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Interview scene
3 Dos and 3 Don’ts in an Interview Part 2 960 640 nbempong

3 Dos and 3 Don’ts in an Interview Part 2

3 Dos and 3 Don’ts in an Interview Part 2

There are a few things about interview conduct that you should know. It is very easy for you to overlook some of these. This article provides you with quick and helpful guide. This is not an exhaustive list. How many of these do you know already? 

Dos

1. Treat everyone you meet in the company as a potential interviewer  

It is easy for you to think the interview starts when you meet the interviewer. It begins the moment you walk through the office door. Every person you meet from that point on can provide feedback that will affect your chances of landing the job. If you’re not in the habit of being polite to everyone you meet (you should be), then remember to make the effort.    

2. Explain why you would do something in a certain way 

When given a scenario-based question it is good to explain why you’d take an action. By taking the extra effort to explain why, you give an insight into your reasoning. Even if the action isn’t exactly what the interviewer expected, the reasoning behind it might be something they hoped you’d demonstrate when they asked the question. 

3. Thank the interviewers for their time. After the interview it can’t hurt to get a thank you message to them, restating why you think you can be an asset to the company. 

Taking the extra effort sets you apart from the crowd. It also gives you a chance to remind them why you’d make a great hire. People who interview multiple candidates can sometimes find it hard to remember specifics. It won’t hurt your chances to remind them what they may have liked about you.    

Don’ts

1. Do not fidget during the interview

You may be nervous during the interview. You need to resist the urge to fidget. Fidgeting might distract your interviewers. You want them to listen to what you say, not watch you fidget. Aside from that it makes you look nervous. Interviewers understand you might be nervous but if you seem a lot more nervous than other candidates, you’re hurting your chances.       

2. Do not avoid eye contact

If you cannot make eye contact with your interviewers, you are already failing the interview. People associate looking away with guilt and other shifty behaviour. It’s difficult to trust someone who won’t make eye contact.   

3. Do not guess when answering questions 

If you’re asked a question and you don’t know the answer, say so. It’s better to say you’re not sure but you know how to find out than to guess. If you guess and get it wrong, you’ve not only shown you don’t know. You have shown you’re happy pretending to know something you don’t. You’ve essentially shown you are happy to lie when you think it’ll benefit you. Not a great quality in an employee.      

Conclusion

These are a few things that will help you increase your chances of acing that interview. One of these might be the difference between failure and success. It’s your responsibility to stack the odds in your favour. Are there any dos and don’ts you would add? Share your opinions with us and help someone out.    

If you would like to discuss this further or have questions related to IT Recruitment in London contact us on hello@sapientrecruitment.co.uk. You can also call 020 7566 1199 or visit our site and arrange a call-back www.sapientrecruitment.co.uk/contact  

3 Dos and 3 Don’ts in an Interview 1024 683 nbempong

3 Dos and 3 Don’ts in an Interview

3 Dos and 3 Don’ts in an Interview 

There are a few things about interview conduct that you should know. It is very easy for you to overlook some of these. This article provides you with quick and helpful guide. This is not an exhaustive list. How many of these do you know already? 

Dos

1. Greet your Interviewer(s) with a firm handshake and make eye contact  

This is good manners and shows you know how conduct yourself during a first meeting. It might sound simple but it’s easy to forget. You might greet the person who picks you up from reception, but do you do this to the interviewers already seated?   

2. Bring 2 printed copies of your CV with you 

Sometimes interviewers are pulled in at that last minute and may not have had time to print out a copy of your CV. How prepared will you look when you pull out a copy for the interviewer? This shows you’re the kind of person that thinks ahead and considers what others might need   

3. Make sure you have 1 or 2 good questions that you want to ask your interviewer 

A great way to show an interviewer you understand the company and what it wants from you is to ask a good question. It also shows you’ve been listening. Done right, a good question can be the final confirmation the interviewer needs to choose you. Here is an example I think works very well as a last question: “Is there anything I can do to address any reservations you might still have?”   

Don’ts

1. Do not insult or harshly criticise your current/former employer 

It’s easy to get caught up and say something unflattering about your last job. Let’s face it. If everything was perfect, you might not be moving. Be strong and resist this urge. It will make your future employer wonder how you’ll describe them if/when you leave one day. You can acknowledge imperfections, if you really must, but try to provide mitigating factors.       

2. Do not interrupt your interviewer 

Nobody likes to be interrupted. A good interview will give you plenty of time to speak. When the interviewer speaks, put all your energy into listening. As a bonus, you come across better when you understand the questions you’re asked. Something you hear may inspire a good question for you to ask at the end.    

3. Do not discuss desired salary 

You may be tempted to ask, or the interviewer might ask you about your desired salary. Either way (unless you don’t have an agent representing you) you should avoid this topic. When money is discussed it takes the interviewer away from considering your qualities, to considering your cost. Make sure they believe you’re the right candidate and salary almost becomes an afterthought (if you fall within advertised range).     

Conclusion

These are a few things that will help you increase your chances of acing that interview. One of these might be the difference between failure and success. It’s your responsibility to stack the odds in your favour. Are there any dos and don’ts you would add? Share your opinions with us and help someone out.    

If you would like to discuss this further or have questions related to IT Recruitment in London contact us on hello@sapientrecruitment.co.uk. You can also call 020 7566 1199 or visit our site and arrange a call-back www.sapientrecruitment.co.uk/contact  

Micromanagement
Micromanagement from the manager’s perspective 960 540 nbempong

Micromanagement from the manager’s perspective

Micromanagement from the manager’s perspective  

We all love a good moan about micromanagement. It is one of the most damaging things an employee can experience. We rarely look at it from another perspective. What about when an employee forces a manager to double-check everything they do? Do we ever consider how it feels to be forced to micromanage someone? 

1. The drain on your time 

Micromanaging takes time. You end up doing your job and a large portion of someone else’s. The knowledge that you are ultimately responsible will drive you to double-check another’s work. You have no choice but to check work from someone that has repeatedly let you down. The other option is to let them get on with it and hope for the best. Easier said than done if your neck is on the line.   

2. The stress 

Not all managers enjoy confrontation. It can be awkward to let someone know that you do not trust them to carry out their work. If you have a good relationship, then it’s even worse. The time you’re spending on them, means you have less to do the work you’re supposed to. It becomes much easier for you to miss deadlines and allow your own work to deteriorate.    

3. Micromanagement forces more micromanagement 

Micromanagement is a slippery slope. Once you start, it creates factors that lead to you doing more of it. People who don’t feel trusted lose initiative. The less initiative they show, the more you must micromanage. This feeds on itself till you’re telling them how to do everything.

Conclusion 

Most instances of micromanagement are due to the manager’s actions. However, there are times when the employee leaves the manager no choice. In rare instance there are only two steps for the manager.

  • Provide training and encouragement that will allow the employee to gain the competence and confidence to work under reduced supervision.  
  • If training and encouragement don’t cut it then review the position. The person may not be a good fit. You can move them to a more suitable position in your organisation. Where this isn’t possible, you can help them to move into a more suitable position in another organisation. 

I would love to hear instances where you’ve had to micromanage. How did you get out of the vicious circle? Let’s share our solutions with other in the same position.  

If you would like to discuss this further or have questions related to IT Recruitment in London contact us on hello@sapientrecruitment.co.uk. You can also call 020 7566 1199 or visit our site and arrange a call-back www.sapientrecruitment.co.uk/contact  

IR35 Article
4 Things you should know about IR35 and the Private sector 960 540 nbempong

4 Things you should know about IR35 and the Private sector

4 Things you should know about IR35 and the Private sector

Now that plans to roll out IR35 to the private sector are well under way, you should look at what you need to do. When it rolled out to the public sector, contractors fled to the private sector. IR35 is being forced on the private sector. There is nowhere left to run (in the UK). All is not lost, there are some steps you can take to ensure that your contract doesn’t put you under IR35.  

1. You need to be in control:

You need to make sure that your client let you know what needs to be done but is not specifying exactly how it is done. You can go so far as to specify that you control, where, when and how work is carried out. 

2. Secure the right to substitution and exercise it if possible: 

A This means that you can send in someone else to carry out the work if you need to. You can only do that if you have someone qualified to carry out the task available and the client is happy with this. 

3. Mutuality of Obligation:

Most contracts I came across even before IR35 would state there is no obligation for the client to provide you with work and there is no obligation for you to accept it.    

4. You have business risk:

Maybe If a mistake is made your company is liable and must bear the cost. You should have insurance to cover the risk.

Some other factors that can indicate your IR35 status include:  

  • Whether you use your own equipment or the company’s. Use your own whenever possible. 
  • Your contract has a start and end date. 
  • You are not treated like all other employees.  Keep a diary to show examples of when you were treated differently. 

Conclusion

With this guide you should be able to control your IR35 status. There’s no guarantee HMRC won’t claim you fall inside IR35 but you will be able to defend yourself. So far HMRC have lost most cases they have investigated (link here).  

If you would like to discuss this further or have questions related to IT Recruitment in London contact us on hello@sapientrecruitment.co.uk. You can also call 020 7566 1199 or visit our site and arrange a call-back www.sapientrecruitment.co.uk/contact  

Great Interview experience
5 Ways to Create a Great Interview Experience 960 540 nbempong

5 Ways to Create a Great Interview Experience

5 Ways to Create a Great Interview Experience 

The market for employees is more competitive. Every contact you make with a candidate is an opportunity to make a good impression. It amazes me that most companies realise this and yet still revert to the old way of thinking. Do not focusing on the “why should I give you this job” mindset. Make sure you consider the “these are the reasons you should work for us” part of things. Here are a few simple steps you can take to improve the interview experience. This will help you stand out to the best candidates. 

1. Be on time 

You don’t like it when a candidate is late. It isn’t a great sign of things to come unless they have a great reason. It is the same for candidates. If an employer is late for an interview and doesn’t even bother to give a reason that is a red flag. People don’t suddenly respect you or value your time more when you work for them. It’s usually the opposite. Send a good signal by being on time yourself. If you do end up late, be sure to apologise and explain why. 

2. Have the interview in a good environment 

A good environment doesn’t have to be luxurious. It should not have people walking by within earshot. Nobody wants strangers casually listening in on their interview. It should be clean. Try not to have an interview in the comms room or any place filled with spare equipment. It gives the impression of being disorganised. It may also lead the candidate to think that you couldn’t be bothered to arrange a meeting room.   

3. Try to help the candidate relax 

I often get feedback from candidates. One of the most common compliments they give interviewers is that they were nice and helped them relax. The best interviews usually produce a response like “it felt more like a chat with a friend…”. It helps to reassure the candidate at the start. Striking up a conversation and being at ease yourself can help. Unless you are specifically testing for responses under stress, you’ll get more from a candidate once you’ve helped to settle early nerves.  

4. Don’t bring in 2 or 3 extra interviewers at the last minute 

Maybe you planned to conduct the interview yourself. A member of your team is now available, so you decide to get them to sit-in. That is fine. If you decide to bring in a few members of your team and a director or manager, then you’re pushing it. It’s fine to have multiple people in an interview. Normally the candidate would be informed of this beforehand. If you don’t let them know and spring it on them, it can affect performance. Without prior warning to allow candidates to prepare, those extra people can be distracting.    

5. At the end of the interview give them an honest idea of when they’ll get feedback 

It’s nice to give the candidate an idea of what to expect after the interview. Sometimes you can’t say whether the candidate will make the next step. You should at least be able to say when they can expect some feedback. You can provide feedback and explain why you can’t give a decision yet. Try not to take too long because good candidates do not stay available for long. You may be a preferred option, but a solid offer trumps a potential one. If you know you won’t be hiring the candidate then be kind and give quick feedback so they can move on.    

Conclusion

Creating a good experience promotes your company. It is a great way to build good will and to impress future employees. A great experience can swing things in your favour when offers are the same. It might even push a candidate to accept your offer even if it’s lower. More and more people are prioritising quality of life over salary. You spend so much of your life at work this makes sense. Use the interview process as another tool in your belt to showcase your company’s strengths  

If you would like to discuss this further or have questions related to IT Recruitment in London contact us on hello@sapientrecruitment.co.uk. You can also call 020 7566 1199 or visit our site and arrange a call-back www.sapientrecruitment.co.uk/contact  

3 things to consider when specialising 960 540 nbempong

3 things to consider when specialising

3 things to consider when specialising

In life there is the tendency to try to do more to give yourself a greater chance of success. Conventional wisdom states that if you have more varied skills, more certifications, more exposure to different technologies you’ll increase your chances of landing that dream job. The reality doesn’t usually follow that formula. There are a few reasons why concentrating your efforts can provide you a better result than spreading yourself thin.  

The next step from generalist is a specialist 

You may spend the first part of your career as a generalist. You’ll hit a point where if you want to increase your demand you will need to specialise. There are lots of people with a surface knowledge of most technologies. There aren’t that many that have deep and extensive knowledge in a technology. When you become one of the few, you can demand better compensation and you’re more in demand. You need to make sure you choose wisely to avoid being specialist in a field that is obsolete. 

You get to focus on what you enjoy 

Some people will select an area they feel is in demand and can command high salaries. Infosec is currently one of those areas (see link). Others will select areas that they enjoy working in. A real interest in a technology makes it easier for you to master. You are happier studying and building labs in your spare time. Without some real motivation it’s difficult to put in the effort required to master a technology well enough to be considered a specialist. I would argue there are few things in life that beat being paid for something that you’d happily do in your spare time.  

You can accidentally become a specialist 

If you don’t choose an area to specialise in, you can accidentally end up in one. A few years back, I took on a project to roll out McAfee EPO to a client and configure all end points. In my next role I was brought in to work on a few things, it turned out one of those was a rollout of McAfee. They thought I’d be great for that while working other things. I got a lot of offers for roles involving McAfee after that and if I did not have a strong preference, I might have ended up moving from one McAfee-heavy roll to another. One day I’d wake up and my experience would make me a McAfee/AV specialist and it would be harder to move out of that pigeonhole.  

Conclusion 

There’s truth in the saying that after a point, you either specialise or go into management (a whole different can of worms). You can decide to do neither but that is also a choice. You became a generalist. A different kind of specialisation. You’re more likely to succeed in getting somewhere if you know where you’re going. There’s nothing wrong with going with the flow. Early in your career it’s a smart move. Later, you should decide what you want to do and put an effort into achieving that goal. You can also decide to see where fate takes you. Just know that whatever you do is a decision. You might find yourself regretting the decision based on where you end up.     

If you would like to discuss this further or have questions related to IT Recruitment in London contact us on hello@sapientrecruitment.co.uk. You can also call 020 7566 1199 or visit our site and arrange a call-back www.sapientrecruitment.co.uk/contact  

Candidate assessing interviewers
Why interviews are a two-way street 960 684 nbempong

Why interviews are a two-way street

Why interviews are a two-way street? 

A lot of candidates and employers forget that interviews are there to allow them to assess each other. It’s not a one-sided conversation. As a candidate is being assessed, they should be assessing the company that they’re interviewing with. They’ll be spending a large portion of their lives at work so this is extremely important. Let us assume that the candidate does not want any job at all that is flung their way. That will help us avoid the old biases.   

You spend a lot of your life working

You’ll be spending a lot of your time working. When you take that into account it’s even more important that you ensure the environment is a good fit for you. What if the job sounds great on paper but you don’t enjoy the environment? You’ll find you’re in for a lot of avoidable pain. You colleagues will have more of your time than your family.

If you are a good candidate (even if you’re not) you’ll have choices 

A company might be great but won’t be the only one trying to land great candidates. When there is competition, candidates have more choice and how a company behaves is a bigger factor. If a company looks slightly better than another on paper, but the interviewers are rude, and start telling you during the interview how they expect you to drop everything for work, that might be a problem. One that looks slightly less attractive on paper but emphasises how much they want employees to have a good work life balance, will start looking better. If you don’t pay attention you will miss these important signs. 

How you’re treated during your interview is a very good measure of future treatment

Think about what an interview is. It’s when a company meets a candidate that they are interested in hiring. That means they want to present the best version of themselves, right? Even if they aren’t trying to put their best foot forward, how they’re behaving now is an indication of how they’ll treat you later. I’m afraid there is more chance they will treat you worse than at your interview than there is they’ll treat you better. It is even more important you try to get an idea of what the company culture is like.

Conclusion 

Never forget the purpose of an interview is two-fold. You to showcase yourself, and the company to showcase their culture. It’s in everyone’s interest for candidates to assess the company they are interviewing with. I’m confident fewer people would quit or be fired before their probation ends if we all did this. It’s even worse when you make it through probation and become an unhappy, unproductive member of staff. Everyone loses out. I hope these words will help future employees and employers.

If you would like to discuss this further or have questions related to IT Recruitment in London contact us on hello@sapientrecruitment.co.uk. You can also call 020 7566 1199 or visit our site and arrange a call-back www.sapientrecruitment.co.uk/contact  

Ways to be more appealing to IT professionals
5 ways to be more attractive to IT Professionals in London 960 685 nbempong

5 ways to be more attractive to IT Professionals in London

5 ways to be more attractive to IT Professionals

IT professionals are a can be particular. They have their own way of doing things. The nature of IT also attracts people with certain personalities. This is a generalisation, but there are some things you can do to make yourself more attractive than the average company for IT Professionals.  

Have cool technology/gadgets

Cool is very subjective. In this case, it means new. IT Professionals love to be exposed to the latest software or newest hardware. When we talk to each other, we brag about working on stuff with stupendous amounts of memory, or the fastest processors. We also love systems that lets us do things quickly and efficiently. It makes our peers that use workarounds jealous. Companies that have these new technologies tend to take their IT serious. Nothing screams “we don’t really value IT” like archaic hardware and software that should have been replaced a decade ago. 

Your IT Department is not located in a basement (dungeon)

Most IT Professionals do not want to be stashed away in a windowless basement. Just because you might have equipment there (less likely in the Cloud era), doesn’t mean your IT staff need to be there. Don’t buy into the old anti-social cave dweller from TV. If you were going to leave IT alone to their own devices, there might be some appeal. Let’s face it, that won’t happen. So why should they suffer in the basement? Let them enjoy the sunlight and feel like valued members of the team. Just have a system to stop people walking up to them expecting instant fixes without even logging a ticket…we don’t like that. 

Allow flexible working hours and working from home

Aside from front-line support roles, it doesn’t really matter when IT professionals get their work done. In fact, you probably prefer it if they do major work out-of-office hours. You expect them to suffer the downside of this, why not let them enjoy the upside? When possible why not let them avoid rush hour? If they’re working on a project with key resources in a data centre, let them do so from home. I guarantee they have more than adequate internet connections (Internet speeds are checked before local amenities when considering a place to live). 

Pay overtime or at least time off in lieu

Implementing suggestion number 3 mitigates the need for this. If you can’t/won’t allow flexible working, then at least consider overtime pay or time off in lieu. It’s a small way of showing appreciation for the sacrifices (time with family, social life, etc) IT Professionals make. It also has the second benefit of reigning in managers. Not all work needs to be done out-of-office hours. Some managers will ask for the work to be done out-of-office hours just to err on the side of caution. If you have overtime or time off in lieu, they must justify the request. They are immediately aware there are consequence to their demands.  

 Provide training or study time towards certification

An IT Professional needs training in order to advance. Certification is a big deal to IT Pros. Allowing IT Pros to study and paying for exams shows a commitment to their development. You also get a better trained, more confident employee. If you still have doubts think about this: 

CFO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and they leave?” 

CEO: “What happens if we don’t and they stay?” 

Conclusion 

If you practice these suggestions, you will attract, retain and develop an IT staff that helps the business grow stronger. IT will continue to become more important as the world embraces technology. You should do everything you can to be a welcoming environment for IT Professionals. Your survival might depend on it. 

If you would like to discuss this further or have questions related to IT Recruitment in London contact us on hello@sapientrecruitment.co.uk. You can also call 020 7566 1199 or visit our site and arrange a call-back www.sapientrecruitment.co.uk/contact  

Effect of rising wages on IT Recruitment in London
The impact of rising wages on IT Recruitment in London 900 668 nbempong

The impact of rising wages on IT Recruitment in London

The impact of rising wages on IT Recruitment in London

It has been widely reported wages are rising for UK workers (Link). It is safe to say London is matching, if not out-pacing the rest of the nation. There are several reasons for this, but the key result is that it is costing more to secure good candidates. Whether this is good or bad depends on your perspective.  

Good candidates are in demand 

A decrease in supply means higher desired salaries for good candidates. As a result, good candidates will have more options. They can pick the best opportunities. This means employers have increased competition and will need to stand out more. Some employers will offer what they see as “cool” perks. As a candidate, I considered perks; however, the deciding factor was always the overall package. Offering gourmet coffee is nice but would not win me over unless everything else was equal (never happened). Most candidates now are no different than I was. Above all, the overall compensation must be better. 

Employers will work harder to retain their best 

All employers should do this, but we all know some that don’t. Nothing wakes up businesses like their bottom-line. These conditions will provide employers with extra incentives to focus on staff retention. Good processes and a genuine desire to create a great working environment will benefit everyone. We spend so much of our lives working that anything that makes work better (more interesting, comfortable, flexible, etc) will improve London as a whole. 

Some Recruiters will offer average as stellar 

There are always those recruiters that spoil things for everyone else. They may accidentally (or not) push an average candidate as a star candidate. In the current market, the very real possibility of not filling a position can influence hiring decisions. This is where you need a trusted IT Recruiter. They will be able to tell the difference between average and stellar (not as common as you’d expect). They will also have the honesty not to inflate salaries (and as a result, their fees).   

Reflection is needed on both sides 

Candidates will have to reflect on what is important for them. With increasing attempts to recruit them, comes increasing chances of being drawn into an organisation or career path that isn’t a good fit. Employers will have to reflect. You will need to really think about what you need in an employee. You shouldn’t just make a long list and go for the person who ticks the most boxes. If half of your requirements are actually nice-to-haves, do you really need all of them? Have you made an effort to differentiate between needs and wants? If you can’t answer either question, find someone who can. This may be a member of you IT team, or a specialist IT recruiter actual experience. A reasonable list (job specification) may allow you to find a great candidate without paying a premium for unneeded skills.  

 Conclusion 

Those who follow good practices (employers and IT Recruiters) will continue to succeed. Those who do not, will find it harder. With careful consideration and experience, we can adapt to the current environment and thrive.  

If you would like to discuss this further or have questions related to IT Recruitment in London contact us on hello@sapientrecruitment.co.uk. You can also call 020 7566 1199 or visit our site and arrange a call-back www.sapientrecruitment.co.uk/contact  

3 reason not to leave a gap in your CV 360 225 Kofi Darko

3 reason not to leave a gap in your CV

3 reasons you should never leave a (long) gap in your CV 

There are a myriad of reasons why you might have a long gap in your employment over the course of your career. Life can throw all sorts of spanners into the works. Whether it’s because of an illness that forces you out of work to be a carer or the person cared for; it could be a case of trying to avoid burnout by taking a sabbatical and travelling around the world; it might even be a redundancy (forced for otherwise) which has taken you out of the workforce for a period of time. Whatever the reason, the worst thing you can do on your CV is leave that time unaccounted for! 

This is by  no means an exhaustive list, but here are 3 reasons why you should never leave a gap:  

People wonder what you’re hiding:

People, more often that not, think the worst. The moment you allow (or force) a person reading your CV to wonder what you were up to from one date to another, they are likely to assume the worst. Was the person in jail? Where they up to something else they can’t put on their CV? These are not thoughts you want a potential employer to think before they’ve even decided to invite you in for an interview. 

People wonder if you’re lazy: 

It’s easy for people to imagine an unmotivated or lazy person sleeping in late, watching day-time television and generally doing nothing useful. People start to question your work ethic and that is never a good place to start when being considered for an interview. No matter how good you look on paper, nobody wants to carry dead-weight.

People wonder if you’re employable:

The train of thought might go something like – If he or she hasn’t managed to land a job after all this time then maybe there is something wrong with them?. They start to wonder if you’re good enough for the role as nobody else seems to think so. If they don’t jump to point 2 above, they might assume you’ve been looking the whole time but just haven’t found anyone willing to hire you. Hiring staff can be very risky and nobody wants to stick their neck out if it looks like everyone else has passed.  

All this is avoidable by taking a few simple steps. Whatever the reason for your CV gap it probably isn’t as bad as the 3 mentioned above or the other things people can imagine. You should add a line in your work history stating the dates of the gap, and an explanation. Some times people decide to take time off because they are adventurous and feel life is too short. That is not a crime. In fact, in some instances it is seen as a good trait. You may have decided you need to skill-up to become more valuable in your sector. By simply saying what you were doing, you change the conversation from “I wonder…”, to “I’ll need to ask about this during the interview.” The latter is a much better place to be. If you prepare your answer well beforehand, it might even turn into an advantage.  

So if you don’t take anything from this, please take the fact that any explanation is better than none.