Case Study: Senior Executive Redundancy


By Helen Slingsby – Sun 25 Feb 2018 @ 0:38

Helen helped me after I was made redundant from a senior executive role in a global publishing company. I had worked in the same company for over 25 years, albeit with regular changes of role, and a sprinkling of mergers and acquisitions thrown in for good measure. Although I had loosely thought about a change in career direction in a few year’s time, I found myself in need of help rather ahead of schedule.

Career planning and networking

Helen was enormously supportive in making me take stock, going back to the fundamentals of what I enjoyed, what I wanted from a career and a job. It became clear that I hadn’t ever really developed a coherent career strategy, and it confirmed that now I had the opportunity to make a fresh start. Under Helen’s guidance I reviewed the range of sectors and roles that might appeal, articulated my dream job description, and developed a network map of people I could tap into for advice. The latter was really helpful in conjunction with a ‘deal’ I struck with Helen to approach three people a week. That definitely kick-started my networking when I might otherwise had found excuses to put it off.

Single role or portfolio of positions?

We had a really useful discussion about the pros and cons of a full-time role versus a portfolio of part-time, consultancy or non-executive roles. For a while that felt like a good option to explore, and while my next step is back into a full-time position I should be able to apply elements of a portfolio approach in the future.

When it came to apply for roles Helen provided excellent expert review of my covering letter and CV - she particularly stressed the need to focus on my personal impact in previous jobs and how that experience could benefit a future employer.

I was fortunate enough to get shortlisted for what seemed like an ideal job, but felt confident enough in my own ability to reject Helen’s offer of interview practice. While in some respects I prepared well for the interview (I researched them very thoroughly) I neglected to prepare for some of the more obvious questions that I took for granted. While not an absolute disaster, the interview didn’t go well, and I didn’t get the job. I was bitterly disappointed, and kicking myself for not accepting Helen’s offer.

Interview techniques

Getting over the first rejection

So, when I was shortlisted for another role I was quick to seek her out. She helped me deconstruct what hadn’t gone so well in the previous interview, and also process some of the feelings of rejection. We reviewed the job brief, and prioritised the key attributes for the potential role, and mapped these against my experience. I also prepared and rehearsed some model answers to a list of fairly generic, but surprisingly hard to answer questions - again using a format to structure an answer in a systematic but impactful way. 

I can honestly say that this session transformed my approach to the interview, and made a significant difference to my interview performance. The first question the CEO asked me was “Why do you want this job?” A simple and obvious question, but my answer was so much crisper and more confident than it might have been without Helen’s intervention, and it really did the trick - it was obvious he liked it.

2nd interview preparation

Fortunately I was shortlisted, and a final session with Helen was really helpful in terms of planning for the second interview, having assimilated some really useful feedback gleaned from the first round. She was also great at coaching me to stop preparing, and to take some down time out to relax.

I got the job!

I have now landed a job that really excites me, and I am extremely grateful to Helen for her support and expertise. I am confident that she has really helped me gain a much clearer sense of direction, and provided some excellent tools to help me navigate the job hunting process - which I confess I found to be much harder than I had anticipated. At times I felt a bit lost, and a little despondent - and Helen was a really great coach in keeping my spirits up. And like any good coach, she knows that the hard work has to be done by the individual - with encouragement and a lot of expertise.

I am very pleased to have had Helen supporting me over the last few months. I recommend her highly as a great coach, and a lovely person, with a good sense of humour - which helps!