Common feedback we get on candidates?
“Great skillset, but I couldn’t confidently put them in front of the CEO”.
A bit of a generalisation here but we typically find three types of consulting candidates.
1/ Super Confident
Excellent at self-advocating for themselves. Can be overly relaxed and have done little preparation. Relies on their pedigree. Usually likable but with a dash too much ego.
Upside: Clients want someone who is able to speak to any stakeholder confidently and command the attention of those who matter.
Downside: You can be seen as having too much ego which may rub certain stakeholders up the wrong way.
You can come across as disinterested in the specific opportunity or that you are too good for the role.
Clients also worry about team dynamics.
Perceived overconfidence can also be masking insecurities.
These candidates often take constructive feedback or rejection poorly.
2/ Skilled, qualified, “great on paper”
Unassuming. Smart. Often likable but can come across as lacking “Umph” or gravitas.
Will often rely on doing a good job to be seen. A typical insecure overachiever. Can come across as nervous in interview even if well prepared.
Upside: Clients may see you as a safe pair of hands. You will make them look good with quality work that they may end up presenting. They like to have a team of high achievers with great pedigree, as it attracts other high achievers.
Downside: Clients can worry about your influencing skills; they may need you to present to senior stakeholders.
It is all well and good producing quality work, but can you get anyone to listen to you, or to take you seriously?
Clients will wonder if you’ll be enjoyable to work with & how much input will be needed to bring you up to speed.
They may be concerned if the role is a succession plan role for fear it may take too long for you to gain the confidence of key stakeholders.
3/ The humble achiever!
Good on paper, even better in person. Quietly confident, personable, builds rapport quickly, articulates achievements succinctly, holds eye contact, is calm, collected, and well prepared. Has a solid answer for why they want the role.
Upside: The client feels you will make a positive impact on all stakeholders and team members so will be able to hit the ground running.
They are excited at the prospect of working with you. Even if there may be one or two skill gaps they are more likely to feel comfortable that you can be successful in the role.
Downside: If you are not a top-tier trained candidate, and if the client has a bias, it could be a point of hesitation however our stats show this is not usually a showstopper… not anymore.
We love working with candidates that fall into category 3. So do our clients. As long as you have a skill set, you are more likely to get the role than those with a top-tier pedigree, who are perfect on paper but fall into category 1 or 2
Be like candidate 3!
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