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  • Writer's pictureEdwin and George

A Short Test of your Career Potential

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

(This blog is based on a partially true story that happened many years ago. The names of our characters have been changed to protect the innocent).

George enjoys his job as a Senior Consultant working for an International Recruitment Firm. George likes the people and does his best for them. George is conscientious and hard-working. Everyone respects George – he’s been with the firm for years.

George lives a happy life with Julie, his partner, a receptionist at the local law firm. Julie and George live in a nice area of town, and enjoy squash and yoga and helping out at the local school.

But George has been worried recently and it’s not like him. Things are getting him down and he isn’t sleeping well at all. George needs to earn more money now that the twins are on the way. Julie and George could do with a larger unit and a new car – the exhaust has gone again. George’s billing’s are down and his salary is at the higher end of the company’s – he’s not pulling his weight. There are management vacancies competing up and an interview next week at the recruitment firms head office has taken on extra significance and couldn’t come sooner.

Friday afternoon 2-30pm.

Only a selection interview to go in an otherwise empty diary. George looks at the CV. On his desk - Jason Henshaw, a recent graduate from the local university. Average degree, no work experience and not many hobbies by the looks of it. Not very promising.

George gathers the paperwork together. The meeting with Jason will take an hour at the telephone. A short presentation when Jason will explain why he wants the job and what he’ll bring to it, a criteria based interview and a role play, where Jason is given information and George plays the part of a client looking for the "perfect candidate".

The standard has been high this week – George has made 4 job offers. Recruitment will shortly come to a halt and George knows the recruitment firm will have to make do with the staff they have. The Recruitment Industry has been having a hard time and a freeze on new starters is on the cards. All promotions and pay rises have to be signed off personally by the new Global CEO.

The phone on George’s desk rings. ‘Harry here’ says the voice at the other end of the line. Harry Hemshaw, how are you George?’

George is dumbfounded and gulps. George feels as though he has been hit over the head by a cricket bat. George searches for an answer. Harry Henshaw, the Recruitment Firm’s new Global CEO. The ‘hire and fire’ boss who has been brought in to sort the company out. The man named by the Sydney Morning Herald that very day as the most powerful man in Australian business, with a direct line to Presidents and Prime Ministers.

George couldn’t believe who he was talking to.

‘Fine Mr. Henshaw’ mumbles George, ‘what can I do for you, sir?’

‘Well George’ replies Mr. Henshaw,’ I understand that my top boy Jason is speaking to you this afternoon about a job. He’s a great kid is our Jason….but, well, he hasn’t found it easy to get a job. Let’s say he still likes university social life too much, but you’re only young once, if you know what I mean. However, I’m sure he is going to do very well this afternoon. I I’ve been coaching him. Let me know how he gets on – I will call you on Monday. We can talk about Jason then and when you pop in for your promotion interview next week. Perhaps I’II soon be able to pay less attention to sorting the family out and more time sorting the Recruitment Directors out, if you know what I mean. Have a nice weekend and keep up the good work.’

There is a buzz and the line goes quiet.

George can’t believe what has just happened.

The telephone meeting with Jason goes ahead as planned.

  • Jason scores no points for his presentation on why he wants the job and what he would bring to it.

  • Jason scores no points for the criteria based interview.

  • Jason scores no points for the role play.

Jason has fallen well short of the 12 points needed to be offered the job.

George has another sleepless weekend thinking about the position he is in.

Monday morning 9-30am.

The phone on Georges desk rings.

‘Harry here’ says the voice at the other end of the line. Harry Hemshaw, how are you George?’

How did Jason do on Friday, George?’ asks Mr.Henshaw.

So, what would your reply be if you were in George’s position?


  • Possible reply number 1 - ‘Absolutely brilliant, Mr. Henshaw, he starts next Monday.’ – score 5 points – you will go far in your career. Suitable roles include: politician, Australian cricketer (only joking) and estate agent.

  • Possible reply, number 2 - ‘Borderline, Mr. Henshaw, but I’m going to offer him the job’ – score 3-points – Again, firm decisive decision making evident even when the facts point the other way. Suitable roles include: used car salesman, PR Manager for Donald Trump, Spokesman for the Brexit campaign.

  • Possible reply, number 3 – ‘Not very well, Mr. Henshaw. I’m afraid we’ll have to reject his application’ – score 0 points – you have limited career potential and will need to marry someone with money.

And, what did George actually say in reply?

Reply number 1 - ‘Absolutely brilliant Mr. Henshaw, he starts next Monday.’

George got his promotion to the upper echelon of Senior Management.

No one is quite sure what he actually does, but listed on his responsibilities is that he is a "National Leader" facilitating workshops for new starters at the organisation "focussing on the recruitment firm’s commitment to Ethics and Compliance" .

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