 2018 we speak with 1&1’s Matthias Wittum, Head of the Source Center and Christian Rehn, Software Developer in 1&1’s Customer Selfcare Solutions about their highly developed frameworks and models which are specially designed to examine developer typology. Their frameworks and models are proven to support developer teams, strengthen communication and optimise design decisions.
Matthias Wittum explains that whilst working with Christian Rehn, they identified how different developers can be when it comes to reaching a design decision and how this has an impact on development teams. We know that developers are unique problem solvers who draw on different approaches, knowledge, cultures, experience and principles to produce software solutions. Developers naturally approach projects uniquely, and the outcome can play to a particular focus or strength. Of course within a development team this can lead to several solutions being found and so the challenge is often finding one team solution or design route.
There are enough personality tests out there, but no tests or frameworks based specifically on developers. We felt that some instruments were needed to enable better production efficiency and to help develop teams according to their orientation and typology, so we started filling the gap. That’s how the Design Types Model for instance, came to fruition. It sets out to define developers’ typology via a relatively straightforward base of questions for each developer to answer. The answers provided help classify their typology and then you can group them accordingly. Using this model makes it easier to gain an impression of whether the tasks, the way of working and the environment are a good fit.
Here are three Models which we have formulated to identify developer typology, aid better case arguments to reach design decisions more quickly and to help optimise development teams:

Design Types Model – sets out to identify why software design is individual and often leads to discussions with colleagues.
Design Cards – great interactive tool using a set of predefined cards used to aid technical discussions by using proven arguments.
Design Matrix – helps you to examine technical problems from all perspectives.

Read more about these interactive Models here.
Ever since the agile movement, technical decisions are increasingly discussed or reviewed within the team. Collective Code Ownership means that everyone is now jointly responsible for the software and as a result, it is important for developers to be able to argue precisely and comprehensively, to be able to put oneself into the motives of your colleagues. With our models, we want to support exactly this and strengthen communication in development teams.
Leaders in Tech
Thanks to those who joined us at our Leaders in Tech: Baden-Württemberg meetup held on 21st June 2018 when Matthias and Christian give a complete overview of the developer typology, as well as the Design Cards and the Design Matrix. As a start, to understand the concepts and the overall context.

3 Top Tips to Building a Successful Engineering Team

3 Top Tips to Building a Successful Engineering Team
We spoke with Florian Gamper, freelance CTO/CIO whose background is in Software Engineering from Enterprise Backend to Web and Mobile. Florian is a speaker at our June Leaders in Tech: Berlin meetup and over the years he has built numerous startups, Engineering Teams and Ventures for Companies like Dr. Oetker, BCG Digital Ventures and Columba. Resulting in projects like Coup (Electric Scooter Sharing for Bosch), Mein-Dach (Community Platform for Brass Monier) or (Oetker Digital).
As a Leader in Tech, we asked Florian what his 3 Top Tips are for Building a Successful Engineering Team
TIP 1 – Recruiting and interviewing your dream team
It starts with finding the talent. No longer do you have to wait for them to find you, now there’s a much more bi-directional process where you apply to them directly. This helps both sides engage in a deeper partnership. Be prepared to give your ideal candidate(s) an interesting story behind your company and an explanation as to how together, the projects can help take them to the next level.
Don’t ruin their first impression of your company! Before any interview takes place make sure the right people are in the room, and that you’re set up with a proper internet connection and good video chat system for remote interviews (not kidding … falling out of interviews all the time ruins your first expression … so ditch skype).
Finding and recruiting the right people to build a successful Engineering Team takes a lot of time. Don’t rush the process and if you have the funds to use freelancers for the intermediate, do it, it helps a lot. Never hire in doubt or rush.
Now it’s time to build your team.
TIP 2 – Cultivating the perfect environment
To create the perfect environment for an engineering team to thrive, the culture, supported from the top down, has to be right. To excel, you need to create a supporting culture with a welcoming and open mindset, which each member of the team needs to be a part of. To achieve this there are three simple rules: you have to build a culture that doesn‘t blame, gives fame, has no shame (it’s ok to admit a mistake) for the team to thrive. Set guidelines within which they have the freedom to experiment and thrive.
Glitches can appear if you don’t have the right processes in place to support your successful engineering team. To help track and record workflow you need to have stable processes in place such as CI/CD, Wiki, Tasks.
Listening, can help you spot the early signs that you’ve got the culture right. People will not only talk to each other about work, but also about their lives and hobbies. Bonds form and they’ll do some stuff together after work, ensure these are never siloed in the engineering team.
Never fear to lose the wrong people.

TIP 3 – The Future for Engineering Teams
Engineering Teams have to prepare to be more and more involved in production processes. Continuous deployment is a key to fast and steady delivery. In the near future teams will get more diverse in skills and topics as ML and other Cloud Technologies are going to be part of wider projects.
Leaders in Tech: Berlin
Florian explores this topic deeper at the June instalment of our Leaders in Tech: Berlin meetup, where he shares advice on what he looks for in the ideal candidate and what good teams need in order to thrive. 

Creating a workplace of the future in our Reading HQ!

The launch of our brand new office refit in our Reading HQ!  
We partnered with design firm Area Sq to create a workspace of the future in our new, Reading-based HQ in Thames Tower. Throughout the initial briefing process, Area really got to grips with our why. They understood that our people are at the core of our business and helped us create a dynamic space, to accommodate our equally dynamic workforce. Our space deliberately encourages collaboration and innovation in the way our teams approach their work and each working day, ensuring our employees the resources and support to truly succeed in their roles. We’ll take you on a tour of our office and the progression of our refit in the video below.
Our break out area where we spend our lunch times, monthly meetings and host local Meetups and events
Our recent move of our Reading HQ into Thames Tower coincides with our tenth year of business. Over the last ten years we’ve expanded internationally, opening offices across Europe and the USA within the digital, technology, aviation, automation and life sciences industries. As a business, we were keen to set a precedent and create a truly inspirational space for our centralised hub in Reading. We’ve really considered the long term and ensured our space facilitates growth for each of teams to expand into.
We have a versatile range of meeting spaces for our teams to collaborate in
Thames Tower offers a 360 panoramic view of the Thames Valley, a rooftop garden where we regularly host and attend events, as well as a prime position in Reading Town Centre, with access to all the town, has to offer. Our office refit had to maintain these incredible standards and Area accomplished this and made our vision a reality.
Our classroom, where we provide immersive training experiences for our staff
CEO, Peter Hart says, “We really believe that what Area Sq has created represents the future workplace. It will play a huge role in helping Austin Fraser reach the next level of growth with the right people, technology and environment. It was important for us to have an office environment which offered different types of space to accommodate the different types of people and working practices that run throughout the business. This inspirational workplace will play a key role in helping us to continue to attract and retain the very best talent.”

Want to take a look for yourselves? Take a look at this video we worked on with Stanton Media and Area Sq…

Are you investing in future management?

The importance of investing in future management

In order for a business to succeed it needs to have solid foundations of senior members of staff who have the knowledge and willingness to lead and develop teams to help push the business forward.
What happens when the good manager’s begin to hand in their notices, or retire? We typically go to job boards, post an advert or look for internal candidates and start the recruitment process. This brings us back to the issue of attracting the most talented and engaged candidates to fill these roles.
These traditional hiring methods are not always effective in terms of longevity due to the demographic of the market.  If we continue hiring from the very small pool of candidates that is currently available, we’ll effectively be recycling the same management throughout the industry.
We need to modernise our teams. We need to start thinking about are our future management.
One of my favourite examples of future management is one I featured in my previous blog, Brit Rocks – Women in Quarrying. I successfully introduced an Assistant Quarry Manager to a business in October 2015. This young woman has since been promoted to Quarry Manager and is highly spoken of by her peers and management. The business she’s joined genuinely believes she will positively contribute towards the continual development of the company.  
It’s reassuring to know that with time and commitment a junior member of management can make such a huge impact. Many businesses neglect to see the value in hiring junior members of management as they typically are not able to make an impact on the business immediately. However, this example shows that through the support of her business and her personal willingness she has found her feet and is excelling in her role.
I’m by no means saying that we shouldn’t employ people straight into managerial positions…that would be ludicrous! If you have a vacancy we need to recruit. However, what I am saying, is that whilst we have teams in full operation, it’s important to focus on bringing in skilled and determined candidates. These need to be people who have the ambition to develop into management but are also passionate about our sector. We need to create a team of potential managers who truly care.
This will create a cycle whereby great managers will create great teams. If the cycle is successful, these teams will then go on to create their own teams of future management through coaching and support. If we get people in early doors, who are eager to learn and determined to succeed, it puts us in the best possible position to enable this cycle.  

Stop thinking about the now, and consider the future. How can you utilise the strongest members of your team to help you, to create your next generation of management?.
Personally, I find these three hiring methods help my clients to identify the best candidates for said generation.

Assessment Centres
Open Days
Trainee Programmes

Throughout my career I have successfully introduced six future managers to various business via these methods. Having followed up with them all, it’s great to see that they are showcasing promising signs of a bright career ahead.  It’s prompted me to think about why other businesses aren’t focusing more effort on securing their future too.  
It’s all well and good now while we’re all fit and healthy and willing to manage our business, but why not start thinking about our successors?  These are the people we can to train and mould to ensure the continued success of our business after we’ve left.
I implore you to consider the importance your businesses’ demographic, and if hiring from a different pool of candidates could bring success to your business.  It’s time to start equipping our industry with the talent it needs to succeed in the future.  
If you want any further advice on a hiring strategy we’re always happy to help.

Web Summit Trends #1 – Virtual Reality

The concept of virtual reality isn’t a new one. We talked about the potential for virtual reality in recruitment back in July this year and from this year’s Web Summit in Dublin, it’s clear this technology will command the business and consumer markets in a big way very soon.
With many speakers and companies at the Web Summit focusing on virtual reality technology, it’s obvious they believe this mass trend shift isn’t far from physical reality. Just a few exciting examples of virtual reality applications included Audible’s inspiring attempt to bring the graphic novel, ‘Locke & Key’ to life in a 360 degree virtual environment, Jaunt’s immersive virtual reality cinematic experiences and VRmaster’s experiential selfie ‘bubble’ creator.  We recommend you take a look at what they’re doing right now!
Leading the way in last week’s virtual reality discussion, Mike Schroepfer, CTO of the world’s largest social network said, ‘Facebook wants to build a device that allows you to be anywhere you want, with anyone, regardless of geographic boundaries’. Referring to Facebook’s intentions to integrate virtual reality technology into their platform, Schroepfer demonstrated real intent to unleash virtual reality to the masses. Following the social media giant’s acquisition of Oculus Rift, one of the leaders in the virtual reality race, it’s clear that their aim is deliver the ability to speak with their connections on the other side of the planet whilst feeling like they were having a face-to-face conversation.
Perhaps the most exciting use for virtual reality technology was in its ability to improve the user’s experience of worlds beyond their everyday reach. Chis Milk, an American music video director and filmmaker described virtual reality as ‘the ultimate empathy machine’ in a Ted Talk back in March, 2015 and Scott Harrison, founder of Charity: Water demonstrated exactly why. Virtual reality provides the user the ability to feel like they’re truly experiencing the environment that they’re presented with; in this case, the struggle for water in Ethiopia.
Scott and his team filmed a virtual reality documentary over the course of several days, allowing audiences to experience the direct impact that their charity has on communities, by watching the installation of a well and seeing what the villagers could see and sharing their emotions with them. The documentary will be released next month, you can sign up for the video here.
When we released our post on virtual reality in the recruitment space, we were met with a mixture of extremely positive feedback and some disbelief that these technologies could provide benefit to the industry. Based on what we saw at this year’s Web Summit we can assure you that recruitment is just one of the hundreds of industries that will be transformed because of virtual reality technology in years to come.
Whether allowing candidates to engage in interviews or experience their prospective work environments ‚hands on‘, to carrying out high risk training or test exercises safely and at a low cost, virtual reality is coming and it’s going to be big.

Top tips on tailoring your CV for the perfect job application

Whether you’re just starting your job search, or you’re a seasoned pro, sending out generic CVs to employers just won’t cut it anymore. Look at it this way — That single document is your first and possibly only opportunity to ‘wow’ your prospective employer and avoid the waste paper bin, so you’d better make it special. Be mindful that different roles will always have varying skill and experience requirements; expectations of the perfect candidate might differ greatly too. You should always tailor your CV for each job application if you’re to be in with a chance of landing that dream job.
Here are a few of our top tips:
Build solid CV foundations.
The first thing you should do is put pen to proverbial paper. Write down all of your skills, along with your working experience and any training you’ve had. Remember to keep it clear and concise; well structured categories can help this process — work history, education, training and skills are always strong starting points. 
Read the job description, then read it again.
The job description, unsurprisingly, can give you tremendous insights into the job your prospective employer is recruiting for. It sounds obvious, but it’s vital that you check the contents for clues about exactly what they’re looking for. After all, the best way to tailor your CV is to truly understand the hiring manager and tick the boxes nicely by highlighting skills and qualities you have from your own experience.
Get listing.
A really simple but incredibly useful exercise is to make a list of all your relevant attributes as you go through the job description. Match each of the requirements they ask for with your experience and skills and if you can, link any achievements too. This is a great process to go through at both the application and interview stages if you’re lucky enough to be invited back (which of course you will be with your highly tailored, expertly written CV!). Strong, contextual answers show you’ve experienced these aspects of the working world rather than simply saying what you think they’d like to hear. 
Time to tinker and tailor.
OK, you’ve outlined your experience and skills and know exactly which are the most relevant for that perfect role you’ve got your eye on…Now it’s time to think about tailoring your CV. Look at the basic template you put together and think about which aspects you truly want to draw on, along with which parts don’t need to make the cut. Remember, keep it short and sweet. Is the information contained within your CV truly relevant for the job you’re applying for, or is it unnecessary filler? If it’s the latter, get rid of it.
A truly tailored CV is the perfect tool for capturing a hiring manager’s attention. Make sure you invest time at the beginning of your job search for the big career pay off further down the line.
Need some more help with your search? Give us a call, we’d love to share some advice with you. 

Preparing for a new engineering generation: Iain McCulley discusses how Industrie 4.0. could change manufacturing recruitment.

Today’s manufacturing sees the merger between IT and engineering to create a concept called ‚Industrie 4.0.‘. In intelligent factories, machines and products can already communicate with each other, co-operatively driving production. Raw materials and machines are interconnected within an ‘Internet of Things’ to create highly flexible, individualised and resource friendly mass production.
As we go through a digital revolution, technology is bound to play a bigger part in the manufacturing process, changing the way we train, employ and source personnel within engineering. Even though this won’t fully come into practise for another 20 years, it’s important that businesses start to accommodate for future plans to stay ahead of the curve. With Industrie 4.0. having the potential to revolutionise the industry on a global scale, our specialist consultant, Iain McCulley, comments on how both clients and candidates can ensure that the right people are placed into the right manufacturing positions.
Within a fast moving market, engineers need to remember that their role is vital to development and manufacturing processes by removing costs, wastage and ultimately keeping things moving. Whether you are a graduate, have direct working experience or specific training through an apprenticeship, the manufacturing process will offer a range of occupations to consider.
In both your CV and during interviews, provide specific and well articulated examples of where you’ve put direct or transferrable skills into practise. Be enthusiastic about the role, ask the interviewer questions about their company and prepare for some technical questions to set yourself above the competition.
Working alongside a specialist recruiter can provide you with invaluable management throughout the recruitment process, from job role advice, CV alterations and interview preparation. Those recruiters who are experts within their sector will already have go-to clients and will be able to generate interest about your job move.
For companies to stay at the forefront of the global transformation, considering candidates who don’t have direct sector experience can open a new pool of transferrable skills. Automotive and fasting-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sectors, for example, share similar fast-paced, customer-focused environments. With the foundation skill set in place, it’s possible for an engineer with either background to transfer and adapt their valuable skills with minimal training.
Additionally, hiring contractors with relevant experience, who you can trust to hit the ground running, is invaluable to preventing downtime and maximising efficiency.
Dealing with a fast-paced environment goes hand-in-hand with an efficient recruitment system. By using an established recruiter, businesses and candidates are able to deal with sudden job changes and expansion productively.
Being able to advise both parties on streamlined processes ensures top candidates join quality businesses faster, saving time and money. Job specifications and interviews are dealt with in the correct way and candidates are specifically chosen to fit a certain company.

Iain McCulley specialises in placing Interim Engineering Managers, Project Managers, Project Engineers and Controls & Automation professionals, specifically within the manufacturing and FMCG sector. Why not drop him a line at either 0118 342 0300 or [email protected]


Ask your way to success: 6 questions to include at your next job interview.

Even though you may know how to ace the answer exchange, some parts of interview preparation are easily forgotten. At the end of most job interviews, it’s common for the ball to be thrown in the court of the candidate, with their chance to ask questions. In order to give them the impression that you really are interested in the company, it’s important to make the most out of this opportunity. With specialist industries such as IT or engineering, the types of questions you ask can make or break your chances of landing your dream role. Capture your future employer’s role by asking one of the following questions, and show that you are the perfect candidate.
What experiences and skills do you seek from the ideal candidate?
This question allows you to find out exactly what the interviewer and company are looking for, providing much more depth than the job description. If the interviewer mentions a skill or experience that you have, but haven’t included in your CV or through the answers you’ve given, now is the chance to let them know.
Why has the need for this vacancy arisen?
As much as this may seem obvious, it’s important to know whether this is a new role or whether you are replacing a previous employee. This will offer you a better insight into employee retention and whether there is much progression within the company.
What do you like about working here?
Especially important within permanent positions, this question allows you to connect to the interviewer on a more personal level. Offering you insights into the company culture and employee satisfaction, this question is still important to ask, even if you are interviewing with the owner of the company.
Are there any opportunities for training or further education?
Within the engineering and technology sectors, showing that you are willing to learn and grow will shine positivity on you as a candidate. Regardless of how senior the role may be, there are always things that you can learn and acknowledging this will set you above your competition.
Is there scope for progression within the company? 
This question should go hand-in-hand with any queries about training or further education. In a similar light, this shows that you want to be a valued asset within their business, highlighting your commitment and drive. The answer will also help you decide whether the career path they have planned matches with where you see yourself progressing to.
What is the next step in your hiring process?
Perfect for wrapping up the interview, this question shows that you are interested in the position and want to move forward. Knowing about any other interview stages, or how long to wait before hearing a response will also put you in a strong position moving forward.
At Austin Fraser, we provide a consultancy service to technical IT and engineering candidates seeking new opportunities. Whether you’re looking for a change of career and want to make sure you know the key questions to ask at your next interview then why not start by giving one of our specialists a call on 0118 959 6689.


An artificial future: Government officials investigate robotics in the workplace.

The worldwide digital revolution is never very far from news headlines. Bringing with it opportunities to progress technology as we know it today, all industries are now becoming affected by automation. These advancements, when applied to the workplace, have the potential to significantly change the face of business, as well as the personnel conducting it. A loss of jobs is inevitable as functions and services become redundant. Economists have estimated that around 35% of current jobs could be at risk, causing Government officials to investigate the impact of rapid developments within robotics.
Entitled the ‘Whitehall Inquiry,’ this investigation will look at the trades on the global market that are already using AI and how this could impact future workforces, as well as social environments. The Business Insider recently reported that IBM’s Watson is already being used to analyse millions of pages of medical texts and tens of thousands of cases, to assist in patient diagnoses. It is also common knowledge that robotic devices are being used during surgery.
With other technological breakthroughs such as driverless cars on the horizon, it’s important to remember that these open the door to a mass of new opportunities. A recent KPMG report claims that driverless cars alone will create 320,000 jobs in the UK, with 25,000 of those being in automotive manufacturing.
Former science minister David Willetts commented that ‘So perhaps taxi drivers will be replaced by technology, but 100 years ago there were people driving hansom cabs, we were using horse-drawn cabs to get around. As technology changes, so do the types of jobs. I think in the future there will be new jobs that nobody has yet conceived’.
As technology changes within all sectors, so will the impact on existing job functions. Although many jobs will become redundant in the short term, these new advancements will create a wealth of opportunity within emerging sectors. Businesses that remain open to these changes and are able to adapt their business models, recruitment strategy and continue to hire personnel with appropriate skill sets will be industry leaders in the digital transformation.