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It Started with a Line

Since the dawn of civilisation, humans have communicated in a wide variety of ways.  It is thought that early man (and woman) used a series of grunts to indicate their desires.  This may still be the case!

Then came the art of story-telling through the form of drawing.  Genius!  Not only did it provide entertainment for the Neolithic age, it also gave the archaeological fraternity a reason to get over excited and creative.

Things progressed quickly over the next few millennia and languages were developed.  According to the ‘all-knowing’ Wikipedia, Sumerian is believed to be the first written language – dating back to around 3000BC. Modern English appeared in the latter part of the 17th Century, having transitioned through a number of phases.  Klingon was created in 1985, proving it’s never too late to introduce something new.

During the time that languages have been evolving, so has technology.  Since the days of Ada Lovelace, computers have advanced at an alarming rate.  This has influenced the way we communicate.  In some countries in the world, there is a fear that the social interaction for the younger generations is moving away from being able to interact face to face.

From the humble letter to the gr8 txt msg, our lives (well some) have been swept along with the techno-communication tidal wave.  At Verticality, we pride ourselves on communicating with clients and candidates.  Over the years, modes of communication have changed.  Letter writing is gradually become a thing of the past – but still has a place, and the same may be true for email.  Texting, Skype and social media (Twitter/Facebook, etc.) are fast becoming the preferred mode of ‘talking’ to each other.

For us, without question, the telephonic communicator still reigns supreme.  It allows us to discuss roles in more detail, gather requirements and assess abilities.  We also remove ourselves from being a ‘faceless entity’ by meeting with candidates and clients alike.

Part of what sets us apart is our ability to make the individual feel like an individual and not a series of words on a CV.  We embrace technology, but not at the detriment of our core values.

Karting – Take 2

The evening came for the Verticality/Easy Web Recruitment night out – another night at Northampton Indoor Karting.  For some reason they decided to allow us to return – a bit surprising after we (we being the collective of Stephen and Steve) broke a kart last time out.  Maybe they thought the lesson had been learnt.  I’ll let you judge for yourself if it was a wise decision.

This time our numbers had grown to a whopping 23 – meaning we needed to be split into teams.  Just to add to the mystery, Alex – who took part last time but decided to miss this outing owing to the our last race potentially being the last straw for his already dodgy back – kindly pulled the teams out of a hat.  These teams were as well guarded as the Crown Jewels and only revealed on the night.

We all gathered to don our karting onesies and the briefing began.  Then the briefing began again due to a latecomer – you know who you are.   The excitement started to mount as we got ready to head to the karts.  A few minutes later, the warm up started.  A minute after that it stopped.  It was noticed that one of the karts was leaking oil.  This was deemed a safety issue.  Some of us thought it would have added to the excitement.  Alas, Sam – one of my team-mates – had to transfer to a cold kart.  Race warm up commenced.

The starting grid was based on warm up lap times, with Team 1 at the front (Adam, Chris and Stephen).  Holding up the rear was Team 8 (Lorraine, Debbie and Dean).  With Fleetwood Mac blasting from the speakers, the drivers were OFF.

Corner after corner, gently at first, the karts zoomed round.  The lap numbers started to grow as the lap times shrunk.  With faster times come greater danger, and the return of Stephen ‘The Basher’ Grainger.  This demonic reappearance ended with an almighty ‘thunk’ when he came a crumper with Lianne ‘Cross My Path, Meet My Bumper’ Sinfield.  After making sure an ambulance wasn’t required, racing was resumed.

Over the course of the 90 minutes, we had shunts, bumps, a couple of up-close and personal assaults on the barriers, as well as a whole heap of fun.  Drivers changed every 15 mins – well most did.  Lorraine ‘The Eco Warrier’ Pentlow conserved as much fuel as she could with her team being lapped about 40 times…

As with our last karting experience, we raced for ourselves but came closer as a team (despite Team 1 coming first).  The same is true for this outing.

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Verticality Challenge – The Result

The race day finally arrived, starting with a blanket of blue skies and a glowing ball of sunshine.  I realised it was 7am so I went back to sleep.  When I next woke up, I considered the possibility that I had dreamt the first view from my window.  Rain, gloom and the utterings of ‘really????’ swathed over race day. 

The time came for us to meet at the pub.  We left the pub to make our way to the starting point.  Stephen cycled to warm up and check out the course, Joe got a lift and Sam came cross country with me.  On the way, Sam had to clean his brakes and walk part of the track.  Sadly, the tractors had been having a bit of a play and had torn up the course.  I went ahead to give Sam a little space.  Three of us congregated at the start, waiting for Sam.  Eventually, he could be seen in the distance.  A decision was taken to allow Sam to do the road route and for Joe to run a less churned up (but slightly longer) course.

As Stephen was in a charitable mood, a 2 minute head start was granted to the lads.  Off they went.  Misty decided she wanted to chase down Joe and lost a few more sandwiches from her ever decreasing picnic basket brain, ending up looking like a sweating, foam covered lunatic pony.

Then it was the turn of Stephen and myself to hear the starter’s pistol (figuratively, of course).  Stephen went off like a fast ride at Alton Towers.  Misty saw him through a gap in the hedge, thought he was a bush monster (they do exist), shot ten feet sideways and left me fighting to replace my foot in the stirrup.  I knew, with the pace of the other competitors, that us girls had to go some.

Heeding yet another warning not to injure Joe when passing, I kept a keen eye out for him.  I kept looking, and looking, and looked some more (just to be sure) but he was nowhere to be seen.  I began to wonder whether he was in the wrong profession, and had missed his chance to give Mo Farah a run for his money.

Finally, the pub was in sight.  I saw a waterproof jacketed chap leaning against a picnic bench and thought we hadn’t been fast enough.  Then I realised it was the welcoming committee!  ‘Are we first?’ I called.  And then, just as we made the forecourt, a frantically pedalling Stephen came through the kink in the road – some 40 yards away.  Me and my gal had done it.  Yelps of ‘WOOHOO’ echoed through the sleepy village.  There may also have been a shaking fist and a ‘grrrr’ from a certain cyclist.

Looking a little fatigued, Stephen collapsed onto a bench, with speaking being an ability long forgotten.  Sam arrived a few minutes later, slightly mud splattered and in need of a drink.  Stephen had managed to catch Sam about 2 miles into the course.  It seems that the uphill chase had taken up rather more energy reserves than expected.

Still no Joe.  Another five minutes went by, and we were still short of a competitor.  Eventually he turned up.  He had decided that he’d take a slightly more scenic route through nettles, via a shooting range (thankfully not being used) and across a bridge.  I have a feeling, without this extra half a mile, he would have been in with a good chance.

Obviously, I’m completely ecstatic with our glorious victory.  Misty has never won a race before!  I was, and still am, very proud of her.

The chaps have kindly given me quotes:

Sam – ‘A bad workman always blames his tools.  I blame my bike for coming third, and not going out, being hung-over and having 3 hours sleep.’

Joe – ‘Nettles.  Horses.  A gun range.  A lack of signposts.  The countryside is a rubbish place to run.’

Stephen – ‘I can’t believe I was beaten by a blinkin’ donkey.  Next time I’ll have you’

REMATCH!!!!!

I think it’s fair to say that we all had a fun time.  Training plans (whatever they are) are already being drawn up!

We’ve raised nearly £80 for charity (with hopefully a few more pennies to come), which will be going to Kidney Research UK (via Random Acts of Kidney).

We would also like to thank Mrs G and Mark for their transportation services, as well as the one-man welcoming committee – Graham – for their support on the day.

Verticality Challenge Update

With less than 24 hours to go until we take on our challenge, the competition stress is beginning to show.  Preparation has started – yesterday – for what is going to be the race of the year.  Forget the build-up to the London Olympics, this is going to be epic!

Due to recent adverse weather conditions (and the fact that my pony is rather objectionable to transportation), the location has been changed to another tiny village in neighbouring Bedfordshire.  We decided the danger factor was too much when Sam arrived in the office one morning having fallen off twice.  On the plus side, the finishing line is a local watering hole!

Having ridden our route yesterday, I’ve decided to take the corners a little less at pace.  Misty’s impression of a power slide was just too much for my dicky ticker!  Stephen has been detoxing today with the decaf tea (even though it’s a bit blurgh).  Sam has been carb loading with buckets of pasta and is having a lads night out (bring on the hangover), and Joe is still expecting to win.  You never know, he could be the wild card. 

I am under strict instructions (from the boss and he does pay my wages so really should comply) to not injure, maim or kill  Joe and/or Sam as we are sharing some of the same route.  I promise to do that, but Misty is her own woman and makes her own decisions.

Stephen is under strict instruction not to have any motorised assistance on his road route.  There will be no hanging on to the back of any cars on the uphill stretches.

The locals have been warned, the barricades are lining the 20 metres of pavement and the pub have been told to expect some rather tired visitors. 

The charity pot is growing nicely, with further donations expected.  As the competition is this fierce, the tension has been growing by the hour.  Tomorrow should be a fun day.

Verticality Challenge

Well.  Friday is once again upon us.  The week has been tough and the challenge that has been set is even tougher.

I popped out for lunch yesterday and returned to a buzz of excitement.  “We’ve been having a chat whilst you were out and have come up with a great Top Gear Challenge.  We’re going from Grendon to Strixton.  We’ll be cycling (Stephen and Sam), Joe will be running and you can go on your horse.”  Instantly, the competitive instinct took over.  “Bring it on”, my inner voice screamed.  There is every chance that the words actually escaped into the room too!

We work in a competitive environment.  We don’t compete against each other, but we love a challenge.  And, oh boy, what a challenge.  Grendon, a small village nestled in the glorious Northamptonshire countryside, is the perfect starting point.  Via three alternative routes, we are heading back to our offices in Strixton – an even smaller village still in the Northamptonshire countryside.

Why are we doing this?  Why not?  Each of us will be gifting funds to a pot.  The winner of the challenge can then donate the whole pot to a charity of their choice.

Here’s a little about each of the competitors:

Stephen   Stephen Grainger – Bianchi loving biker

An avid cyclist for at least three years, with a competitive streak which runs through his core!

Stephen will be completing a 3.3 mile road route.  This will basically be a 10 minute, flat out, sprint.

 

 

 

 

 

Misty and Grace

Andra Dobson – with her four-legged ex racer, Royal Miss (Misty)

Misty – the only breathing non-human, challenge participant – is an eleven year old ex-racehorse.

Me and my gal will be completing the 2 mile (mainly Byway) route.  Let’s hope her Top Gear Challenge career is a little better than her racing career!

 

 

 

 

 

 

SamSam Elderkin – The Off-road Cyclist

Sam has been in training for this for some time.  He didn’t even know he was in training.  It is part of his daily cycle into the office.  He’s already started noting down his times…

He will be doing the same route as Misty and myself – the two mile Byway.

 

 

 

JoeJoe Taylor – The Muddy Runner

Joe is taking on a massive challenge.  He is running the 1.4 mile route across footpaths which cut through farmers fields and through a farm.

Joe started running a couple of years ago and is still hopeful that he will be victorious.  He’s only young…

 

 

 

The gauntlet has well and truly been thrown down, with the date being set for 26th October at 11am.  With a week to go until battle commences, we all have a wee bit of training to do.  But in the words of old, let the best girl(s) win🙂.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New Kids

As you may have gathered from the last post, there is a light hearted approach taken within our office.  We take our work seriously, but also take the task of mocking one another quite seriously too.  Once in a while, the odd stress ball is thrown at a verbal offender – but this is quite a rarity.  You give as good as you get.  Joe and Sam – or Ant and Dec – or even Josephine and Samantha – are two young chaps who have recently been welcomed into the Verticality family.  To make it easier for us, they have put their names above their desk – a most helpful solution.  Joe is an avid Man U supporter (we don’t hold that against him too much) and Sam has taken the Liverpool contingent into the majority (much to Liam’s delight).

A few blogs ago, we spoke about the 20 best interview questions.  Joe and Sam have kindly taken the time to answer these.  When I say kindly taken the time, what I mean is they were told to do this or face tea making duties for a week!

 

The First One

1.  What circumstance brings you here today?
Lack of funds.

2.  Which three people (famous or otherwise) would you most like to invite to a dinner party?
Myself, Ricky Gervais, Prof Brian cox.

3.  What felt unfair to you in your last job?
I was a student so lectures before 12 were unfair.

4.  What’s your favourite animal and why?
Dog, because they are enthusiastic about everything (especially Jasper).

5.  What type of work environment do you prefer?
I like Stephen’s dictatorship, he rules with an iron fist.

6.  My partner and I are planning a holiday, where would you recommend?
Gibraltar, it’s like Britain but it’s always Sunny and there are lots of monkeys on top of it.

7.  What are you most passionate about?
Running, it means I can have a job where I don’t move.  Football.

8.  What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in your life and how have you overcome it?
I broke my sofa at university by sitting on it, so I lost weight.

9.  Which famous person would you most like to see play you in a film?
Leonardo Di Caprio.

10.  What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
I called Steve (The Verticality MD) an old man in my first week.

11.  Describe someone outside your field of interest who inspires you and why?
Stephen Hawking, he is great.

12.  When I call your old boss what will they say about you?
Who?

13.  Why are you interested in this job?
Because you get out what you put in.

14.  If you could be anyone else who would it be?
Batman.

15.  What are the biggest strengths you would bring to this organisation?
I try hard.

16.  What makes you angry?
Xfactor, Britain’s Got Talent, Big Brother, the price of petrol/sky sports/printer ink, Luis Suarez, Jordan Henderson, Glen Johnson, Ashley young, Joe Hart, Manchester City, Carlos Tevez, Gareth Barry, John Terry, Jon Obi Mikel, Fernando Torres, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Newcastle United, bad drivers, people who walk in front of you really slowly, Luis Saurez, my neighbours, Twilight, Sam throwing away my Calendar, ), hipsters, public signs of affection, Nissan Micras, Smart Cars, Eastenders, QPR, Coronation Street, Hollyoaks,  people getting confused between me and Sam, staplers that don’t work, lateness. 

If you think of something I’ve missed – feel free to add yourself to the list.

17.  What are the first 5 things you’d do if you got this position?
Wait for Sam to make tea/coffee/water, turn on my computer, read emails, talk about football, listen to Sam, Liam and Steve talk about Breaking Bad.

18.  If you inherited an acre of land what would you do with it?
Build a fort. With a moat.

19.  Why do giraffes have such long necks?
Because their feet smell.

20.  What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?
I lost 3 stone in 6 months last year.

The Second One

1.  What circumstance brings you here today?
I was looking for a company who I could identify with and really enjoy working with in the long term

2.  Which three people (famous or otherwise) would you most like to invite to a dinner party?
Terry Crews, Jack Whitehall and Katy Perry

3.  What felt unfair to you in your last job?
I couldn’t turn water into gold and there were no opportunities for me to progress in the long term.

4.  What’s your favourite animal and why?
My favourite animal is a turtle due to seeing them a lot when I was younger and being fascinated by them.

5.  What type of work environment do you prefer?
A relaxed yet supportive environment where each employee works autonomously.

6.  My partner and I are planning a holiday, where would you recommend?
The Caribbean!!Due to the swimming, food, sun and wildlife

7.  What are you most passionate about?
Liverpool and enjoying life

8.  What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in your life and how have you overcome it?
Probably eating a bad bag of pork scratchings. I never ate them again

9.  Which famous person would you most like to see play you in a film?
Chris Hemsworth as I look so much like him….

10.  What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Going to a Dutch theme park in a dress

11.  Describe someone outside your field of interest who inspires you and why?
My mentor at university, as he worked very hard and had all the time in the world for his students.

12.  When I call your old boss what will they say about you?
I am bright, hardworking and like to socialize with other people.

13.  Why are you interested in this job?
Due to being interested in recruitment in the IT sector. As soon as I met Stephen for my initial interview I knew, for sure, that this is the ideal place for me to work.

14.  If you could be anyone else who would it be?
I would be myself as I feel that I can be whoever I want to be.

15.  What are the biggest strengths you would bring to this organisation?
I feel that I can communicate effectively with people as well as working rigorously to achieve my own goals as well as the companies.

16.  What makes you angry?
People not listening and being lazy. Manchester united fans as well.

17.  What are the first 5 things you’d do if you got this position?
I would celebrate
Prepare for my first day
Fix my bike so I can get to work
Work hard
Have fun

18.  If you inherited an acre of land what would you do with it?
Build a house

19.  Why do giraffes have such long necks?
Due to natural selection. The giraffes with a longer neck were better suited to the giraffes environment and so giraffes with longer necks were more successful than other giraffes with shorter necks. And so giraffes evolved, over time, to have long necks.

Yea…

20.  What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?
Being with my girlfriend for 4 years as she is one of my best friends and we have so much fun together.

 

 

Coffee, milk, no sugar

In recent months, Verticality has had a few new faces appear at desks, with a couple of older faces moving on.  Gerry joined the team mid August, and I think it’s fair to say, he’s settling in rather well.  He’s kindly found time to introduce himself to the blogosphere.  So, grab a brew, take a pew, and enjoy.

 

“Coffee, milk no sugar please…”  Must get my order in before I start this blog.  Having experienced a few recruitment horror stories in my time, working at Verticality has been nothing short of luxury for me.  Saying that, the KPIs of cleaning and making brew give you a sense that newbies here are given a tough time, but hopefully I won’t be on the dreaded dishwasher or fridge cleaning schedule for a while.

Aside from the chores, the team here have a twisted sense of humour, pointing fun at underachievement, something that we all share in our private lives from park tennis failure to a certain player of golf who seems to think that hitting the rough and losing countless balls is the game, or perhaps our Andra who is developing a new horse riding technique and thinks that trotting sideways is quite cool, not to mention our role playing Orc Meister, who loves nothing better than taking on a gang of hobbits down The Centre MK, or even our Director who loves to get past playing as an under 8 for Olney as he’s 4ft 2.  Aside from the twisted humour, I have been made to feel very welcome within our luxury offices surrounded by the rolling hills of the shire in tranquil middle earth – sorry Strixton.  Work hard , play hard and we all treat each other as equal , nothing better than being welcomed, appreciated and of course to feel like a team where we all work as one big happy family.  “Coffee, milk no sugar please…”