22 Nov
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, Video   |  No Comments

Testing applicants is a great way of determining whether they can actually do the job you need them to do. You can test for skills, aptitude, personality etc. There are hundreds of tests on the market and selecting the right one is really important. You also need to ensure you know what a pass or fail looks like and why.

More nuggets for you in the video


Telephone Screening

21 Nov
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, Interviewing, Recruitment, Video   |  No Comments

When you are recruiting, you could end up with hundreds of applications, once you have sorted the ‘not a chance’ from the ‘possible’, telephone interviewing is a great way of producing a manageable long list (or short list, if you are able to be that tight on your criteria).

Work out what your key questions are – if they MUST be able to drive, or MUST hold a specific qualification or MUST be able to work evenings, then these questions should form part of your telephone screening process.

Do make sure that you don’t inadvertently introduce any discrimination – you can ask any question, it is how you do it which matters!!!

Sifting CVs

18 Nov
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, Recruitment, Video   |  No Comments

Once you have a pool of aplicants, you need some way of determining who to short list, who to reject and who to keep warm and put on hold. In today’s 52 Top Tips, I share a few thoughts.

To find our more about our recruitment services, check out our recruitment pages

To order your 52 top tips, you can do so here




17 Nov
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, Video   |  No Comments

Once you have a pool of candidates to choose from, it is decision time!
Don’t just go with your gut instinct – test them. Make sure they can actually do the job you need doing.




17 Nov
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, Video   |  No Comments

Before you can recruit your staff, you need a pool of applicants to choose from. You need to attract applicants to your business and to the role. This is no different to any other marketing exercise. It is about getting your message clear, knowing who your market is and deciding on the right media to use.

In this short video, HR Specialist Donna Obstfeld shares one of our 52 top tips.

Job Descriptions

17 Nov
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, Video   |  No Comments

Job descriptions are essential tools for recruiting, managing and rewarding employees. In the first of our 52 top tips, HR Specialist Donna Obstfeld talks about how Job Descriptions are the starting point for successful recruitment.

Walking Out

31 Oct
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

On Friday morning I got a call, well… more of a spoiler actually!

It was a researcher from the JVS show on BBC Three Counties Radio –

“Following Aleksandra King’s shock departure from The Apprentice last night, we’d like aleksandra-kingto interview you about people who walk out of jobs with no notice”

Me: “Thanks for that, I haven’t watched it yet”

Anyway, with my normal professionalism, I then proceeded to discuss the reasons why people leave a job without giving notice and what (if anything) you can / should / could do about it.

Here are the headlines:

People will leave a job with immediate effect if:

  • They (or an immediate family member) have an illness which needs the employee’s time and energy –

    • In this instance there is not a lot that you should do, except offer support and, depending on circumstances, flexibility.
    • If they are a long standing member of staff with an elderly sick parent, you may be able to find a mutually beneficial arrangement which doesn’t lose you all that expertise in a matter of minutes.
  • They have a new job starting on Monday morning –

    • Check their contract of employment (if they don’t have one…. Why not?).
    • Specifically look at their notice periods and restrictive covenants – are they in breach of contract?
    • Do you have any financial penalties in the event that they breach their contract?
      • If not, it is a bit late now, but learn this lesson for future.
      • If you do, now is the time to decide whether you want to enforce the contract.
      • You may need a solicitor to help you do so, but take a quick decision and get some advice immediately
  • They are planning on taking you to an employment tribunal and the working environment has become so ‘untenable’ that they are resigning with immediate effect and claiming constructive dismissal –

    • Now it’s a bit more complicated than this, but if an employee has taken advice and they have been advised to take a constructive dismissal claim, they may well walk out without giving you any notice.
      • If you think that this is a possibility, perhaps because you were aware that the employee was unhappy or there were issues – be very careful with your next step and ensure that you get advice. You need to be able to defend yourself in an employment tribunal if this is the plan
  • They just can’t take IT any more –

    • You may never know what IT is, but it could be the journey, their boss, their colleagues, the work, their clients or any number of other things.
    • Some people will not fight, not say a word, just walk away and move on to other, ‘better’ things.


In all cases, you will not need to pay notice pay as it is them who has failed to provide you with the appropriate notice. However, you cannot deduct any pay due (hours worked or accrued untaken holiday), unless your contract gives you express legal permission to do so. For this reason some people will chose to walk out just after pay day or just after a bonus or commission payment.

At this point I’m going to let you in on a secret!

The Contract of Employment is essential, it is your bible, it is your how to guide, it is your obligations towards your employees and their obligations towards you…… However, it is not worth the paper it is written on unless you are prepared to enforce it!

et-plaqueIf you, as the employer, breach the contract of employment, you can legitimately find yourself defending your actions in an Employment Tribunal. However, if the employee breaches their contract of employment there is very little you can do. If they are still employed, you can of course discipline them. But, if they have walked out without giving you notice, or they go to work for the competition or they poach staff and / or clients …. there is no Employment Tribunal for you the employer to go to. You would have to take them to court for breach of contract! Fair… No! The way it is….. Yes!, Stressful…. Yes!, Expensive…. Probably!

At DOHR, we have a slight work around which we are beginning to use for some clients, but ultimately this element of employment law is heavily weighted in favour of the employee – so be aware.

If you want to know how we can rewrite your contracts to afford you greater protection, get in touch with us now on 01923 504100.


Is it a Duck?

28 Oct
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Annual Leave, Blog, employee rights, employent law, pay   |  No Comments


The Employment Tribunal has ruled that two drivers are infact ‘workers’ under the definition in the Employment Rights Act 1996 and therefore are afforded protections not available to genuine freelancers.

This case will be appealed by Uber, they can’t afford not to because of the implications for their global business model. Uber have also looked at the use of driverless cars and this may well speed up that development as ‘engaging workers’ is more expensive than ‘using freelancers / contractors’.

We are often asked by our clients what alternatives there are to having someone working as an employee, especially for new or small businesses, the thought of having employees and all the implications of employment law is enough to prevent them growing their business. The use of contractors, freelancers and gig workers has made business growth possible for many business who would just not have taken the risk with employing staff.

As employment law becomes more and more constraining for businesses, business owners seek ‘new and innovative’ ways of working. Until it is tested in the courts and deemed to be illegal, they will take their chances and that is exactly what has happened here.

In short, with our clients we apply the duck test:duck

If it quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck and looks like a duck, then it is a DUCK, no matter whether you call it a hen, a bird a chicken or a goose!

In this case the courts have decided that Uber has workers who are DUCKS and nothing else.

The implications are as workers:

  • they have to be given paid annual leave
  • they are subject to the working time directive regulations
  • they are entitled to National Minimum and Living wages and
  • they are protected against whistle blowing.

They are not employees, therefore there are other benefits they are not entitled to, but even the above will cause Uber and other companies to have to rethink their financial models.

Have you been fishing recently?

25 Aug
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

I was recently reminded of a book and concept I first encountered approximately 20 years ago. Having worked for 2 large multi-national retailers in my early HR career, ‘team building’ and ‘personal development’ had a much higher profile and investment than many small companies I work with today can afford, but what follows is appropriate and affordable for businesses of all sizes.

pike-placeThe concept is Fish! Now unlike most training FISH is not an acronym for anything, it takes its name, story and educational value from the ‘world famous’ Pike Place Fish market in Seattle.

With the holidays looming, I decided I was going to reread Fish and also purchased a copy for each of my team.

I was quite shocked and pleasantly surprised to find many of my regular phrases and business beliefs are also to be found in this great little read – this is probably where I first came across them, but in the mystery of time, their original source had been lost to me.

The concept is about getting staff to engage and therefore perform, even when they appear to be doing menial tasks. There are four key elements within the book, but I am only going to outline them for you here as they really are a very well written, quick read which I urge you to undertake yourself.

The main element:

Choose your Attitude. Life happens, things go well, things go less well, what seems the biggest disaster one day appears as only a small hiccough the next day. It is how you respond to each and every situation, which determines whether you let the incident define you, influence your mood or impact on your behaviour. Choose to be happy or choose to be grumpy. Choose to be a victim or choose to be a survivor. Whatever you choose, it is a choice and it is your decision.

We are all children at heart:

Play is the second element of the fish story and here I find myself illustrating this point children-playwith one of my own mantras. You spend far too much time at work not to enjoy what you do. No matter what your job, keep it professional, but make it fun.

Live for the moment:

Being present is really important. During my recent travels in Thailand, I noticed that every piece of paper exchanged between you and a Thai is special. Whether it is a bill, a business card, a spa appointment card or a receipt it is passed to you with two hands, a polite bow and a greeting. You can’t help respond in the same way. Compare this to a receipt or a business card in the UK – eye contact is rarely made, never mind niceties exchanged.

In business and in life, being present is about engaging in whatever you are doing at that precise point in time. In a boring conversation, stay with it; if the kids want to go kick a ball around, go with them; if your mum is talking to you, focus on her and not the mobile phone in your pocket. Being present makes everything more real and provides opportunities and perceptions you otherwise have missed.

The last element:

Make their day – How does it feel when someone smiles in gratitude at you? Can’t remember, you should try it some time. Every customer has their own demands, their own ways and their own likes / dislikes. As the service / product provider, your role is to add value to that relationship by ‘making their day’. How you do this will vary between each and every customer , but getting to know them and what they value will help you to make their day. And remember….. you probably have internal customers as well, so remember to make their day as well!

Something a bit different

06 Aug
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

I was sitting with a client the other day, talking about an issue they were facing.

And then the client asked me a really interesting question, and the answer to the question is useful for all business owners, in all sectors.

I’ve recorded a short video that explains what that answer was

Why we are different from DOHR on Vimeo.


Speak soon


P.S. When you get a chance to watch the video, I’d love to know what you think, so hit reply and let me know.

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