recruitment and

recruitment services
two circles


Based in Northampton, Johnson Underwood are the highly skilled and experienced team you can trust. Established in 1990, our recruitment agency has gone from strength to strength, continuously evolving with ever changing employment sectors to ensure we can provide you with a first class service.   
two circles


Together, we bring refined knowledge and experience in a range of sectors including accountancy and finance, commercial and office, sales and marketing, human resources, legal, IT, ancillary support, catering and many more. If you are looking to fill a vacancy, you can rely on our professional team to provide qualified candidates for temp, permanent, contract or interim roles. 

Read our latest JU Blog posts

JU Blog

By Carol Johnson 05 Jul, 2017

The Good Recruitment Campaign (GRC) is an initiative set up by the Recruitment Employment Confederation (REC) to help strengthen and develop recruitment practices by employers who are not members of the REC.

The REC was established in 1930 as the professional body for recruitment businesses in the UK and arguably one of the most important facets to their work is the setting of standards and best practice methods. In order to promote recruitment as an industry dedicated to ethical and fair procedures, 82% of the UK recruitment market are REC members and have to demonstrate commitment to upholding the principles in the REC Code of Practice.

To support their work and reach out to non-members, the REC launched the Good Recruitment Campaign in 2014 to “Continuously develop and champion the fundamentals of good recruitment.” (REC 2014). In addition to attracting organisations to the cause directly, the REC would like their members to promote the Campaign through discussions with their clients, both current and prospective. The REC have assembled information and tools to aid members with the promotion of the Campaign, including presentations and fact sheets. They encourage topics that outline the importance of employers acquiring the right talent, using staff to their full potential and explain the benefits that are possible to gain by signing up to the GRC and examples include: The Race for Talent, Candidate Focus and Brand Strength. The material is focused on explaining the benefits of singing up to the campaign, so let’s look at five of them in a bit more detail.

1.     Getting the Competitive Edge

One of the major benefits of an organisation signing up to the GRC is that, because they will be following the GRC Charter and have accepted the principles therein, it could be assumed by candidates that their recruitment practices are going to be fair and ethical. In addition, as part of the GRC, an organisation will be displayed on the register of signatories which enforces the positive message about the organisation to all potential candidates and clients and may contribute to them attracting more talent.

2.     Recruitment Evaluation

When a company signs-up to the GRC they will be sent a Self-Assessment Toolkit with which to measure their current processes and practices against the standards and principles that are upheld by the REC. This can be seen as a great way to instigate new initiatives and projects within HR teams in addition to checking that any contracted partners are working to a particular standard. A company that makes use of the Toolkit could also use it to help start a healthy dialogue with their staff about the processes they went through when they became employees.

3.     Learning and Evolving with Knowledge

What could be considered one of the highlights of the campaign, is the access to the Good Recruitment Hub; an online resources library provided by the REC that contains up-to-date research, advice, guidelines and data for signatories to read and use. It covers issues around youth employment, diversity and inclusion, employer brand, different facets of the resourcing process and more. In a presentation, that is for REC members to show current and prospective clients, the Good Recruitment Hub is described as “A hub where research, data, guides and good practice can be located, used and supplied” including “New research around the importance of supply chain management, candidate experience, and digital work platforms”. This could be seen as an invaluable tool to have at the disposal of any organisation that hires staff.

4.     Cultivating Information in a Community

In addition to having access to the resources that the Good Recruitment Hub has to offer, another benefit is the networking and communication opportunities with other employers who have a similar dedication to recruitment best practice. There are opportunities to attend workshops and networking events and complimentary places at the annual REC Talent, Recruitment and Employment Conference. According to the information available on the GRC members area webpages, over 130 organisations have already signed up to take part in the GRC, including Royal Mail, Npower, Virgin Media and Mercedes Benz, providing an opportunity to start a dialogue and connect with a like-minded community, sharing research and best practice for the benefit of good recruitment and growing awareness of it.

5.     The Good Recruitment Charter

The Good Recruitment Charter lays out the nine key principles that signatories will aspire to as part of the Good Recruitment Campaign. The online version of the guideline’s highlight published examples and guides to aid with understanding and implementation.

The Charter is a tool to be used at all stages of the recruitment process, whether it is solely in-house or in partnership with a third party, and can be used to improve and develop any procedures that are currently in place; with the aim of saving costs, and ensuring that candidates, whether successful or not, have a good experience with the organisations recruitment process.

The nine principles are as follows:

1. Diversity & Inclusion

2. Consistent Practice

3. Candidate Experience

4. Flexible Work

5. Professional Development

6. Recruitment Partners

7. Supply Chain

8. Youth Employment

9. Process improvement

In this blog, we’ve touched on the competitive advantage, access to research and insights, assessment and improvement of recruitment practices and fresh engagement with a new community of like-minded organisations that are benefits of signing up to the GRC. There are also some additional benefits that the REC highlights when promoting their campaign:

  • It encourages effective partnerships between businesses and recruitment partners
  • It produces a more agreeable and nicer experience for candidates
  • It standardises practices of in-house recruitment processes and methods
  • It enables collaboration and relationship building with HR/Recruitment forerunners from key successful businesses

Although it would be a challenge for some organisations to meet the nine principles straight away, it could be said that it would be a challenge worth facing considering the variety of benefits it may bring.

Johnson Underwood are members of the REC, you can find out more about how we champion the Good Recruitment Campaign by calling us on 01604 626162. You can also visit the REC and Good Recruitment Campaign websites to find out more about them.


By Carol Johnson 07 Jun, 2017

In preparation for going to watch Alien Covenant at the cinema last week, I decided to watch all the main Alien films so I would know what was going on. I’ve only recently started working in recruitment, and whilst I was watching Aliens, I started thinking about interviewing the character of Ellen Ripley, for a new job. The answers I imagined her giving me for “Tell me about your most recent role” made me chuckle and got me thinking about how other movie characters would answer some basic interview questions if they went for a new job.

So please read on for my 10 interview questions for movie characters, and beware that there are a few spoilers!

The Lord of the Interviews

My train of thought prompted some great conversations with my colleagues about movie characters they’d like to interview and a debate as to whether you could consider that Frodo Baggins had a bad job, or was it technically a bad volunteering position? Either way, as our first candidate, his transferable skills of perseverance and teamwork would inevitably be called into question when asked, “Tell me about the last time you completed a project from planning stages to successful delivery?” .


Interview with an Alien

Our second candidate is Ellen Ripley; the hero of Alien, Aliens and Alien 3. She starts the first film as a Warrant Officer, and by end of the third film has had to kill herself to stop the Weyland-Yutani Corporation  from taking the Alien queen inside her, to use as a biological weapon. The Weyland-Yutani Corporation  are behind a few of the nasty surprises she gets, as well as contributing to her fear of androids and the loss of her space flight license so it would be hard for her not to condemn them as a former employer when asked “Tell me why you left your last job.” .



Being an astronaut in any film seems to usually spell doom for the character(s) involved but so seems to be any crew of an expedition- characters are either going to die, or be left behind. I love The Martian ’s Mark Watney as an example because his plight is so extreme. He is stranded but very much alive, becoming a survivor but instead of it being in a jungle or desert, it’s a different planet and he can’t just hunt or try to find water, he’s got to create food and water from basically nothing. As a character, I’d love to interview him when he’s decided to go for a new role, and ask, “What was the biggest challenge in your last role?” .


Defence Against the Interview Panel

I think teachers have a really interesting interviewing process; it usually involves a formal interview and then the candidate teaches a lesson with actual students, whilst the interviewers watch. This gives the candidate an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and knowledge as well as discuss them. As a professor at Hogwarts, which suffers from a very high turnover of staff for a particular subject (OFSTED trigger alert!), you are constantly trying to avoid daily interactions with potentially lethal kids, animals and plants. To make matters worse, even if you did manage to teach all your students to pass their exams and have avoided all the trouble all year, the headteacher, Professor Dumbledore, might just cancel all the exams anyway! This would make it extremely hard for our fourth candidate to answer interview questions like “How do you measure your students’ progress alongside the national average?” .


We’re ready to hire you

Working in any science field has its challenges and under-funding problems but as a Ghostbuster, not only does there only seem to be four of you at a time, but you will constantly be having to challenge people’s perceptions and beliefs of the subjects of your study. Not to mention that each time you successfully complete a mission, the clean-up is enormous and the publicity not always good. In all the Ghostbusters films, there are examples of when the team has had to explain their situation to people who disagree with, or don’t believe, them and usually they are proved right because inexplicable evidence suddenly appears. Regardless of the next job any of them went for, it would be difficult for them to answer the popular interview question, “Give an example of when you have successfully explained a complex technical issue, to someone who has not had any experience in that area.” .


Help me, hire you

Our sixth candidate, Jerry Maguire (from Jerry Maguire ), is fortunate to have a fictional moment that many real-life workers dream off- he storms out of work, standing up for his principles and takes a fish with him. He then risks everything to start his own agency and, like many real situations, has a really hard time getting it off the ground and running but I’d love to hear his answer to “Tell me about a time you took initiative with a new concept, how did it go?” .


Mutant and hired

Whether you are born with super powers, accumulate them through an accident, or build them yourself, a superhero’s job is not an easy one. Apart from having the stress of living through traumatic experiences, time after time, you also have to keep up appearances of your alter-ego and their job without showing you’re stressed out, probably injured from your crime-fighting nights and behind with your workload. For example, if Peter Parker left The Daily Bugle, what would his photography portfolio look like? I can tell you it would pretty much just be full of Spiderman photos, so, as our seventh candidate, how would he answer “How do you demonstrate creativity and variety in your photography subject matter?” . Similarly, how would Professor Xavier handle questions like “Tell me how you have maximised the use of current facilities at your school? What were the challenges you faced?” . And how would Clark Kent answer “Take me through your article planning process and three successful deadline submissions.” .

Prepare for interview awesomeness

Hospitality can be a very difficult and demanding industry to work in, whether it is as a career path, or as a stop-gap whilst you study or train to do something different, and people all over the world wait tables solely to get by, so they can succeed at their career aspirations one day. In Kung Fu Panda , the character of Po works in a noodle restaurant before becoming the Dragon Warrior and has picked up some great culinary skills that help him make friends and become a great kung fu fighter. As our tenth candidate, if you were interviewing him, would you believe his answer for, “What transferable skills can you bring from your past roles, to the one you are applying for?” .

The interview questions I’ve used in this article, are all examples of competency based questions; the answers to which, should include the action you have taken and the results of your work, to help give a more rounded, and specific, answer.

I’ve listed the questions below for reference and would love you to leave your comments if you have any ideas for interview questions and movie characters you’d ask them to. I’d also like to know, what is the worst interview question you’ve been asked?

  • Tell me about your most recent role
  • Tell me about the last time you completed a project from planning stages to successful delivery?
  • Tell me why you left your last job
  • What was the biggest challenge in your last role
  • How do you measure your students’ progress alongside the national average?
  • Give an example of when you have successfully explained a complex technical issue, to someone who has not had any experience in that area
  • Tell me about a time you took initiative with a new concept, how did it go?
  • How do you demonstrate creativity and variety in your photography subject matter?
  • Tell me how you have maximised the use of current facilities at your school? What were the challenges you faced?
  • Take me through your article planning process and three successful deadline submissions.
  • What transferable skills can you bring from your past roles, to the one you are applying for?

More Posts
cv icon

Contact Us

paper icon

Contact Us

Share by: