Next week, Search Accountancy & Finance in Manchester are hosting a specialist breakfast event where Andrew Smith, Head of Procure to Pay at Marks & Spencer, will be sharing his specialist insight on the opportunities presented by business service centres.

Ahead of next week’s session, we grabbed the opportunity to sit down with Andrew and find out his professional advice to aspiring candidates and what tools he thinks are most important for those looking to develop their careers:    

  • What is your favourite interview question to ask a prospective candidate?

    “What one thing did you do last week at work that made you feel proud of what you do?”
  • What are the three most important tools in your professional kitbag?

    “Some knowledge, a bit of understanding and some appreciation - a knowledge of where you are, an understanding of where you need to get to and an appreciation of the people that are going to get you there”
  • Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date and why?

    “I gain experience from all people I work with – either people who influence me to move forward, or people who show me how I don’t want to be! The biggest people to influence my role are the experienced people beneath me in my team, who support me, point me in the right direction and give me the confidence in their teams (and myself!) to move forward and add value!”
  • What advice would you give to people starting out your industry who aspire to progress?

    “The best piece of advice is to look at everything objectively. If there’s a problem, understand where it’s come from and how to fix it. If something goes wrong, understand how to put it right. If there’s work to be done, work hard and do a good job.
  • In the current war for talent what would you say is the hardest thing about finding the right calibre of candidates?

    “The biggest challenge is not having the time to sit down and really understand the people behind the CVs. I really like to get stuck into interviewing a candidate and would love to be able to pull a CV apart but the fast-paced recruitment market in tandem with my day job makes it difficult!”

Thanks to Andrew for taking the time to sit down and answer our questions. To hear more from this influential speaker, why not register to attend our specialist breakfast event in Manchester next week? You can sign-up here or contact [email protected]