'People skills' crucial to get ahead

Want to build more success as a broker? It doesn't matter how brilliant your technical skills are, you need to improve your people skills, says a specialist financial recruiter

'People skills' crucial to get ahead

Business Strategy


Develop your 'people skills', emotional maturity and empathy levels to build success as a broker, says specialist recruiter Libby Mitchell.

Throughout her lengthy career, she has met “great people with exceptional technical skills” who have struggled in the industry because they had not worked out how to connect appropriately with colleagues and clients.

“The analogy I often use is to think about someone going to the gym and only lifting weights with their right arm for a year. They're going to look physically lop-sided.”

A great broker, she says, can demonstrate equally strong people skills.

To build a successful career from the start, research is the key, says Mitchell.

“Some days it feels like I've spoken to thousands of people about a career in financial services. Surprisingly, I've noticed the vast majority of them have done very little research into what the career is really about.

The best career advice Mitchell has is to seek out as many reputable and knowledgeable people as you can to learn from them.  She admits this can be a “very daunting process”.

Mitchell has noticed a shift towards using technology to build business, as social media platforms are fast becoming an important part of how businesses are engaging with their clients.

“Yet at a personal level, many people have not yet completely embraced these tools for managing their own personal profiles. For me, it seems as if many people have not yet totally made the connection between how their personal presence online can impact their careers,” she says.

“For example, one business owner told me recently that he decided not to interview a person because when he checked their LinkedIn profile it was very basic. His reason was that this demonstrated they weren't a good networker and that the basic profile also demonstrated they weren't comfortable with technology.

“As a professional recruiter I found this response really interesting as I wouldn't have made this leap without further investigation, but clearly there are employers taking a different approach.”
 Libby Mitchell’s recruitment tips:
  • Do your research on the employer you’re looking at
  • Have your qualifications and compliance records ready
  • Be ready to demonstrate your performance track record
  • Be prepared to demonstrate your competencies and business acumen
  • Smile

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