Looking more like a missing-vowels clue from geeky TV quiz Only Connect, we invite you to ask yourself the discomforting question….
What do you know that you don’t know you know?
Here at Woodrow Mercer Finance, we are determined to do things differently. We see ourselves as maverick by nature, inquisitive by instinct and happy to push ourselves to the limit in pursuit of the best candidates. More Bear Grylls than Bernard Shaw in fact, and not naturally inclined to navel gazing. However, Neil Muffitt, Woodrow Mercer Finance Partner and our own Head Scout, is convinced that the question “What do you know that you don’t know you know?” is the key that unlocks hidden depths, valuable talents and unique skills that frequently don’t find their way on to CVs.
Uncovering what’s not on the CV
Hardcore survival guru, Bear Grylls, claims that he barely glances at CVs, somewhat surprisingly focusing on soft skills, such as loyalty, enthusiasm and commitment. We don’t advocate such a total dismissal of CVs, but we do think that uncovering what’s not on the CV is as important as challenging what is. In particular, and always in pursuit of the perfect match, we seek to unearth the unrecorded, unacknowledged and perhaps previously undervalued skills, unique to an individual that allow them to perform better than peers and rivals. Hearing that someone is good at persuading directors to do things today, that they didn’t want to do yesterday, can be music to our ears. Equally, discovering that a candidate is able to ensure that external stakeholders get what they want, without compromising their position as the MD’s right hand man, is a perfect example of the hidden talents we seek out using the WDYKTYDKYK approach.
Working with difficult managing directors
The question is how to get people to recognise and articulate these valuable competences – to get them to reveal the things they know that they don’t know they know. Many candidates, especially those who have a few years under their belts may even take their skills for granted – leaving them off the CV altogether. For example, a candidate who reveals a knack for working with difficult managing directors may find themselves way ahead of rivals for some positions. Similarly, potential FDs that can articulate a flair for looking after the interests of the business owners without them knowing they are doing it, may unknowingly have exactly what the business needs.
Neil Muffitt believes “It may sound counter intuitive, but in many circumstances, the hard skills listed on a CV are not what makes a candidate most valuable to an employer – it is the additional skills that they often don’t know that they had the makes them our preferred candidate. Seeking out the things that candidates don’t know they know is a great technique for successful matches, which, we believe, is the essence of our competitive advantage.”
So, there you go – time to ask yourself “What do you know that you don’t know you know?”