With 585-plus members of the team, our HR team has a lot of people to look after, not to mention recruiting new members to join the team.
With January the time of year when most people start to think about looking for a new position, we caught up with HR Director Thea McCormack, HR advisor Hannah Craske and HR assistant Hannah Spriggs to find out about their roles, and top tips for CVs and interviews.
How long have you been working at Potters?
Thea: “15 years. I came from Bourne Leisure and it’s amazing how Potters has grown in that time. We had 350 working at Potters when I first started and it was just me in the team, but I luckily did manage to get an assistant after a while as even then there was so much to do! We now have 585 in the team at Potters and three of us working in HR. I recruit at supervisor management level and above, and also am involved in a lot of strategic planning and health and safety is a big part of my role too. Plus I do a lot on the training side. I really enjoy the freedom that we get working for a family owned company and the trust they have in us to just get on with the job. It really is a lovely place to work and many people have been here for years, with our longest server being here 40 years, which does speak volumes about the ethos and culture we have here.”
Hannah C: “Around 16 months. There’s lots of paperwork to do, as well as interviewing, recruitment events and looking at new benefits and ways to motivate our team. We work closely with managers too to support them. I worked in HR for Motorplus insurance group for six years before I started with Potters.”
Hannah S: “10 years ago, and I’ve been working with HR for the last four years of that. There is no typical day as the phone will ring then you might have to do something completely different to what you thought you would that day, so there’s always lots of variety. In 2016 I completed a CIPD Diploma in Human Resource Management .”
What should or shouldn’t people do in an interview?
Thea: “I’d say presentation is key and just making sure you look neat and clean, and present yourself as well as you can.”
Hannah C: “Make sure they do their research on us and smile. Personality is important as you have to be a Potters person to work here, and most jobs now tend to be two interviews and a trial.”
Hannah S: “Even if you don’t wear a suit, if it’s not that sort of role, people should be clean and neat. We can train people for a lot of roles, so it’s having the right attitude to fit in too.”
What about CVs, any advice?
Thea: “No cover letter is a bugbear as we do have high expectations from the outset and want people to apply who really want the job. Also that there aren’t any coffee mug stains on your CV!”
Hannah C: “Try and make your CV stand out and think about changing your email if it’s a funny one as you want to look professional. Make sure you put dates beside the dates of where you worked too.”
Hannah S: “Have the correct contact details and also make sure you show your passion for why you want to work here. Sometimes people don’t change the CV or covering letter for the role they’re applying for.”
How many CVs do you get through a week on average?
Hannah C: “Around 10. We do also encourage people interested in a job to send us their CV, even if nothing is currently available as we’ll keep it on file. We probably do about five interviews every week.”
Hannah S: “We have a few new roles now opening up, including a security officer, trainee managers and part time restaurant staff. The best way to find out about new roles is on Just Jobs Norfolk.”
What qualities do you need to work in HR?
Hannah C: “You need to be approachable and friendly, and also professional as you will need to deal with confidential issues. It’s about multi-tasking too and you need to be organised.”
How are our apprenticeships going?
Thea: “Really well. We have a few apprentices and we want to stress that they are not just for school leavers, but anyone and they really help to build skills. One of our apprentices is Chris McColgan, who is currently studying Level 2 in catering, plus we have a marketing apprentice and more in other areas.”
Hannah C: “We also have a trainee manager programme too, which is fantastic. We have one person, Michael Hembrow, on the programme at the moment and he is going round different departments to learn about the business and starts his NVQ at the beginning of 2017. We are looking for more people in 2017.”
Hannah S: “We also work with local colleges like City College, Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth schools, and offer work experience too. We have a charity link with Inspired Youth and Anchorage Trust and we’ve been working closely on projects with them.”
What do you do when you’re not working?
Thea: “I have a four-year-old daughter so am kept busy with her, but it’s the most amazing thing being a mum.”
Hannah C: “I’m planning for my wedding in April, which is taking up most of my time.”
Hannah S: “I’m a tea drinker, and like socialising with friends and family. Also you can’t beat watching some reality TV to relax.”
Interested in working at Potters? Drop firstname.lastname@example.org an email.