By Robert Baker
Robert is Senior Partner at Cedar, a specialist financial recruitment consultancy focused on sourcing senior financial talent across commercial organisations.
British No.1, Grand Slam champion and reigning Wimbledon champion (until Sunday’s final), Andy Murray’s ‘CV’ speaks for itself. As an avid tennis fan I have always admired Andy Murray and fully supported him when he was a young, aspiring player to the Great British sportsman he is today. However, Murray doesn’t seem to have the same ‘buy in’ from the British public as other national sporting heroes. Why?
As a recruiter, I believe it is due to a perceived inability to come across positively in interviews that is hindering his success in achieving public support. If you watch Murray’s interviews, he rarely shows emotion, is often closed, uses one word answers and fidgets constantly. Murray struggles to project his personality and consequently comes across as dull, disengaged and lacking in confidence. As a result, Murray is often criticised in the media.
Strong communication skills coupled with a likability factor are key to interview success. Failing to tick the rapport or ‘personality fit’ box is a common reason senior finance candidates do not get called back for second interviews and why offers aren’t made despite the candidate being a perfect match on paper. Effectively presenting your personality can go a long way and could be key in succeeding in any interview process.
(Image © BBC.co.uk)
Due to a continuingly competitive economic climate combined with an expectation of finance professionals to add significant commercial value, the senior finance job market is fierce. Your CV will give just enough detail of your skills and experience required to tick the boxes of the job description and person specification but employers have to differentiate between candidates by putting them through a rigorous interview process to test competencies and behaviours.
The interview format often includes questions to discover how your behaviour has influenced your performance and the impact your actions have on the business. Clients need to be certain that you will bring the relevant skills and expertise to the role whilst also having the right personality. It is imperative that you demonstrate your ability to fit into existing teams and the company culture. Like Murray, you cannot rely on your talent alone.
After rigorous media training, Murray has been able to overcome his inability to engage the public and we have seen his interview technique improve. Bursting into tears and showing raw emotion when winning Wimbledon, changed public opinion dramatically. In the moving BBC documentary in the lead up to Wimbledon last year, this private and shy man won the hearts of many with a series of in-depth interviews about his career and achievements as cameras followed him in his day-to-day life allowing the public to see the ‘real’ Andy Murray.
An interview is an opportunity for you to effectively communicate your expertise and achievements and gives you a chance to show the ‘real’ you. You only get one chance to make a good first impression; you can’t start over so it definitely pays off to be prepared.
Cedar have been operating at the senior finance level for over 10 years so we are well placed to advise on what works and what doesn’t. Here are our collective top 5 ‘Dos and Don’ts’ for a senior finance interview to avoid the ‘Murray effect’.....