Capital2's Blog

Recruitment and Career advice for the High Tech and Banking Industries

What we’re listening to……….

It would be great if this was a post about us listening to regular economic podcasts straight from CNN or listening to some self improvement tapes, but it isn’t. Here’s a selection of bands getting playtime in the Capital2 Solutions offices:

Kings of Leon

The Cribs



Vanessa Paradis

Joy Division

The Jam


The Ramones

The Streets

Happy Mondays

LTJ Bukem

Arctic Monkeys








March 13, 2009 Posted by | random, The Team, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Capital2 bosses speak at HEC Paris

February 12th, Capital2 Solutions founder Sam Kirby gave a talk to the 2009 MBA class at  HEC Paris (France’s top business school). The subject was the Hiring Markets for 2009 / 2010 and the hour long presentation gave rise to some healthy questions and debate at the end of the talk.

February 17, 2009 Posted by | Banking News, Capital2, Interview Technique, Macroeconomic News, random, Technology News, The Team | 2 Comments

Who said France’s always on strike?

It all started in 1948…

“NANTERRE (AFP) – Le conseil des prud’hommes de Nanterre se penche mercredi sur la requête atypique d’anciens mineurs des houillères du Nord-Pas-de-Calais, qui veulent voir leur préjudice reconnu soixante ans après leur licenciement à la suite d’un mouvement de grève durement réprimé en 1948.”

The following are for this week (17/21nov.) only:

  • “Le Sénat a adopté dans la nuit de lundi à mardi le relèvement de 60 à 65 ans de l’âge limite d’activité en vol des pilotes malgré une grève de quatre jours à Air France contre cette disposition, qui a pris fin lundi à minuit”
  • “PARIS (Reuters) – Deux syndicats de cheminots, la CFDT et la FGAAC (Autonomes), ont décidé de reporter de mardi minuit à vendredi minuit leur appel à une grève de 24 heures à la SNCF afin de continuer à négocier sur le réforme du fret.”
  • “L’UNSA Police et le Syndicat général de la police/Force Ouvrière (SGP/FO) appellent les policiers à manifester mardi à Lyon pour “la défense de leur pouvoir d’achat”, “la sauvegarde des 35 heures” et contre “la réduction des effectifs”, selon leurs principaux mots d’ordre.”
  • “A trois jours de la grève dans l’Education de jeudi, les deux premiers syndicats du primaire, le SNUipp-FSU et le SE-Unsa, déplorent le manque de dialogue social du ministre de l’Education Xavier Darcos, et lui reprochent son “attitude”, dans des communiqués distincts lundi.”

As long as it’s not raining…

November 18, 2008 Posted by | random | Leave a comment

Euro 2008

No England, but our French offices are rooting for les bleus!!!

Viera’s potential loss through injury is a worry though, as playing with Makelele + one other defensive midfielder leaves France with only 3 attackers on the field. Not to mention the group of DEATH!

June 8, 2008 Posted by | random, The Team | Leave a comment

Negotiating an offer of employment

Even if the interview has gone well, you love the opportunity, the people and the company, our work here at Capital2 is far from done. We now have to ensure you get an acceptable offer. Assuming we have had good lines of communication, there should be no surprises at this stage….. but there are still some simple ways you as a candidate can facilitate the process by doing some preparation beforehand:

Know what you’re worth

  • Salary vs the package
  • How to negotiate
  • When to back out

Know what you’re worth

The first step in salary negotiation is doing some research into the remuneration package you expect, as well as the current market rates for the type of role you’re applying for.

The aim of your research should be to develop a clear idea of your minimum, expected and dream salary, as follows:

Minimum salary

Whilst seemingly obvious, ascertaining your minimum salary can be tricky. Does it equate to what you’re currently earning? Or perhaps it’s just enough to pay your outgoing bills?

Your minimum salary should basically equate to your minimum cash requirements for a role based on your circumstances.

So, if you’re a first jobber this may be enough to cover your costs and give you some spending money. Alternatively, if you’re currently working and are moving jobs to earn more, your minimum will probably be at least the same as you’re earning.

In any case, earning less than your minimum will probably make you feel slightly cheated, and that you haven’t done well enough out of the offer.

Expected salary

The expected salary will naturally sit in between your minimum and dream salaries. But how do you calculate this?

Well, looking at market rates is the best place to start. So, look for job specs with similar requirements to what you’re applying for and check what companies are currently offering.

An average of the salary for these jobs is probably a fair assessment of current market rates, and so will be around the salary you should expect.

Of course, if you’re particularly well qualified or experienced, you may well expect higher than average market rates.

To check the latest market rates in your chosen field of work, why not try our salary calculator?

Dream salary

Having done some research on what the market rates are, you’re now in a position to start considering your dream salary. But what is your dream salary?

Clearly, we’d all like more money so are reluctant to cap what we’d like to earn. But, your dream salary should be the most you can expect to earn given the job you’re applying for and your own level of experience.

Looking at the higher-end salaries for jobs posted in your chosen field, as well as the level of experience they require, is a good place to start. If you’re expecting a salary higher than any of the jobs you’ve seen, you’re probably expecting too much.

Salary vs benefits package

Having set out your minimum, expected and dream salaries, you’re now in a position to consider where you might have some flexibility on this. Namely, the benefits package.

Whilst take-home salary is clearly important, there are other elements to consider. For example, your prospective employer might offer health care, a generous pension, stock options, free gym membership or flexible working options (e.g. flexi-time).

The next step is to consider how much flexibility you’re willing to offer for all of these benefits. This will take into account the monetary value of these benefits, but you should also consider some of the lifestyle and time-saving benefits.

For example, flexible working hours might allow you to spend more time with your family, whereas company pensions will mean you don’t have to organise your own pension scheme.

How to negotiate

You’re now at the stage where you know what you should be earning, and what room you have for negotiation. So it’s time to start negotiating your offer.

Your prospective employer is likely to have a figure in mind for your salary, but don’t simply accept or reject the first offer.

Initially, you should ask whether there is flexibility on the salary dependent on the experience and skills of the applicant. Also, remember to ask how often this salary is likely to be reviewed – taking a lower salary will be more acceptable if there will be regular salary reviews.

With the salary band stated by the employer, now is the time to start comparing it to your initial salary expectations.

If the salary is below your minimum expectation, you will probably want to explain that the offer is below what you were expecting. You’ll also want to explain why this is – perhaps because you can’t afford to earn less or because you are already earning more than they are offering.

If the package is around your expected salary, you will still want to negotiate. Explain that you may be worth more than market rates, due to your experience, knowledge or qualifications.

In the event of being offered your dream salary, you will probably want to discuss room for future growth in earnings and career development. Remember, although this is your dream salary, as you progress your expectations are likely to increase.

For any of these scenarios, you should never flat out refuse a salary straight away. You should state that you ‘need time to consider the package’, giving you and the employer time more time to consider your options.

When to back out

There are clearly a number of considerations when deciding whether to accept an offer from an employer.

Whilst salary is important within these, you will need to take into account other considerations such as benefits, working hours, work culture, the job itself and room for career development.

If the salary is not what you expected, and is not compensated by additional benefits or career development, you should say so. If this is not then reviewed by the employer, you’ll probably need to accept that the job wasn’t right for you and move on.

Remember, if you’ve done your homework, you should know what you’re worth and make sure you earn that in your next career move.

May 23, 2008 Posted by | Interview Technique, random | | Leave a comment

US presidential election…..

The biggest news in the biggest economy in the world is obviously the upcoming Presidential Election. The Republicans have pretty much decided on their candidate, the Vietnam war hero John McCain, but the Democratic nominees are still slugging it out in a potentially damaging fight to see who will represent them in the autumn polls. The battle between Obama and Clinton is every bit as enthralling as the actual election itself promises to be.

Capital2 has a vested interest in US politics as many of our main clients are headquartered there. A quick poll round the offices shows our ideological support is behind Obama to beat Clinton and then to beat McCain. However there are doubts about whether Obama can mobilize enough support to outwit the Republicans and win the entire thing. We hope so, but there are bound to be a lot of twists and turns yet to come.

In our January predictions for 2008 we stated that Bloomberg would step in to race as an independent but this hasn’t happened, ah well, you can’t win them all!

May 12, 2008 Posted by | Capital2, Macroeconomic News, random | | Leave a comment

Book Review, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ by Jordan Belfort

Wow, what a madman. Here’s an idiot’s guide to this book:

Short guy gets job at Rothschilds… takes drugs

Fast forward a few years, short guy is chief of a stockbroking firm… takes lots of drugs

Short guy is a maniac, becomes a crook through fraud and money laundering… takes lots and lots of drugs

Everything caves in, short guy gets off drugs, goes to prison.

Jordan Belfort epitomises the work hard play hard type. However he played too hard, which affected his decision making and the lives of all around him. He is also a criminal. The book is badly written, and Belfort comes across badly – he is extremely self-congratulatory throughout and to be honest is a bit of a prat.

Saying that, it was a great ride to be taken on!


April 21, 2008 Posted by | random | Leave a comment

Pause déjeuner : des habitudes très contrastées chez les salariés européens

48% des salariés français prennent un vrai repas à table contre seulement 34% des européens en moyenne !Selon l’un des tous derniers sondages menés par Monster auprès des salariés européens, la culture du déjeuner varie très sensiblement d’un pays à l’autre du continent.

Les salariés d’Europe de l’Est sont les plus nombreux à prendre un vrai repas à table, une habitude notamment observée chez plus de 60 % des salariés tchèques. Dans les pays comme l’Italie, la France ou la Suisse, connus pour leur amour de la bonne chère, respectivement 53 %, 48 % et 46 % des salariés prennent quotidiennement un vrai déjeuner à table, contre seulement 8 % des Suédois et 6 % des Danois.

Dans le cadre de son baromètre mensuel, Monster a posé la question suivante à 17 302 salariés européens dont 2422 français : qu’est-ce qu’une « pause déjeuner » pour vous ?

Voici les principaux résultats de cette enquête :

• Les français interrogés répondent :

48% : Un vrai repas à table
24% : Une balade et un petit en-cas
24% : Un sandwich à mon bureau
4% : Je ne déjeune pas
Total: 2422 Vote(s)

• Les européens interrogés répondent :

35 % : Un sandwich à mon bureau
22 % : Une ballade et un petit en-cas
34 % : Un vrai repas à table
9 % : Je ne déjeune pas
Total : 17 302 votes

Mieux vaut ne pas manger son sandwich bureau…

Les scientifiques s’accordent à dire que d’un point de vue bactériologique, le bureau est un espace 400 fois plus sale que des toilettes normalement entretenues. Malgré cette réalité, le Baromètre Monster indique que plus de 73 % des employés de bureau en Suède et 38 % de leurs homologues belges font encore le choix du sandwich au bureau en guise de déjeuner contre seulement 24%des salariés français.

L’impasse sur le déjeuner

C’est en Pologne (21 %) et en Hongrie (18 %) que l’on observe la proportion la plus élevée de salariés faisant totalement l’impasse sur le déjeuner, tandis que les français (4 %) et les Néerlandais (5 %) sont les moins adeptes de cette pratique.

« Notre enquête démontre bien que si les pratiques professionnelles sont assez proches à travers le continent, les salariés européens adoptent en revanche des attitudes très différentes sur le terrain de la “vie sociale” au travail, et notamment en matière de pause déjeuner », déclare Andrea Bertone, PDG de Monster France et Europe du Sud.

Ballade & sandwich

Parmi les personnes interrogées, les salariés finlandais présentent la particularité d’être deux fois nombreux (58%) par rapport à la moyenne européenne à profiter de leur pause déjeuner pour se balader et prendre un en-cas.

« Le fait de prendre un vrai repas au déjeuner peut également avoir des effets bénéfiques en terme d’énergie et permettre à un employé d’être plus productif l’après-midi. Ceux pour qui faire une pause et quitter son bureau à l’heure du déjeuner semble relever de l’impossible trouveront sur le site de Monster de nombreux conseils pour les aider à mieux gérer leur temps », conclut Andrea Bertone, PDG Monster France et Europe du Sud.

March 26, 2008 Posted by | random | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy St Patricks’s Day

Don’t you just love St Paddy’s Day……. an excuse to wear a green wig and drink guinness.

March 17, 2008 Posted by | random | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interesting Links

Following on from our reading list, quotes and heros threads…. here are a selection of websites that the Capital2 Solutions teams favour for work and personal reasons (management disclaimer [no free speech here!]… these links appear without the prior agreement of the sites): – gives the best market information and business news out there – nearly as good as reuters but with added cups of tea and cucumber sandwiches – more than just a job board, interesting sector news and a mine of information for the banking industry – technology specific site giving up to date information and irrelevant stories – business networking par excellence – as LinkedIn but with more of a francophile nature… Vive la difference!

The other suggestions for sites are unable to be posted due to their shall we say ‘different’ or ‘worrying’ nature, we don’t want to embarrass the people who sent the links!

March 13, 2008 Posted by | random, The Team | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment