We’ve been assisting our friends at Autocar with their Great British Women initiative, an event that sets out to recognise the most inspirational women in the global car industry. Ennis & Co specialists have evaluated the applications and nominations and selected the Top 100 shortlisted women from wide-ranging functions across the industry. Now, it’s over to the Autocar judging panel to pick the winners, who will be announced on June 20th.
The process has been as scientific and objective as possible. As with the executive search process for our automotive clients, we have been driven purely by the brief and looked at each candidate with a completely open mind.

The most important quality we’ve been looking for this year is ‘wow factor.’ Candidates were asked to identify something tangible they had done in the past year that had made a difference to their organisations. This, it turns out, is not an easy task, which as a senior executive recruiter puzzles me. Surely our wow credentials, like the proverbial elevator speech, are something we should be able to trot out at the drop of a hat – not just for entering competitions but for when we unexpectedly meet that important influencer at a meeting or the phone rings and it’s a company like ours sounding you out for your dream role.

So how can we demonstrate wow?

Quote the numbers. Employers, and judges, will want to know what you have done that delivered to the bottom line and we need that impact substantiated and validated with facts and figures. I find the amount of talking about success in wishy washy terms quite frustrating. “Successfully launched product X in China” is just too vague. Did you do that all on your own then? How are sales of that product now? I’m alert to the signs of people who are very highly regarded for doing ‘lots of stuff’ and prefer to ask about the outcome. What was the actual benefit to the business, what influence did you have?

Explain your methodology. Please tell us how you got there? How did you apply yourself? Was your approach practical, workable? Regarding that product launch in China, am I to evaluate you as a pioneer of a new growth strategy or a slick executioner of existing procedure?
Differentiation. Whether in interview, via a CV or application, tell us how you are different to competitor candidates. As with any communication, spend some time imagining the person you are aiming to influence as they reach your resumé in the pile. We are all humans so appeal to the human reviewing your application. How will you stand out? What is the only wow you can bring to the table?

This process should be a constant activity for anyone wishing to progress at some point. If a friend told you they were being stalked, but they were not yet sure about reporting it to an authority, you would tell them to write a diary gathering evidence of suspicious behaviour: dates, times, extraordinary events, witnesses, supporting evidence, context and outcomes. So my advice to all entrants of the Autocar Great British Women in the car industry is to start your own stalking diary today! Oh, and good luck!