Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Social Networks and Recruitment - What's on MyFace?

Many Top-Consultant readers will already know the name Don Leslie. One of the founder-directors of Management Consultancy recruitment specialists BLT, Don is one of our industry's best-known recruiters. This week's blog entry is the first in a series of guest contributions from Don - who also blogs about Management Consultancy and recruitment on the BLT Blog,

What’s on MyFace?

As well as using social networking sites such as
Friends Reunited, MySpace and FaceBook to engage and recruit staff (as Ernst & Young are doing), employers are increasingly using these sites to carry out background checks. Although I haven’t heard of any consulting firms doing so, I’m sure they are. According to the Times, a survey of 600 British companies revealed that one in five had logged on to Facebook and other networking websites to vet potential employees. As Steve Bailey from noted in a recent article:

"We are increasingly asked to undertake media searches and Internet searches as part of our employee screening services and this looks to become a standard element in the future. The findings of these searches can provide valuable insight into personality and current and past events involving a particular candidate who has consented to background checks."

It seems that - finally – members of these social networking sites are realising what damage they might be doing to their career prospects through ‘inappropriate’ postings. Much has been made of the case of the Oxford undergraduate Alex Hill who was disciplined after the university accessed incriminating pictures on Facebook. Hill complained that "I don't know how this happened, especially as my privacy settings were such that only my friends and students in my networks could view my photos." The trouble of course is that it's not just about what you post. It's what others post about you. Here are two close calls I’ve heard about recently…

A friend – let’s call him James – was photographed on a beach. With his trousers down. And a firework between his buttocks. The sequence showed… well, it ended with a burnt bum. You can imagine the rest.

Another, a friend of a friend – let’s call her Alison – was mentioned in connection with some teenage shoplifting adventures.

Both are professionals in their late 30s/early 40s. The incidents were from years back. And – here’s the problem – they were posted on other people’s profiles. Now what would the outcome be if an employer or potential employer were carrying out a bit of due diligence?

Professional networking sites such as and are all very well. But social networking sites… I’m not so sure. Be careful. There’s more to them than you might think - undertaking due diligence on your own name might be a good start..

All views expressed in this article are those of Don Leslie and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Deloitte win 2nd "Consultants Challenge"

The Young MCA this week attracted 12 teams comprising 120 consultants to compete in the 2nd "Consultants Challenge" - a fun inter-firm competition in aid of the charity "Depaul Trust" sponsored the event for the 2nd year running and £1,600 was raised for charity during the night. This year we brought along ten of our team to "strengthen" any other firms who were short of team members on the night. A big thank you from us to all the firms for welcoming us into their teams with open arms (and my apologies to the KPMG team at this point, to whom my only significant contribution was a series of bull's eyes on the rifle range!).


With Accenture having won last year's event, this year's was keenly contested and the top six teams at the end of the night were:

1st place -- Deloitte (aka "Glitter")
2nd place -- PwC (aka "Police")
3rd place -- Atos Consulting (aka "Bowler Hats")
4th place -- BT Global Consulting (aka "Blues Brothers")
5th place -- Turner & Townsend (aka "Straw Hats")
6th place -- PA Consulting (aka "Vikings")

* aka names signifying the style of hat the teams had to wear throughout the competition!

A fun night was had by all and our thanks go to Natalia and the rest of the team at the MCA for organising such a great event.


Deloitte celebrate winning the trophy, flanked by honorary Top-Consultant team member Sacha Jackson

The KPMG team successfully identify 6 mystery cities, leading me to realise that gap years have moved on a fair bit since my days in the early 90s!
Tony Restell,

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Get your copy: Consulting supplement in today's Times newspaper

We've got a major consulting supplement appearing in today's Times newspaper. Looks like a good read for anyone wanting an update on trends and challenges in our industry.

You can get a free PDF of the supplement by clicking here

Happy reading!

Tony Restell

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Consultants in the dock again

So the Public Accounts Committee has found that of the £2bn + of public money being invested in the services of the consulting industry, around £500 million a year is being needlessly spent. If this is really the case, it seems staggering to me that consulting firms feel the full force of the resulting outcry. Surely if government mandarins squander 1/4 of all tax revenues entrusted to them, it is they that should be in the dock. If they'd spent this money jetting public sector workers around the world to watch every Formula 1 race in the calendar, it would be government rather than Formula 1 bosses in the dock.

Yet this is the peculiar way in which the media report on anything to do with the consulting industry. Conveniently overlooking the fact that these public sector contracts are not hugely lucrative (witness the low profit margins of public sector practices) and can be very risky (think back to the NHS NPfIT programme for an example of consulting firms getting burnt on public sector assignments). Instead we are greeted with headlines like the following and the blame is effortlessly shifted away from those who are truly culpable:

Anger as government pays £63 a second to consultants (The Scotsman)
Labour blows £2 billion-a-year on army of Whitehall advisers (Evening Standard)

Now of course there are examples of consulting projects that have failed to deliver - and a whole raft of reasons for such failures. But to suggest that the majority of this spend has yielded no return to the taxpayer is just farcical.

We are, it seems, doomed to a perception with the public that's just marginally above that of an estate agent or used car salesperson...

Tony Restell

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Last week was our annual recruiters' event in London, where we presented the latest recruitment trends to a packed house of management consultancy recruiters. The various findings (bonuses, pay rises, retention rates, candidate acquisition channels, etc.) will be reported in our newsletter over the coming month. But for now - for all those thinking of looking for a new career in consulting - I wanted to share with you just what a buoyant market this now is!

Based on data submitted by all the top consulting firms, we were able to calculate that to achieve revenue growth targets for the year, firms would need to hire the equivalent of 24% of their existing headcount over the coming 12 months. That's a phenomenal level of recruitment activity - and bodes well for anyone who's job-hunting in the next months.

As the chart shows, 18% revenue growth is expected in 2007 - a repeat of the growth seen in 2006. 7% of this revenue growth could come from an inflation of fee rates, but the rest needs to come from billing more days of consulting. With the top firms acknowledging they have no spare capacity at present, the rest of this growth (11%) has to come from bringing in new hires. Add to this the expected 13% staff churn rate for 2007 (up from 10.3% in the last year) and you have the 24% growth rate confirmed.

Exciting times for all you consulting candidates!