NINE TO FIVE

Name Sarah Jane Wood, 31 Occupation Recruitment consultant Salary pounds 50,000 plus Address Nr Grantham, Leicestershire
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Can you start by taking me through your CV?

I trained as a secretary in Winchester. While I was there, someone from a recruitment consultancy gave us a talk. I thought it was very impressive so I contacted them and they found me my first job. I worked as a secretary for a year, then a PA. Three years later I was offered a position here. Everyone starts at the bottom and works up. The company believes in training and development from college onwards. I was made an associate director in five years.

Ooh la la. And what, pray, is your position now?

I'm a team leader at our City branch. But I still interview candidates

and meet clients.

So, how would you go about interviewing someone you've never met before?

Before putting anyone on our database we will bring them in for an in- depth interview. We go through CVs, find out their likes and dislikes and five-year career plan. Then we test skills: typing, shorthand and spelling. We look at the way they present themselves and offer interviewing, counselling and advice on preparing a CV. We will make candidates aware of nervous tics that could spoil a good first impression. Recently I had someone fiddling with her rings. I advised her to remove them for interviews.

And what about new clients?

We always meet new clients face to face. You have to listen to and understand what they want. Most clients come to us through word of mouth.

Talk us through your day then.

I get up at 6am and am out the house by 6.25. I don't have breakfast with my husband, Ben, but on the InterCity to London - where I also do my make-up. The seat I book has a table so I can apply mascara, etc, to the amusement of the City gents. I read a newspaper before preparing for the day ahead. I love commuting, it's the only time I can sit and think without interruptions.

You must be one of the first people in.

No, there are people here at 8am. I get in at 8.30. We will have a 20- minute team meeting going through the day's agenda. Take yesterday: a team leaders' meeting was followed by some advanced training. Then at 11am I conducted an interview with someone who had just left secretarial college. At 12.30 I had lunch with a client at Canary Wharf. I was back at my desk by 3pm to learn that five interviews we'd organised with a large client had all been offered permanent positions. At 4.45 there was a meeting with a contract client reviewing the last quarter. In the evening I went to an amazing restaurant with clients and colleagues. When this happens I stay overnight in town with a girlfriend.

You dirty stopout.

Not often. Usually I'm home by 7.30pm.

Even so. What does your husband say?

Mostly he comes home later than me. He's always been very supportive about my career. He renovates old houses. He's done a lot to our house but a lot more to other people's and won't allow me to get anyone else in. It's an 18th-century red brick cottage in the Vale of Belvoir, one of the most beautiful parts of the countryside.

You sound like you're born and bred here.

No, but Ben is. It's lovely to be able to put down roots. My father was in the Army so we lived all over the place. My mother has lived in 48 different houses.

With two busy lives, who does the cooking?

I can't cook, but Ben is brilliant. During the week we will eat something quick like grilled lamb chops. We entertain at weekends when Ben cooks.

Ah, the proverbial good life.

Yes, it's always busy and things change so all your plans go out the window. You have to prioritise. I want to work and enjoy my lifestyle and I love interviewing people. The biggest thrill is finding someone the right job and being able to tell them they've got it.

Well, thank you for your time. We'll be in touch.

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