You do what you eat – tapping in to your second brain

You Do What You Eat - Tapping In To Your Second Brain

​‘With a sophisticated neural network transmitting messages from trillions of bacteria, the brain in your gut exerts a powerful influence over the one in your head’.

Millions of partners, friends and family members across the world are finding themselves in a polarised predicament with big decisions to make. Always together or always apart?


I find myself in the latter and I have friends facing the former. Either way, the ‘happy medium’ and ‘healthy balance’ we strive for in our personal relationships has never seemed further away or is too close for comfort.


This isn’t an article about relationship advice.

I felt, like many others, depressed and defeated with the situation. However, I told my partner that I just had a feeling that things will be great again and we need to keep on keeping on… a feeling that this pain will all be worthwhile even though the end isn’t in sight just yet. I made a decision based on my gut feeling and it felt right.


My partner has a mild addiction to TED talks and so was immediately on YouTube checking out what experts were saying about gut feelings and relationships.

What she stumbled across was actually even more interesting and relevant than what we were expecting…



I found out that:


–      The gut is responsible for upwards of 80% of our body’s serotonin production aka your organic happy drug and natural anti-depressant.

–      We have more neurons in our gut than in our spinal cord.

–      Our brain (CNS) and gut (ENS) communicate with one and other. This is known as the ‘Gut-Brain Axis’.

–      Our ENS or ‘second brain’ can operate and think completely independently of our CNS and influences our mood, emotion and mental wellbeing.

–      Our microbiome, the symbiotic bacteria that live in our gut, outnumber all of our body’s own cells by 10 to 1.

–      Our gut doesn’t just help us digest food and harness energy, but also fight diseases and infections by boosting our immune systems.


I started to try to comprehend how my gut, something associated with the ‘messy’ emotive work, could be playing a masterful role in my mental wellbeing, ability to fight off infections and key decision making: three key challenges we’re all facing during these times of uncertainty.


It sounds obvious now, but I do feel more energised, motivated and cheerful when I eat a healthy, mixed diet. I always presumed this was my brain telling my body I’d been good, not the other way around. I always associated getting ill after a big holiday with ‘dirty aeroplane air’. The fact is the air on a plane is filtered and is particularly clean as a result. It’s more likely that binging on alcohol and unhealthy food whilst on holiday is what hampers my immune system by knocking my microbiome off balance.

Ever really enjoyed eating a 12-inch pizza and drinking a full-sugar Coca Cola at the time but felt depressed later on?


I’ve found it so helpful to follow really good tips for keeping my mind active and at ease with home exercise routines, reading and keeping in touch with friends and family via Zoom or Skype. I’m now sharing my focus on how to best look after my gut in order to keep my mind happy and ensure my immune system is fighting fit so that I’m in the right place to hit the ground running once lockdown and social distancing restrictions are lifted.


Decision making is crucial. We can’t rely too much on what’s happened in the past when what we’re facing is unprecedented, inconsistent and unpredictable. The decisions you make over the coming weeks, months and rest of the year could be magnified as our surroundings are uncertain. Some hiring managers are being proactive, others are pausing completely. The best candidates are more easily approachable than ever, but they need more reassurance. Businesses are consolidating and some are gaining a competitive advantage.

Keep a healthy gut and go with it. If you gut is saying you’d like some advice on your hiring strategy then give us call – no obligation.




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Friday fright night – halloween recruitment fears

Five Things We Learnt From SemiConEuropa 2021

Nathan is the only member of the team who lives alone so we asked what might leave him sleeping with the light on as we approach Hallowe’en this weekend:

“Specifically, ghosts and in general, trying to score an actual date via online dating app.”

​We all know that online dating can be terrifying, but has an experience with a recruiter ever left you with the kind of bad aftertaste you might have after a negative dating experience? Have you ever been left not knowing where you stand in the same way as when a romantic interest doesn’t reply to your texts?

“As technology continues to change our attitudes and approach to communication, the likelihood is that you will experience ghosting not only in your personal life but in professional contexts too, and the job seeking and hiring process is no exception.

Increased levels of ghosting have typically been attributed to a candidate-led employment market with high levels of competition for roles. Data indicates that ghosting has ‘become normalised behaviour within the hiring process’, but this doesn’t mean that this behavioural trend is without adverse effects. According to a report by the recruitment software company Tribepad, over two-thirds of job applicants have been ghosted by a recruiter, and of those who responded, 86% were left feeling down or depressed as a result of the experience. Ghosting is having a real impact on jobseekers’ mental health, to such an extent that Tribepad has launched a campaign called End Ghosting to create greater awareness of the problem of ghosting in recruitment.

It’s understandable then that there have been numerous calls on social media for an end to this worrying trend”.

What’s causing this?

“I know first-hand that people are less likely to respond to my approaches as they either believe the opportunity isn’t genuine and/or the likelihood of being left hanging by a recruiter during the assessment process is too scary a proposition.

This is obviously frustrating as I’m comfortable engaging with people when I don’t have a live vacancy and my Tinder pictures are as real as the come, and I’ll be honest about this. Most of what I do in recruitment is candidate-led and I enjoy building trusted relationships with people. I can empathise with candidates who aren’t always as keen to engage and it’s understandable how this problem manifests itself.Attractive candidates are being super-liked more than ever and the demand for some recruiters to get numbers on the board is high”.

So how can we stop the ghosting cycle?

“I don’t think there’s a fool-proof solution but as recruiters, we have to commit to putting our best foot forward by taking the time to target the right candidates with the right roles instead of swiping right on every LinkedIn profile with a matching keyword, or penchant for pet pics. Maybe recruiters need to be more transparent about what we’re offering upfront as well, divulging more information about the package and perks from the off, which are usually more like second or third date topics – each to their own”.


How can we move forward?

“I do honestly believe that the role of a recruiter in the matchmaking process can be underrated, overlooked or not understood. I think candidates would agree that the fear of not knowing is worse than finding out you’re not the right fit. I back myself as being more likely to get a response from a hiring manager than if you apply direct and will do my best to outline and manage expectations without making false promises.

 As in our personal lives, ending ghosting in recruitment requires a commitment to honesty, transparency and empathy within relationships. Communication is a key aspect of any good relationship, and better communication throughout the hiring process, both between the employer and recruiter and between the recruiter and candidate, would go a long way to minimise the impact of ghosting in the hiring process”.

I’d be interested to hear what candidates need to know about an opportunity to initiate engagement – whether positive or negative.

I’d also like to hear what candidates most enjoy about having a recruiter as a wing-person and what they would like to be done differently. 


Reviewing candidate profiles: why every minute counts

Reviewing Candidate Profiles: Why Every Minute Counts

We recently talked to Client Manager Louise Shorrock about how important it is to offer feedback on candidate profiles in a timely manner when working with a recruiter. Here are her thoughts on the time-sensitive nature of recruitment and how hiring managers can make this work to their advantage.

How can time become an issue in the recruitment process?

As recruiters we often find ourselves in a catch-22 situation: the hiring manager is overwhelmed with work and desperately needs to hire another team member in order to be able to focus on their own role, but because they are so busy, they are unable to invest the time needed to play their part in the recruitment process. 

What kind of difficulties can this lead to?

Candidates can become frustrated with a slow hiring process to the extent that they disengage completely. Conversely, the faster you are able to provide feedback on candidate profiles, the more likely it is that you will hire a top candidate, as those candidates know their worth and will simultaneously be looking for roles in different companies. The most sought-after candidates are more likely to be snapped up quickly, so time is of the essence.

Are there any other consequences that hiring managers should be aware of? 

Yes. Any delays in the early stages of a search can and do multiply: waiting several days after the agreed timeframe to send feedback on an initial presentation of candidate profiles could easily lead to a delay of weeks or more, as some or all of the candidates presented may no longer be available, which means your recruiter will have to begin their search again and find new candidates.

It’s also important to note that delays in the review process have an impact on candidates’ perceptions of both the hiring company and the recruiter involved. As your recruiter will be communicating regularly with candidates and keeping them informed of their progress, when a delay occurs, their correspondence with candidates effectively becomes a series of ‘no-update updates’. This creates a bad impression for both parties and ultimately this could cause a candidate to question whether they would want to work for you as an employer.

Can all of this be avoided? How?

The key is in the communication between the recruiter and the hiring manager. I personally will discuss and agree on expectations at the beginning of a search campaign, including an agreed-upon time limit for profile reviews. Once that time has elapsed, I then know to follow up with the hiring manager to remind them to give feedback. This works as a kind of unofficial Service Level Agreement between both parties to make sure the process keeps moving forward. I would also always make sure that I have the contact details of more than one person who is involved in the hiring process in case delays occur as a result of unexpected absences.

Is there any other advice you would offer to hiring managers?

From our perspective, any feedback on potential candidates is good feedback. Even if the feedback is negative, this can help your recruiter home in on what’s important to you, and it can shape discussions on whether the salary offered is going to match the skillset needed, for example. I will always aim to find and present one or two candidates relatively early in the search process, as the feedback helps me to gauge the parameters and allows me to find better suited candidates.



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Are you ready to commit to your recruiter?

Are You Ready To Commit Your Recruit?

At this time of year, commitment and relationships might be at the forefront of our minds, but have you thought about how commitment (or a lack of it) affects your relationship with your recruiter? Search Consultant Nathan Falconer is here to explain:

Are there really any similarities between romantic relationships and recruitment?

[Laughs] Possibly. There seems to be a parallel with the early stages of dating, when you might have a short-term mindset and date several people simultaneously, as it’s common for clients to engage more than one recruiter on a search campaign. But as happens with this kind of dating, there comes a point where you might decide that this isn’t working in the long term, and that’s when we would recommend talking to your recruiter about other options.

What options do those looking to hire have?

Here at Delve we work with clients on both a retained and a contingent basis, dependant on the circumstances. Contingency recruitment works on a no-win-no-fee basis, in which the recruiter is only paid if they succeed in finding a suitable candidate who the employer is willing to hire. This is the most common arrangement in recruitment, so clients aren’t always aware that there is an alternative. Retained search, on the other hand, involves paying a non-refundable fee for the undertaking of agreed search services. This fee represents a percentage of the overall cost, usually around a third.

What is the impact of these two different models?

In contingency work, the recruiter has no guarantee that they will be paid for the work they carry out on any given project. Recruiting firms which work on this basis therefore often take on more projects than they can expect to successfully complete, which in turn means that their recruiters have less time to work on any given assignment. A recruiter working on a contingent basis will therefore choose to work on roles which will be easier to fill or where they think they can beat the competition, which means they won’t necessarily be prioritising your assignment.

But aren’t two (or more) recruiters better than one?

It will always depend on the situation, but the short answer is not necessarily. Firstly, if recruiters know that they are competing to fill a role, then working quickly will become more important than doing good work, as they are in direct competition with other recruiters to find the first suitable candidate. Secondly, multiple recruiters will discuss the same role with the same candidates, and as a result may even put forward the same candidates for the role. This can lead to candidates having a less than optimal impression of the hiring company

What about the alternative: exclusivity?

It may not be right for every role, but deciding to pay a retainer and work exclusively with a recruiter comes with a number of benefits. Working on a retained basis means that the recruiter can take the time to prioritise your hiring assignment and to focus on the role in question. They will also improve the way in which they present the role to prospective candidates because they are able to work in a more focused manner, and as a result they are more likely to find better candidates.

Retained search results in a more engaged process from both sides: it allows the recruiter to really get to know the employer and their business culture, which means they are more likely to find a candidate who is a good fit, and it means that you, the employer, are more engaged in the process. Working on an agreed basis means that you are kept informed of developments in the search process.

 But isn’t there additional risk in paying a retainer?

Although the upfront cost of retained search is an obvious concern, it’s worth noting that the overall cost remains the same as working on a contingent basis – the only difference is that a percentage of the recruiter’s fee is paid prior to the introduction of the new employee to the employer’s company. Some might also worry about whether the recruiter will take the retained fee without following through on finding a suitable candidate, ‘will they take my money and run?’ The reality is that this would ultimately do more harm to the recruiter in the long run, and that not completing the agreed search would do serious damage to the recruiter’s reputation and their relationship with you, the employer.

If you’re now questioning whether your hiring strategy is really working for you, feel free to get in touch.


Employer branding: what is it and why does it matter?

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Candidates have long been aware that potential new employers will look at their social media profiles and examine their online lives prior to a job interview, but employers should be aware that the reverse is also true. Before the advent of the internet and social media it wasn’t always straightforward to scope out a new employer, but now the opportunities abound, and candidates are making the most of them.

Job applicants expect to get a feeling for a company’s true culture (not just what is projected in corporate values and mission statements), chances for career progression and collegial atmosphere. Websites like Glassdoor also give candidates an opportunity to hear the honest truth about working for your company from current and former employees. Awareness of this phenomenon has led many companies to adopt an employer branding strategy in order to compete better in the employment market and to increase employee retention and engagement.

But what is your employer brand? Essentially, your employer brand is the perception of your company held by past, current and potential future employees. So whether you consciously work on it or not, all companies have an employer brand. When thinking about the brand you want to present to job applicants, you’ll obviously want to portray your company in the best possible light. Just as you will have spent time creating a compelling brand story about your products or services, the idea here is to develop a strong employer brand to attract and retain talented employees.

So hopefully we’ve convinced you as to why you should implement an employer branding strategy. Now we’d like to share some helpful advice as to how to go about that. Before we begin, you should be aware that whilst there are actions you can take to enhance your employer brand, there will always be certain aspects which are out of your control, as they concern employees’ and potential future employees’ perceptions of your company. The good news is that these perceptions will ultimately be impacted by the work you do to cultivate your employer brand.

  1. Audit your current brand

The first logical step in implementing an employer branding strategy is to take the time to understand your existing employer brand through research. This can involve interviewing employees to understand their attitudes and behaviour – you could use a staff attitude survey or conduct focus groups. You should also conduct research externally by looking at your social media profiles and internet presence, and you could consider working with firms that conduct reputation monitoring.


  1. Define your employer value proposition (EVP)

Your EVP describes what you stand for, require, and offer as an employer. This should clearly convey to potential candidates why they would want to become a member of your team. Your EVP should be present at every step during the hiring process, but it needs to be especially well communicated on your website, as this is where candidates come to research your brand. 


  1. Determine your company’s unique offering

Establishing what makes your company stand out from the competition should form an important part of your brand story. Here you’ll want to reference your organisation’s mission statement, values, social responsibilities and culture. Determining your company’s unique offering feeds into your employer branding strategy by outlining why a team member would choose to join or stay with your company over a competitor.


  1. Work on your diversity strategy and inclusivity in your hiring

This is a long-term goal rather than a short-term fix, but your company culture will always influence your employer brand. You should therefore make sure your hiring strategy fosters a diverse and inclusive company culture. However, it doesn’t stop there, as new hires need to feel welcomed and that their viewpoints are respected, so your diversity and inclusivity strategy needs to be an ongoing process, rather than simply a tick box exercise.


  1. Empower employees to become ambassadors

Research has shown that people consistently value peer recommendations over direct communications from businesses. You can use this to your advantage by encouraging current employees to become ambassadors for your company, both offline and online. If you can incite employees to share their own experiences of working for your company in writing, photographs or videos, it can have a significantly positive impact on your employer brand.


Are you wondering about the role of employer branding in your hiring strategy? Please feel free to reach out to me directly to talk about how this could assist with your recruitment needs.