The Achiever's Guide to the Motor Industry

Daily Career tips from Guy Liddall

A healthy cynicism never did any harm

Date Posted: May 22, 2014

You need to develop a healthy cynicism, especially when changing jobs. Make sure this is what you want to do. And do not trust your new employer too blindly.  Many of you view the employment contract as a one-way agreement, and would not dare to question your prospective bosses too closely. Which isn”t really logical, is it?  Because you would never buy a house without a survey, or a used car without an HPI check, in the corporate world you would never takeover a company without audited accounts. Because you might just be cynical that you won”t be told … Read More »

Cometh the hour, where are they?

Date Posted: May 21, 2014

Be on time. NEVER, NEVER be late, or more than 15 minutes early. Plan to be in the area at least half an hour before and hang around – give yourself time to get your thoughts together. If the unthinkable happens and you are going to be late, telephone them in advance, giving them time to re-arrange their schedule if necessary. This is essential even if it delays you slightly more. If you are using an agency then call them too. They can contact the client for you as well, to make sure the message gets through. And when … Read More »

We know what you do, not what you’ve done

Date Posted: May 20, 2014

If you are going to apply for positions in the motor industry then if you currently work in this sector, can I whisper a little secret? We know what you do. And so does any other recruiter too. What they want from your application or CV is information that tells them about you, not about the role of a parts manager, or service advisor. They are not going to phone the MD and say “I’ve had an application from a sales executive who seems to be in contact with customers. Just what we want”. They all want people who can … Read More »

Promote yourself – help others

Date Posted: May 19, 2014

As most promotions mean more managerial or supervisory responsibilities it is a good idea to make sure that others see that you have some capabilities, otherwise many will see that the leap is too big for you. To start with, you need to be seen as someone who helps others, who listens and who is somebody that others comes to for advice. Coaching, encouraging, supporting and giving credit to others while helping them to do better is always appreciated and noticed. If you can stay out of office politics while not keeping yourself aloof or stand offish, a difficult … Read More »

Careful when the wind changes direction

Date Posted: May 16, 2014

Here are a couple of fictitious scenarios. First, I rather improbably get made the Operations Director of a small dealer group (you can see why I used the word “fictitious”).  I quickly find out it has been badly run for years. Their franchises should mean the group is highly profitable, but it isn’t. The staff have received almost no training and, to put it kindly, are well meaning but bumblingly incompetent.    The owner struggles from hand to mouth because he doesn’t realise that, with the right direction, the business can be unlocked and make him a lot money. But he’ll have … Read More »

Am I moving to Greener Grass?

Date Posted: May 15, 2014

You’ve been offered the job of your dreams. You are excited, you’ll show everyone what you are made of. But before you hand in your notice just take a moment to reflect – will I really do better elsewhere? In your current role you are probably protected, you understand the company, what is required of you. You have a reputation (which might be why you are going of course) and a whole load of relationships that will have to be broken, new ones made. How long will it take you to get back into the same position? How long … Read More »

JFK had it right

Date Posted: May 14, 2014

We meet hundreds of candidates every year and help many more in outplacement projects. Very few do themselves full justice with us; I expect less do so with prospective employers. If I had to give one piece of advice then I would suggest that the following quote from JFK needs to be read, understood and repeated to yourself throughout any interview: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” John F Kennedy 1961 When answering questions, especially at a first meeting, remember this great quote. Those who are worried about … Read More »

Sell yourself – no one else will

Date Posted: May 13, 2014

Always remember what a CV does – it secures that vital interview and is then a quick reference document for the recruiter. It is not an encyclopedia or a 500-page biography.  Say everything you need in a maximum of two pages or 650 words, always, no exceptions – if you go beyond this you are saying too much or your layout is wrong. And even though the British love modesty, you need to sell yourself – because no one else will.  So don’t be shy, modest or let the recruiter find out your undoubted talents themselves – they will … Read More »

Promote yourself – you have to invest

Date Posted: May 12, 2014

I talked last week about “promoting yourself” by doing more that was useful for the company. By putting yourself out there. By using the word promoting here I mean the act of getting your self up the career ladder, not a self seeking publicist. Don’t wait for dead man’s shoes, make yourself valuable and even indispensable to to the company. So indispensable that good employers will recognise your worth and promote you rather than lose you. This means of course that you need to invest some time and effort. Note that other word in the headline ‘invest’, many people … Read More »

The Tyranny of KPIs

Date Posted: May 9, 2014

KPI’s – Key Performance Indicators – are just that. Indicators. They measure whether your business is operating in the right areas, the health of your business if you like. If one of them is out, then perhaps you are doing something that should be investigated. But we now run the industry as if nothing else matters. Look at it another way. A friend of mine runs a hotel in the country. They recruited a new Chef, who came with glowing references from a big, city hotel. This Chef was well known because not only did he know his onions, … Read More »

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