Liz Bingham is a Partner at Big Four firm Ernst & Young where she leads a thriving restructuring practice of 29 partners and nearly 450 staff in offices around the UK and Ireland. Liz is passionate about helping to create a diverse and inclusive environment where all talented individuals can thrive and succeed. Liz is also a member of EYGLES, Ernst & Youngâ€™s LGBT network.
Working in the restructuring profession, I am probably closer than many to testing the temperature of the UK economy. Whilst economically we have officially emerged out of recession, I nevertheless expect there will be a few bumps in the road to come before we can say with confidence that the UK economy is on a stable growth trajectory.
Notwithstanding the fragility of the economy, savvy employers are preparing to invest in new talent and whilst competition for positions will be fierce, it is nevertheless encouraging to see recruitment activity increase.
How do I show that I will be demanding of those around me but, most importantly, I will be demanding of myself?
As an employer, I am passionate about creating an inclusive environment where talented and diverse individuals are able to succeed. Clients I work for are increasingly diverse and they demand much the same from those who advise them.
Both clients and teams in the E&Y business desire authenticity in their advisers or leaders in the business and it is difficult to demonstrate that authenticity if you feel obliged to leave part of yourself at home when you head off to work.
So in your quest for success in the workplace, be authentic in your approach â€“ remember that employers want a two-way relationship with their employees such that both benefit. This should be as much a case of what I (the employee) can do for you as what the employer can do for me.
Am I able to â€˜read a roomâ€™ and discern how I am coming across?
I would encourage you to think broader than your technical or educational specialism. To some extent these will be taken as a given otherwise you wouldnâ€™t have been offered an interview.
Take some time to reflect on what you would consider to be important if you were an employer â€“ here are some of my personal favourites:
Does it feel like a good fit for me?Â Will I add seamlessly to the team?
How do I demonstrate that I amÂ prepared to come up with ideas but I willÂ listen to others?
3. Self Awareness
Am I able to ‘read a room’Â and discern how I am coming across?
If I am self aware, can IÂ demonstrate how I would adapt my style?
How do I show I will beÂ demanding of those around me but, mostÂ importantly, I will be demanding of myself.
Be authentic in your approach â€“ remember that employers want a two-way relationship with their employees such that both benefit.
Now a final word of advice from my mum who used to say to me, â€˜If you aim for the moon, you might hit the top of a treeâ€™. I followed mumâ€™s advice and who would have guessed that I, a non-graduate, could progress to the top of my profession and be a partner in Ernst & Young. Good luck with your quest and may your journey be challenging, interesting, fun and, above all, diverse.
The Stonewall Recruitment Guide is a good place to start looking for the role that will start your own fantastic journey. I wish you the very best of luck.