Are you tough enough?

Square Peg’s Jame’s Soden takes on a new challenge. James is no stranger to a tough challenge which you will have seen from a previous blog and soon he’ll be taking on Tough Mudder to raise money for the SuperJosh charity.

Probably the toughest event on the planet

Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile mud and obstacle course designed to drag you out of your comfort zone by testing your physical strength, stamina, and mental grit. With no podiums, winners, or clocks to race against, it’s not about how fast you can cross the finish line. Rather, it’s a challenge that emphasises teamwork, camaraderie and accomplishing something almost as tough as you are.

Probably the toughest recruitment consultant in Bury

SuperJosh is an amazing local charity, offering children and their families support when things really get as tough as they can. It seemed logical to take on a ridiculously tough challenge to raise as much money as possible. Through donations, sponsorship and any other help James can get his hands on he plans to raise a minimum of £1,000.  Square Peg Associates are throwing their support behind him and he will be blogging about his training and progress throughout the journey, so stay tuned.

To sponsor James click here

May the fourth be with us

Myself and Jemma from the Square Peg Associates team attended the Spring Business Expo North West at Ewood Park on May 4th (Star Wars Day) and found it pretty busy with some good exhibitors, a tad quieter than usual on the visitors front, though this gave us the opportunity to really have a good in depth chat with the exhibitors about their businesses, share local market knowledge and book some great future meetings to carry on those chats!

It was great to meet you all and we are looking forward to working together in the future:

  • Tracy Heatley MD – BoB Clubs NW (Business over Breakfast networking)
  • Donna Dibben, Business Manager Croner HR/H&S/Tax
  • Ben Young Social Media Strategist DMT Digital Media Team
  • Mike Sharples, Sales Executive – HD Signology – thank you for the card trick!
  • Paul Aisthorpe Imaginative Coaching – helping business growth (Our Business Mentor & Business Consultant)
  • The team from Bizspace who we rent our offices from!! Thank you for the fab Pick n Mix sweet trolley.
  • Helen Watson, Recruitment Manager – Clayton Recruitment – great to see positivity amongst our fellow competitors – brilliant to see you Helen!
  • Not forgetting Paul Isherwood from Stressbuster Works for our wonderfully relaxing 5 minute back massage – bliss!

Great to be back at Ewood Park and good luck BRFC for next season – come on you Blues!! #getbackontopsoon #yourfansarebehindyou

Nice to meet you…

We had a fantastic night at the BIG Bury Business Expo which we blogged about here, we made some great contacts and recently we’ve been out and about delivering the prizes from our business card draw.

We are pleased to announce the winners and tell you a little bit about some of the great people we met:

Congratulations to Anthony Higham, Partner Solicitor at Butcher & Barlow for winning the bottle of Champagne presented by our Senior Recruiter, James Soden.  

Butcher & Barlow are solicitors with over 125 years of experience and offices across Cheshire and Greater Manchester.

Butcher & Barlow are a highly respected and friendly firm of Solicitors with over 125 years of experience. They have 10 Offices spread throughout North Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire – and our dedicated Commercial and Agricultural office at Gadbrook Park, Northwich. Butcher & Barlow pride their selves on being a law firm with local connections but the size to provide an approachable expert in every field.

Lacey Plumbing & Heating LTD

Big thanks to Lacey Plumbing & Heating Ltd –  Square Peg’s Jemma Doolan won a bottle of fizz from their business card prize draw. It was great to meet Rebecca Lacey, Business Owner at Lacey. Lots of really positive vibes, new premises and support happening there.

 Glideslope Software Ltd

We had a great meeting with John Miller and Charlotte Preston from Glideslope Software Ltd in Heywood, a local IT company who are Microsoft Certified. We initially met over Speed Networking at the Bury Expo. Arranged a visit to meet the team and to get to know the business further. A lovely team providing a range of quality IT Support to Businesses, Charities and Schools for over 16 years within the Manchester area. Follow them on Twitter

Once again, Congratulations to Anthony at Butcher & Barlow and a BIG Thank you to Rebecca from Lacey Plumbing and Charlotte from Glideslope Software.

James Soden

What a night! – Big Bury Business Expo

A huge thank you to Phil, Debbie, Kathryn and Natasha from The Best of Bury for yet another great business expo at The Village Hotel, Bury. Well done to all the prize winners.

 It was Square Peg’s second expo which we enjoyed immensely, in particular, the speed networking which was a quick fire way of connecting and exchanging business cards to around 30 people in a short session. We had some proud moments in the evening, being told from several contacts that we are “The best recruiters in the Bury region for quality and service and they would undoubtedly recommend us to any of their contacts or suppliers”.

I’m so proud of the team and what we have achieved as a business so far, we are coming up for our five year anniversary in May 2017 and comments like these mean so much to us and we feel very welcomed as part of the Bury Business community. After our last blog on Learning to Listen we are working on how we can use this feedback to further improve our services.

 Big shout out to some great new contacts during the evening:-

 Paolo Hu – MD of The Chinese Buffet 

Chris Smith – MD of 360 Vehicle leasing 

The Team at Munro Greenhalgh Insurance Brokers – (Thanks for the bobsleigh race)

The girls from Bury Football Club  

Leanne Brooks – Finding Locals 

Nick Druce Net Nutz

Simon Moscovitz – Eurotek UK

 Please do not hesitate to contact the team for an informal chat – we’d love to hear from you.


& the team: James, Jemma, Paul, Kim and Kathai x


Learning to Listen

We recently received a fantastic testimonial from our client Greg French at AFG Law, and I really wanted to post the testimonial here in our blog and say how much it still means to us to get great feedback. Myself and the team here at Square Peg are really passionate about what we do and when we get this sort of feedback it really makes our hearts sing!

We read so much about ways to keep individuals and teams motivated and how we maintain job satisfaction, but nothing makes me more motivated than hearing positive feedback and a client advising they wouldn’t hesitate to recommend us. I’ve worked very hard to try and listen to my clients and customer’s requirements and it’s something we will continue to work on as a team as I know there is always room for improvement!

Towards the end of last year AFG LAW were recruiting for a new assistant cashier and passed a referral to Paul Aisthorpe from the Square Peg team. Greg wrote:

“Square Peg very quickly made contact with us and identified what it was that we were looking for in a candidate. They understood the skill sets required, and perhaps more importantly the type of person that we were looking for. They put forward what looked to be an excellent candidate within 2 days of being given the brief. An interview was set up but unfortunately, the guy gave back word and even before the interview, decided to stay put at his current job.

In between making the appointment and it being cancelled, we decided that the job role that we originally briefed Square Peg had changed. We passed on the amended job description and again within 2 days or so, Square Peg had identified a further candidate. We interviewed Matt, and after having a couple more chats with him, decided that he was the ideal fit to what was a fairly new role for AFG LAW, offered him the job and he accepted. He has now been with us for approximately 3 months.

It would have been very easy to pass this testimonial as soon as the role had been filled – job done! But I felt that it would mean far more now, several months further on and seeing Matt developing so well in the role.

Square Peg are different to other recruitment companies that we have used in the past. They listened to what we needed and understood the sort of person that we were looking for – both from a skill set and a personality. They also understood the ethos of AFG LAW. Suzanne actually took the time to come out and meet with us and talk to us so that she fully understood what it was we were looking for.

They vetted and only sent through real candidates and not like so many other agencies that will “listen” but then just send anyone through to you. And ultimately sent through what so far looks like being the perfect candidate.

I would have no hesitation in recommending Square Peg Associates.”



As we publish this post we know we haven’t yet eaten the turkey or exchanged our presents but we know we as a team and our clients and customers are evaluating the year passed and thinking about our future goals as the coming year advances with speed!  In the blog below Paul Aisthorpe from the Square Peg team gets us thinking about New Year #goals.

“We hope that 2017 is going to be the year you want it to be. Perhaps the most synonymous thing with a new year is the resolution; those little plans to eat less, exercise more and quit one vice or another. According to research from the University of Scranton in the Journal of Clinical psychology 75% of resolutions make it past week 1 and 46% past 6 months. Are you surprised by these figures and do they ring true for you?

The turning of the calendar does give us that opportunity to wipe the slate clean and to start afresh with personal and business challenges for the New Year. As the figures show from the research at the University of Scranton there is a certain degree of success for many people who set goals in the shape of resolutions. In fact we can probably all think of someone who has lost significant weight, quit smoking or picked up a new hobby all because of a new year’s resolution.

Formulating Resolutions

The thing with resolutions is that quite often they describe something you want to stop, an action for example such as eating, drinking, smoking, or something you want to do more of like socialising, exercising or networking. From a work or career perspective resolutions may, for example, want a promotion, to start earning more money or to stop being overlooked for advancement opportunities. We know that the problem with this however is that the way they are stated, resolutions are often focused on the means rather than the end.

In his book, ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ Stephen Covey talks about beginning with the end in mind. This is a great place to start when you are thinking about what you want to achieve through a new year’s resolution and keeping on track. Let’s use the example of earning more money as your new year’s resolution.

Using the framework that Covey gives us let’s look at beginning with the end in mind. On the 31st December 2016 you would like to be earning more money. How much more money exactly? £100 on your salary? £5000 on your current salary? £10,000 on your current income? What do you think is achievable?

Thinking about earning more money what are the different ways this would become achievable? Would you get this through promotion or do you have to look elsewhere? Perhaps another company or another sector completely? Can you do some overtime? We would ask you to think about the action steps you have to take to make this resolution become reality. If in a year you want to earn £5000 more per annum where do you need to be in six months? Networking in your company to find promotion opportunities and growing your personal brand or perhaps retraining for that different career. Can this become a six month goal? “By June 2017 I want to have a qualification that will allow me to get the promotion.”

You can then break resolutions down further to 3 months, 1 month, 1 week and even 1 day. Stephen Covey also points out, effective people are proactive and goals become the focal point of your actions.


We are pretty sure that you may have seen SMART before but as a recap SMART stands for:

S – pecific

M – easurable

A – chievable

R – elevant

T- ime focussed


Specific – be as specific as possible with your goal. Begin with the end in mind and picture exactly how you want your goal to look and feel like once you’ve achieved it. Like with the example above, rather than just wanting more money quantify exactly how much more money you want.

Measurable – how will you measure your success? In the example above it can be measured on a salary benchmark, you either earn £5000 per annum more or you don’t.

Achievable – Is your goal achievable? If not what can you do to make it more achievable? Break it down into smaller goals perhaps.

Relevant – What role does the goal play on your wider life & what impact will it have on you? The goal should contribute a relevant benefit to help keep you motivated to achieve it. By creating an end in your goal, and stating its relevance it helps you to take ownership.

Time Focused – finally set deadlines with your goal. When will it be achievable by? The end of the year is good because it then allows you to start considering next year’s goals again.

We hope that this blog has been useful in helping you to consider those goals and put some more structure into your resolutions for the coming year.”

In the meantime all the best for the coming year. We’d love to hear from you to discuss your goals, your career aspirations and to have a chat about how we can help you in 2017.

Paul Aisthorpe

Ho, ho, ho! How Square Peg does Christmas!! Bad jokes and all….

It’s been a great year here at Square Peg, we have had some fantastic successes for candidates and clients, and welcomed new members to the team to enable the servicing of our customers to the best of our ability, and to really show that passion for recruitment we talk so much about.

So time to celebrate! To look back on the great year we have had and spend some fun time together as a team. We started off with a fabulous meal at The Oxford Pub in Rochdale, where the team McNeeneys looked after us. We opened our Secret Santa pressies (always good for a laugh) then up to the theatre in Bacup for a barrel of laughs Comedy Night.

Hilariously funny Host Comedian – Simon Bligh

Sharp witted and very dry opening Comedian – Mike Wilkinson from Wigan

Jaw achingly funny Headline act Colin Cole – a 6ft 7 Aussie guy!

Brilliant! Square Peg’s Jemma Doolan (read all about Jemma in our previous blog) had a few minutes on stage in the spotlight and a bottle of fizz after winning a competition with the following joke….

“what do you call a man with no Knees? Neil….”

Moving on, to Manchester City Centre for the night’s finale we celebrated our successes over 2016, but we also very much look forward to bringing in 2017 with continued positivity and new clients on board. We are proud to enter into our 5th year of trading and would like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas.

All the very best at Christmas & and for the New Year – cheers.

Suzanne, James, Kim, Kathai, Paul and Jemma 

Hello Kim!

Say Hi to Kim Taylor our Candidate Manager. I have been working with Kim for some time and she is the long standing member of the Square Peg team. I asked Kim to write me a few words for the blog.

“I am eight years into my recruiting career with over two and half years at Square Peg Associates. It feels like home here with a great team around me.  I began my career as a Recruitment Resourcer , worked my way up to an Account Manager and I now oversee the candidate side of the business to ensure that the quality control and standards are  adhered to.  I’d say I am the organised one! I like to make sure I keep all the CRM systems up to date and on track.

 I am extremely passionate about providing the best service to both candidates and clients, and I make it my goal to know as much as possible about our clients so I really know them and what they want every time.

 Outside of work, I am a proud mum to my gorgeous son Freddie, I enjoy relaxing and watching the latest movies. I have a love for Italian food and anything which involves cheese. You will always find me tasting new ciders, Old Mout being a fave right now.

 My claim to fame – I used to date a former Emmerdale actor. Can you guess which one!”

Kim Taylor

Hello Jemma!

Meet Jemma our Trainee Recruitment Consultant, we asked her to write a few words for the blog about her experiences with Square Peg.

“I’m loving the fast pace, buzz and satisfaction of placing quality candidates into great employers through Square Peg. I actually did not realise how varied and challenging a recruiting role would be and I am still learning something new each day – and still smiling! From completing college and achieving great success, I have moved forward from being a qualified administrator and P.A. into being a recruiter. I love going to network events, it almost doesn’t feel like work as I like to get to know people and what makes them tick. I know with the support and training from Suzanne and the team, my ultimate aim is to be a high achiever.

In my spare time, like most people, I endeavour to go to the gym frequently with friends, I drag them, they drag me sort of scenario and I’ll even do an odd 5k challenge for charity. I’ve become a bit of a home bird recently, having just moved into my first house and completely loving it!

The team ethic at Square Peg is really strong and we support each other, and we are a friendly bunch!”

Jemma Doolan

Peaks & Troughs

Twelve months ago, a team of Lancashire businesses embarked on the National 3 peaks challenge to conquer the peaks within 24 hours. (Sept 15 England Scotland & Wales). The team raised £1833.56 for the Fire Fighters Charity – a provider of services that enhance quality of life for serving and retired fire fighters, fire personnel and their families. And I was thrilled to be a part of it..

Taking on the challenge was a huge deal for me both physically and mentally, with the physical training came the thoughts of whether I was ready for the commitment. But commit I did, and I learnt more about myself than I thought when I faced injury and disappointment.

I was two peaks down when injury struck coming down Scafell pike in the pouring rain so grudgingly I had to abandon the third peak. So I learnt to deal with the disappointment along with the elation I felt for my team and I remained steadfast that one day I would complete the journey.

Twelve months later, I am proud to say that I finally got there and climbed Snowden on 8th October 2016. And it felt great even if it was twelve months later and I’m proud of my patience!

Big shout out to the team:-

Guide, Organiser, leader – Craig Rawsthorne – Peaks n Troughs

Paul Aisthorpe, Organiser & chief motivator – Imaginative Coaching  

Janet Marsden, Weighing Scales Ltd, Nelson

John Gannon, Weighing Scales Ltd, Nelson

David Riley, A White Room, Colne

Mike Dixon, Allied Lighting, Preston

Greg West,

And a massive thanks to my friend Charlotte who shared the final peak with me. It was worth the wait!

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