5 Key Traits of High Performers

Every candidate wants to stand out from the pack but by definition not all manage to do it. What often sets one candidate apart from the rest isn’t just experience of financial/technical ability.

Based on 15 years of meeting some of Ireland, the UK and Australia’s leading Senior Financial Clients and Candidates, what often does make the difference is a more holistic view of their knowledge, skills and attitudes. By looking at the whole picture you can get a better sense of what has enabled them to progress their careers to a high level.



This is generally a non-negotiable for those who want to progress. I remember meeting a Finance Director in Microsoft back in the early 00’s who I found not only warm and helpful but was able to explain to a group of non-accountants what he was looking for, what the function of their team was and ultimately why someone would want to join the team and work for him. He was very clear on the standards expected and the profile of what he was looking for. I left bouncing and determined to fill the job – he was the type of guy that people want to work for.


Dedication to Self-development

Financial Controllers who have invested time in themselves and understands their own attitudes and behaviours (particular under pressure) tend to perform very well in tough interviews – the reason being that there are no surprises and they are clear about what they can offer and how their key learning experiences have benefitted them. This is an ongoing process and one built around their own personal progress in areas both inside and outside of the office. Technical advancement is crucial but in parallel with evolving communication and leadership skills.


Be Clear on your Impact

High Performers make clear what impact they had on the businesses they’ve worked for. What have they achieved in the last year that has saved time/money for the business or added revenue? These people will have high standards and high expectations of themselves. They use metrics that are relevant to their business. This year’s achievement will be used as a benchmark for next year’s progress.


Be Realistic

The best performers have reasonable expectations, particularly around money. Money is rarely the biggest or most important factor. Of course top performers want to be properly compensated but this should be tempered with other considerations: how is this role to progress their career this year, next year and for the next 5 years?


Show Leadership 

Top performers benefit their organisations by attracting and retaining the most talented people on their teams. Key to this is identifying where a given team member’s skills and abilities lie and supporting them to progress to the next level. Strong leaders are approachable and explain to junior members where they fit in to their team and what contribution they make to the company.


To discuss future opportunities for your career or to discuss a position your company is hiring for, please speak to Paul McClatchie, Engage People

[email protected] or +353 87 656 8710