Gamma Talent
Third Sector Recruitment in the Midlands


Observations and ramblings. And likely the odd rant.

Don't under promise and over deliver

There have been numerous occasions over the years where people have talked to me about under promising and over delivering. I’ve laughed along with the joke, but internally I’ve always really struggled with the concept.

Did they genuinely mean that? Was that part of their fundraising or sales technique? Did people actually buy into this?

And more recently, as I find myself advising and coaching candidates, an element of this annoying phrase is nagging at the back of my mind.

Okay, so the sector also has a problem with bullsh*tters who have great chat and minimal practical experience (blog for another day) but this is the other end of the spectrum. I wonder if my candidates are so rehearsed in bigging-up the charity they work for, they aren’t aware or aren’t vocal enough in the need to explain their own personal contribution to the success of their organisation.

Are you unintentionally under promising which will lead to over delivering?!  If you are job hunting, are you genuinely providing the very best overview of your experience or is it just a snapshot? Remember, the devil is in the detail! 

So, how to tackle this? My suggestions include:

1.     Be specific. Have a CV that lists financial successes in £s and names partners for fundraisers. Or, say you’re a volunteer manager, specify volunteer training courses that you delivered and the feedback you received

2.     Think about the top 3 things you are proud of at each place of work and ensure they are appropriately inserted at interview

3.     Say, “I did this”, practise saying “I” out loud! Yes, being in team is so very important, but “The role I played in making the team excellent was…” is what I’m talking about here

And be prepared, when you talk to me, I will want to celebrate your achievements. I want to know what you’re proud of and hear about the times you knew you had perfected something, however small or lack of praise you received. That is what we need to announce to the world.

Because that is the attitude that is going to get you your next and hopefully dream job!


p.s. Have you said “I did…….” out loud yet?

Fidelis Navas