“Everyone’s dream can come true if you just stick to it and work hard” – Serena Williams


If you ask anyone I’ve worked with or I’ve ever met, they could tell you that I am not a massive rugby fan, but as I passed an advertisement for the Herald on Sunday with Richie McCaw on the cover, post his final match with the AB’s on Saturday night I was taken by what he said about ‘being the best means being the hardest working not the most talented’ (total paraphrase) . This is a common theme when top sports players are interviewed, and is probably most prevalent when looking at the longevity and subsequent results and career of Serena Williams, who is arguably the greatest athlete of our time.


Being the best seems to require, hard work, long hours, and a drive and commitment to reaching your goals. These are not new themes, if you look at any inspirational poster, self help book or motivational podcast but what does this mean when it comes to finding a new job and the recruitment process?


Some people will find looking for a new job incredibly difficult while others will be fending calls from recruiters off left right and centre, yet the process of finding and accepting a new job is pretty much the same each time.  The answer I think lies in the same things we see with professional athletes; it’s what you don’t see on game day that makes all the difference. A job interview and the general recruitment process is not so different from playing in a tournament/ game/ recital; it’s the hard work that goes in before hard than pretty much guarantees the success of the outcome. It sounds pretty simple, but so many candidates just turn up to an interview and expects to win without doing the necessary training and practice needed to achieve those results. 


We had an example here this week with a senior candidate who was rejected for a role as the company stated that they didn’t know enough about their company, and competitive climate which meant that they didn’t look strategic enough to take on a crucial role within their company. Was this true of the candidate’s ability? Not in the slightest. When the feedback was passed to the candidate they were shocked, but what they failed to realise was that if they were really committed to getting a new role then they would have done the necessary hard work needed to win when it came to ‘game day’.  You can’t just turn up for an interview not match fit and expect to play to win.


So when it comes to getting yourself into premium recruitment shape, what kind of things do you need to look at? How does your CV look? Simply listing what you do on a day to day basis does nothing to set you apart from your other opponents; it’s what you achieved better than others in the role before you that got better results than them is what we are after. How does your linkedin profile look? Is it updated with specific content and contact details so that the talent scouts (recruiters) can find you for the roles you want to be found for?


What about your interview preparation? Have you spent time going though your background looking for key achievements, practicing competency based questions, and thinking about how you can and have added value in the past that make you the best person for the role? Also most importantly, what research have you done about the company you are interviewing for? Who are they? What are their values? Who are their competitors? What are their products? What does the market say about them? These are all important training tools you need in order to be match fit on the day?


Being the best and achieving your goals both at work and on the court takes commitment, practice and hard work.  It also means not giving up when things get tough. Things in life are hard, like training for a marathon, or writing a blog… But if you want it hard enough then it’s what you do behind the scenes that makes winning all the more sweet.


Written by Richard Gray-Smith, General Manager at Gaulter Russell Numero.