So, you think you are ambitious….


ambitionAmbition is a good thing…some would argue it’s practically an essential part of being a successful recruiter. After all, there are easier ways to pay the mortgage, so if you are not interested in the future rewards why put up with the many challenges that comes with this job?

So I love to see a good healthy dose of ambition in the recruiters that I am working with. However, there is a good healthy dose of ambition…..and then there is reality!

I was speaking to a client earlier this week that we are helping to find a number of future leaders for his agency. The potential career path and very lucrative rewards on offer means that these people should be highly ambitious…“and not just like the bunch of supposedly future CEOs I met last night”. He went on to tell me that he had attended a ‘meet-up’ for future business leaders…the types that aspire to be the next CEO, MD or leader of the free world.

“Jesus wept Luke…I’ve never been in a room more full of egos that just didn’t have a clue. Not one of them could realistically tell me what a CEO does, let alone explain why they thought they would make a good one, what they were doing to get there, or even why they wanted it. It was as if ‘being ambitious’ was something they just had to be, but had never really thought about it. I’m not even sure any of them were actually ambitious”.

I see something similar quite often with ‘ambitious’ recruiters I meet… whether they are at the start of their career or been around for a while. Keen to talk about getting to the next rung on their career ladder…but rarely demonstrating why they deserve it or what they are doing to get there…..I want to play centre forward for Man Utd, be six foot tall and play golf of scratch…but at least one of those is never going to happen!

Be ambitious for sure. But be realistic with it too. If you are talking yourself up as ambitious then you need to back it up:

Why are you ambitious? A lot of people are happy with their lot so why do you want to more? Is it about the challenge? Is it about the money?

What does your ambition look like? Is it becoming a Team Leader, Manager, Director or MD? Is it nothing to do with title but just about earning more money? Is it working for a better business, or starting your own?

What are you doing to get there? Extra study? Do you have a mentor helping you prepare?

Thinking about it is not enough, and just talking about it doesn’t mean it’s real. But if you can give good answers to these questions, then feel free to talk up your ambition…and you will probably get there.

Luke Collard



2 thoughts on “So, you think you are ambitious….

  1. Matthew B on Reply

    Hi Luke – I reckon ambition for the ‘next thing’, i.e. promotion, prestige, title etc. is different from the sort of ambition that has someone putting in discretionary effort when no one else is looking, going the extra mile to get that proposal/pitch/approach nailed, developing professionally etc. I think the motivations come from different places.

    Being motivated to be seen to be someone special by our peers is one thing, and being driven to be the very best search consultants in our sector is something else. Have I just said the same thing twice?

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