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Candidate FAQs

Here we try to answer some of common questions we hear from the candidates that we work with

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IR35 is a set of off-payroll working rules designed to make sure that contractors pay roughly the same Income Tax and National Insurance as a permanent employee.

The legislation is designed to close a loophole in the current tax system that allows contractors to avoid paying Income Tax and National Insurance by supplying their services through a limited company.

If your contract is inside IR35: HMRC views you as an employee. You’ll pay Income Tax and National Insurance the same as employees do.

If your contract is outside IR35: HMRC views you as self-employed. You won’t need to pay Income Tax and National Insurance.

If you contract with public businesses, or large or medium private businesses, then it is not your responsibility to ascertain whether a role is in or outside IR35 - this falls to the client. Small private businesses are exempt from this, so the contractor is responsible for determining their own IR35 status in this instance.

A client is classed as a small business if they meet two of the following criteria for two or more consecutive financial years:

  • annual turnover of less than £10.2 million
  • balance sheet total of less than £5.1 million
  • less than 50 employees

You can find out more about IR35 on the government website, here.

If you’re looking for IT roles outside IR35, Applause IT can help. Our team of expert recruiters have years of experience pairing candidates with their perfect role, whether that’s contract, permanent, remote or on-site. Get in touch today to find out what IT contract jobs we have available.

A fixed-term contract is a type of employment agreement that spans a set time period, agreed by the employer and employee. This type of contract is mostly commonly employed to cover maternity leave, but it can also be used to span the length of a one-off project or to assist a business during a busy period.

While these contracts don’t have the same job security as a more traditional indefinite contract, they do offer workers more flexibility and the opportunity to gain experience in a variety of areas over their career. They’re also more common in the IT and tech industries, in order to recruit specialists to assist in short-term projects.

At Applause IT, we have over 20 years of experience in pairing candidates with the perfect role for them. Whatever your specialism, training, or working style, we can help. To enquire about our current fixed term contract positions, get in touch with the team today.

Before you reach the interview stage or speak to an employer, their first impression of you will likely be from your CV. Since it’s such an important document, it can be a daunting task to start writing one if you haven’t had to before.

If you’re not sure what to put on a CV, we’ve compiled a list of the things you’ll need to include, and tips from our recruitment consultants of what they look for from a candidate’s CV.

1. Personal details

On a logistical level, you’ll need to include your full name, address, phone number, and email address so that the recruiter or employer can enter you into their system and contact you as needed.

2. Personal statement

After your details, it’s time for your personal statement. This only needs to be brief, summarising your skills, experience, and why you’re suitable for the role.

Recruiter advice: always tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for. Taking the time to adjust your personal statement and previous experience to best fit the vacancy will help the hiring manager to immediately identify why you’re the right candidate.

3. Education

You should order your qualifications chronologically, starting with the most recent and making sure to include the name of the institution, the dates you attended, and the specific qualification you obtained.

4. Work experience

This is arguably the most important part of your CV, and what hiring managers will pay particular attention to. When listing your previous experience, it should be in chronological order for comprehensive reading. You should also be sure to include details around every year of your employment history, as hiring managers will pick up on any gaps in your work experience. While having gaps isn’t inherently a bad thing, interviewers will naturally be cautious if you don’t explain why they’re there.

For each role, break down the specifics of your roles, responsibilities, and skills - don’t just list them. It doesn’t have to be long, but a brief yet comprehensive explanation of your skills in each position will give your experience more weight.

Recruiter advice: Make sure that everything you list within your experience and skills is something you can discuss at length - hiring managers and interviewers will naturally want to discuss your experience to gain a greater insight into your skills, so it’s important that you can expand on anything you include.

5. Skills breakdown

If you feel it’s relevant, or you haven’t covered some of your skills in the work experience section, then you can list any skills you have that are relevant to the job you're applying for. Try not to include sweeping, generic statements like “team player”, as this doesn’t have much substance. Instead, this section should include specific skills that set you apart from the crowd - this could be software you’ve worked on, or perhaps a foreign language you speak.

6. Keep it concise

While it’s important to give details about key skills and experience, your CV should just be an overview of you as a candidate and it ideally shouldn’t be any more than two pages. It’s a starting block to show the hiring manager that you have the right skills for their vacancy - it’s then up to you to expand upon those points in an interview.

Recruiter advice: You shouldn’t need to write out the names and contact details of your references - this will just take up space. Instead, you can put “references available upon request” at the bottom of the page.

If it’s time for you to find a new opportunity, Applause IT can help. Get in touch today to talk through our latest vacancies with a member of the team.

In the world of software development, it can be difficult to decide what programming languages will be the most beneficial to learn, especially if you’re just starting out - after all, there are nearly 9000. Each one is different, and each has its own benefits depending on what you’re developing.

To help you narrow it down, here are our picks for the best programming languages to learn depending on what you’ll be coding.

Best for beginners: Python

Simple to understand and easy to learn, Python is a popular choice for newcomers and experienced developers alike. It’s often used for everything from machine learning to web development, and its intuitive setup means that you can develop rapidly.

Best for versatility: Java

Commonly known as a “write once, run anywhere” language, Java is a perfect all-rounder choice if you’re not sure exactly what you’ll be developing. It can be run on any device with the JavaVirtual Machine (JVM) installed, regardless of the underlying OS, and is highly secure. Java uses an object-oriented design which means it’s easy for developers to create reusable and modular code.

Best for web development: JavaScript

Powering more than 98% of the entire internet, JavaScript is perfect for front-end developers. It allows you to build dynamic and interactive elements into your site, and its many libraries mean that it’s relatively simple to expand your knowledge. Plus, with runtime environments like Node.js, JavaScript can be used for back-end development too.

Best for developing programs for Microsoft: C#

Developed by Microsoft as part of its .NET framework, C# is the perfect choice if you plan to work on Windows software long-term. While more complex than beginner-friendly languages like Python, it’s still much simpler to learn and use than C and C++.

Best for mobile development: Kotlin and Swift

Used for Android and IOS respectively, Kotlin and Swift are ideal for mobile developers. Thanks to their concise syntax, both languages allow efficient coding that’s easy to maintain. Both Kotlin and Swift can also be used for server-side development.

If you’re looking for your next Software Development role, whatever language you’re coding in, Applause IT can help. Browse our latest Software Development vacancies here, or get in touch to talk through your options with one of our friendly, specialist consultants.

We recommend that you only apply once for the same job. Especially if you have applied directly already, but then see the role advertised by a recruitment agency. Making another application in this instance is unlikely to benefit you. 

However, if you find another job you like the look of, you can apply for that too.

In the modern world, many interviews happen online. Video calls are ideal for candidates and employers to meet without needing to worry about logistics or travel. With this new interview format, though, comes new challenges. If you’re preparing for a video interview, check out our top tips to make the perfect first impression.

Dress to impress: Many of us have gotten used to casual attire when working from home, but it's worth smartening up for a virtual interview. First impressions matter, and although you’re meeting the interviewer through a screen, they’ll still form their opinion of you through your appearance, so dress as smartly as you would for an in-person interview.

Be prepared: Whether the interview is in-person or online, a basic knowledge of your potential business is essential. Research the company’s background, current projects, and future goals - it’ll help you to structure your answers around their plans, as well as demonstrate your initiative and interest in the business.

Check your tech: The last thing you want two minutes before your virtual interview is to find out that your camera is broken, or your wi-fi is down. To keep everything running smoothly, prepare your interview set-up earlier in the day, or even the night before, to give yourself plenty of time to troubleshoot any problems.

Ask questions: Employers want to know that you’re invested in the role you’re applying for and have an active interest in finding out more about it, so asking questions about the business and the role will make a good impression, and also give you more information. Before the interview, prepare a list of things to ask the interviewers about the vacancy, from a typical day in the role to the company’s five-year plan.

Make eye contact: It happens almost automatically in person, but eye contact is important to focus on for an online interview. Virtual meetings can sometimes feel impersonal or awkward if you’re not used to them, so try to sustain eye contact with your interviewer for around 60-70% of the time. This creates a feeling of confidence and familiarity, even if you’re not feeling comfortable. It’ll also convey professionalism to the interviewer, and help with building trust.

A career in recruitment isn’t for everyone. You need to be driven, goal-oriented, and willing to go the extra mile for your candidates and clients. If this sounds like you, then a career in recruitment might be your perfect next step.

Recruitment can lead all over the country, and all over the world. It also comes in many forms - internal and in-house recruiters, external recruitment agencies, and in a wide variety of sectors. Few jobs have as much scope or as much opportunity for personal development.

One of the biggest pulls of recruitment - why the UK has the third largest recruitment sector in the world - is freedom. Freedom to unlock your full earning potential with commission and bonuses. Freedom to drive further towards your goals. Freedom to develop and upskill into a full 360 consultant. 

If you’re wondering how to start a career in recruitment, look no further. At Applause IT, we have over 20 years of experience in the Technology, Digital and Software Sales industries, and we’re always looking for someone like you to join the team. Our hiring strategy consists of sourcing the very best grass-roots talent and helping to mould graduates into fully-fledged 360 consultants or delivery specialists, with mentorship, full training, and unlimited advice. 

We’re experts in our field, so there’s no one better to get you started on a career in recruitment. To speak to us about our latest roles and opportunities, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, and you’ll want to make sure that you answer the interviewer’s questions in a detailed and considered way. However, it’s easy to forget that an interview is also a chance for you to ask any questions you have about the role and the company.

Not only that, but many hiring managers actually prefer candidates to ask questions - it shows good initiative, which is a highly sought-after quality, and that you’re invested in the role. So, if you’re wondering what questions to ask in an interview, we’ve compiled ten things to say to learn more about the business, the vacancy, and what they’re looking for in a candidate.
Can you talk me through a recent project the team worked on?

During an interview, many candidates will ask about the day-to-day tasks of the role they’re interviewing for, or what a typical week might look like. While this can give you an idea of what you’ll be working on, a lot of it can be speculative and won’t give you much insight into how the role fits into the wider business.

So, a better question to ask is whether they can talk you through a recent project that the team or business has worked on. This gives you a real and tangible concept to discuss, and the interviewer will likely be able to talk you through it in a lot more detail than a theoretical day in the life of the role. 

It also gives you a good idea of how the wider team works together, what each person’s role is, and in what capacity you’ll be collaborating with them. So in asking one question, you’ve ascertained what responsibilities you might have in a real project, how you’ll carry out these responsibilities in collaboration with the rest of the team, and also how the team works together to achieve its aims.
What is the company’s attitude towards remote working and flexible schedules?#

Post-pandemic life has given us an entirely new perspective on what it means to work flexibly, and fully remote and hybrid working environments are becoming more and more sought after.

Most job descriptions will specify if the role can be carried out remotely, either on a full-time or hybrid basis, but we’d advise asking at the interview stage so you aren’t left disappointed when you start the role. Plus, it may well be that there are flexible options available on a case-by-case basis, so it’s worth asking if full or part-remote working is important to you.
What opportunities will there be for progression in this role?

Careers are made of stepping stones, especially in fast-paced and ever-evolving industries like tech and IT. It’s natural that you’ll be thinking about your long-term prospects when finding a new role, so don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer about the opportunities for progression in the business.

Knowing about the potential growth and development opportunities can help you determine if the role is a good fit for your long-term goals. It also shows the interviewer that you’re keen to invest your time into the business long-term if the opportunities are available, which can be really desirable.
Do you have any reservations or concerns about my suitability for the role that I can alleviate?

This can be a nerve-wracking question to ask, but one that may make the difference between a job offer and a rejection. While it may feel counter-intuitive to ask an interviewer to consider your shortcomings or knowledge gaps, it gives you a chance to change their opinion.

Being aware of any concerns allows you to clear up any misunderstandings and provide any additional information that might change their perspective. For example, you may have some tech experience from a previous role that wasn’t clear on your CV, which could make a big difference to the interviewer. It also shows that you’re proactive in seeking constructive criticism in order to improve, as well as demonstrating your confidence.
How would you describe the business’s culture and social life?

While the technicalities of a role will play a big part in your opinion of a business, you should also consider the workplace culture. The social atmosphere of a business will have a big impact on your motivation, productivity, and general well-being. You need to evaluate whether the business’s ethos and culture suit what you’re looking for, especially if you’re applying for a permanent position.

There’s no one better to describe a company’s social climate than someone who already works there, so don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer for an insight into the atmosphere of the business.
How does the company support professional development and continued upskilling?

Tech is a fast-evolving industry, and it’s often beneficial, if not essential, to retrain on new software and systems. Asking at the interview stage how the company facilitates learning and development can be a great way to gauge how forward-thinking and willing they are to adapt to change. Consistently improving your technical knowledge is often a main priority for tech candidates, so figuring out whether a company will help you to do this is important.
What training and support systems are available for new hires?

Whether you’re starting a junior role or a more senior position, it’s always worth asking about the training available to new starters, especially for IT roles. Technology is constantly evolving, and any additional on-site training can help you adjust to both the technical aspects of the role and also the company’s goals and ways of working.

If they don’t offer any internal training schemes, it’s also worth asking whether they fund external training or upskilling courses; they may not have the capacity to offer internal training, but are willing to pay for you to take external courses to improve your technical knowledge.
How does the company approach innovation and the implementation of new technologies?

A company’s attitude to new technology can say a lot about its core values and culture - an organisation placing a high value on new methods and innovations is likely to be dynamic and open to change, while less focus on innovation can indicate a more traditional or risk-averse culture. This can help you to evaluate how the business’s culture and working style fits with your own goals and priorities.

If you’re interviewing for an IT or tech position, you’ll be even more concerned with the company’s attitude towards innovation and new technology. Keeping up with emerging technologies and the latest advancements will help to keep your CV in-date and valuable to future employers, as well as help to improve your job satisfaction.

Why has this vacancy become available?
Jobs can become available for a multitude of reasons. Figuring out how and why the role you’re interviewing for has become vacant can give you some valuable insights into the business and its turnover rate. It’s natural for employees to move on to other opportunities, but losing staff at a high rate may indicate a deeper problem. On the other hand, company growth may have created the need for a new role - an evolving and thriving organisation can be an exciting place to work and indicates that there are opportunities for promotion and advancement in the future as the business continues to grow.
The way the hiring manager answers this question can also tell you a lot - any hesitant or cagey responses may indicate a business culture that’s less than transparent.

What attracted you to this business?
A job interview is a chance for you to figure out the benefits to joining a business - and there’s no one better to help than someone who already works there. Your interviewer can give you some valuable insights into the company’s culture, goals, working methods, and perks that you may not have been aware of. Hearing the perspective of a real employee is likely to resonate more than reading a list of perks from a job description or company website, and this human insight can be really valuable in making a decision.

Searching for a job on your own can be hard work, whether you’re a graduate or a manager, looking for a permanent role or a contract. It can be difficult to figure out your priorities, or how to go about finding your perfect role. That’s why we’re here. Working with a recruitment agency can take the stress out of job-hunting, and there are plenty of benefits:

It’s free: for candidates, there are absolutely no fees to working with a recruitment consultancy. Companies hire us to find them the perfect candidate for their role, so there’s no payment or cost to you. Instead, we’re here to help your job search, with our advice, expertise, and industry connections to find your dream role.

We have industry connections: we’ve been in business for over 20 years, and we’re proud of the working relationships that we’ve built up in that time. These long-established connections and contacts give us access to hundreds of roles, often before they’re advertised on job boards, so we can connect you with opportunities that you wouldn’t find on your own.

It’s convenient: looking for a job takes a lot of time, especially if you’re operating in a niche area. Between your current role and social and familial obligations, it can be difficult to find the time to search. Working with a recruitment agency takes the hard work out of job-hunting - we’ll handle the search, CV formatting, interview arrangements, and salary negotiations on your behalf, so you can focus on your other priorities, worry-free.

We’re industry experts: many agencies will specialise in a distinct industry, especially in more technical fields like IT and tech. Our consultants each specialise in specific IT and digital areas, including Software Engineering, Data and BI, DevOps, and more. We’re on top of the latest innovations, emerging trends, and hiring tendencies, so you’ll be ahead of the curve.

It adds the personal touch: getting to know you and your priorities is a vital part of a recruitment agency’s process. It helps to figure out exactly what type of role aligns with your goals, and what kind of business you’ll thrive in. Working with an agency means receiving tailored advice and potential jobs, specific to you.

At Applause IT, your job search is our priority. We’re here to find your next opportunity, and guide you through the entire process, start to finish. To find out more about our current opportunities in your specialism, check out our latest adverts, or speak to one of the team.