In recruitment, we are preoccupied with ensuring that candidates’ CVs showcase their skills – in particular, skills that are relevant for the role for which they are applying. Often, a skill is something which one is so good at that it has become second nature – you don’t even notice you possess the skill precisely because you are so skilled. Humorist Andy Selsberg has created a checklist of “unsung skills” from “noticing new haircuts” to “making a big production of yawns”. Admittedly, the tone of the checklist is not serious, and I would urge anyone to avoid putting skills such as “noticing new haircuts” on their CV… However, the point Selsberg makes remains true – many of us are skilled in ways we never notice. It makes for a rather uplifting exercise writing down everything you’re good at and why not include the silly things too? I, for instance, am particularly good at finding things in a (messy) flat – it’s possible I have developed this skill as part of a necessary evolution. It’s worth noting that I would prefer to have developed “tidying up more regularly”, but we can’t have everything. I am also highly skilled in the art of carrying almost everything I possess around in my handbag and never clearing it out despite not needing any of it. I like to think this is a throwback from caveman days, when it wouldn’t have been safe to leave your wallet/diary/random bits of paper at home in case a beast came along and half-inched them… But perhaps I’m merging my childhood in Hackney with the Flintstones and mistaking it for history. After that wild leap of imagination, back down to Earth. What unsung skills do you possess?
I recently read a study that confirmed my suspicion that most people don’t remember what we present to them in a sales call. The data suggested that the average buyer in a meeting will only remember one thing a week after your meeting.
So what have sales professionals done about this? They have worked on honing the message and developing a compelling unique advantage.
But here’s what you’re fighting – a world cluttered with information, schedules, packed with more meetings and work than a person can handle. A decision making process with more people involved in every choice–many of whom know little about your product or service. No wonder so little is remembered – often your audience doesn’t even understand what you are offering.
If you ask a child what you or a company does, the answer that you provide has to be in a language that they can understand.
What does a procurement specialist know about what you sell–or the IT person, or the finance person? The challenge is this: Can you answer the three questions a 10 year-old asked, for your own business – there are right and wrong answers for both.
Daddy, What Do You Do?
- Right answer: “I help companies to grow really fast by teaching them how to sell bigger companies much larger orders.”
- Wrong answer: “Our company helps develop inside of our clients a replicable and scalable process for them to land large accounts.”
Why Do People Decide to Hire You?
- Right answer: “We have helped lots of companies do this before, so we are really good at it as long as they are the right type of companies.”
- Wrong answer: “We have a proven process for implementation that allows organizations to tailor the model to their market, business offering and company’s growth goals.”
Why Don’t They Do It Themselves?
- Right answer: “Just like when you learned to play the piano: Mummy and I could teach a little, but we don’t know as much as your teacher, and teaching you ourselves would take a long time and be very frustrating. Daddy is a really good teacher of how to make bigger sales, and people want to learn how to do this as fast as they can.”
- Wrong answer: “We are the foremost expert in this field with over $5 billion in business that our clients have closed using this system. Usually our clients have tried a number of things on their own before we work together and have wanted outside help to get better results.”
In these cases, both answers are accurate, but that doesn’t make them right. In a world in which more decisions are made with less information and context, our responsibility is to get to as clear and memorable an answer as possible for all of the buyers to understand.
As a recruiter I’m looking for talented people who I can get my clients excited about. But how would my clients feel if they knew that a potential employee had sent me their CV from an email address like ‘[email protected]’? (This is an example email address by the way, not the exact one I have recently received!)
Of late I have been receiving advert responses from unprofessional and often offensive email addresses. I’m not saying don’t have a fun email contact but what is this saying about a person who is looking for a career change or who wants to land their next dream role? Does it scream professional? No! Candidates are ruining their first impression with me by having an inappropriate email address and before I even open it I can pretty much guarantee they will not be someone I can represent. And why would I want to? I’m sure a day will come where ‘[email protected]’ (another address I’ve made up by the way) will fit the criteria of someone my client is looking for. And if this happens I will be pointing out very clearly that I will not work on their behalf unless they give me a new form of contact. It’s also embarrassing.
So leave your fun email addresses for everything else, just not when you want to show an employer that you are worth a £50k salary in a role dealing with industry professionals.
The most inspiring leaders are those who don’t work at a job but pursue a calling. In doing so they inspire the rest of us to be our best selves and to match our skills with our passions. They give us confidence to pursue our dreams
The following article is one in which provides an interesting viewpoint on the merits of staying loyal and committed to a passion, and turning that passion into a career which is truly rewarding.
As a responsible recruiter I am against the practice of potential employers taking informal, verbal references out on candidates without their permission. Not only does it breach the candidate’s confidentiality, but the danger of the news getting back to their current employer that they are job hunting is immense.
We have all heard of candidates who have found out, via ex-colleagues and friends, that people they have interviewed with have called their ex-bosses for an off the record chat. Needless to say the candidates have been horrified, but do the people who make these calls realise why what they are doing is so wrong?