7 Things Winning Candidates Have in Common

Posted on Monday, February 20, 2017 by Phil Hutchinson-MayNo comments


Or – How I spot a winner!

As a recruiter it’s often easy to spot a serious contender as soon as they walk through the door. With thousands of interviews under my belt it really is that obvious when you meet a winner.

So what is it about them that gives off such strong signals for success? And how do I then confirm that my first impressions are right?

Here are the top 7 things I think winning candidates have in common.

1. Vision

Winners have vision – they know why they are in the room and what they want from their next role – because it is part of a plan. These winners always know how today’s tasks are going to contribute to their bigger goal. They can clearly articulate the career choices they have made and the benefits of their roles and experiences to date

2. They want it

Vision, important as it is, is not the whole picture – our winners have to want it too. There’s a movie about a team of American Football players   coached by Gene Hackman which includes the fantastic line “Winners always want the ball when the game is on the line.” How badly does this candidate want the ball?

3. They’re prepared to put in the hours

Champion Rower Greg Searle talks about the importance of breaking the ice – literally. Even on the coldest days in the depths of winter you have to get in the boat, break the ice on the freezing water and practice. Being a winner is all about seeing the bigger picture, knowing why you are there and putting in the hours.

4. Giving a good first impression

Not everyone has movie star looks like Tom Cruise but winners tend to exude confidence regardless of their physical gifts. Well turned out candidates with a firm handshake are always a big plus. I advise candidates to think about how they are going to create that initial impression using the 1st 12 rule. Pay attention to the first 12 inches of your body – your face – maintain eye contact and smile. The 1st 12 steps you take towards the interviewer – are you confident and the first 12 words that you say.

5. Achievements

If somebody has won in the past then they are likely to do so again. Most candidates can list their achievements and a few well-chosen questions will test how robust they are. Winners are ready to back up these achievements with facts and mention things they have achieved as part of a team as well.

6. Synergy

Winners understand that you need others around you. Working with people who have a variety of skills allows us to discover jointly things we are much less likely to discover by ourselves. Creating a win/win is one of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People documented by Stephen Covey – find out more about them here

7. Resilience

This is what former Football Manager Iain Dowie referred to in 2004 as bouncebackability. Individuals and organisations alike need the resilience to get back up time and again after a setback. There’s a great bit in the Spielberg movie Bridge of Spies about the Standing Man who keeps getting up every time he gets knocked down. Lane4 the performance management and coaching business also believe resilience is a key trait in winners – check  out what they have to say here

That’s just 7 of the ways I spot a winner – I am sure there are many more.

So if you want to progress your career, get in touch. I work with some great FMCG Companies who want to hire winners, if this sounds like you we can get down to the serious business of matching you with a new position in a fantastic firm.


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