…and they're off!

Sarah Huntley Equine EliteOur guest blogger this month is Sarah Huntley from Equine Elite.  Sarah spent over 10 years as a professional competition groom working globally at the top levels of eventing, show jumping, dressage and showing before launching her multi award winning equestrian recruitment business.  Sarah talks about the five mistakes equestrian job seekers make and how to avoid them.

We all know looking for a new job isn’t easy. As a job seeker, you need to know how to avoid the common mistakes made – and how to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Having managed international competition yards and recruited staff myself, to now running an equestrian recruitment agency, I’ve been startled by some of the mistakes I’ve seen job seekers make.

Steer clear of these five common mistakes, you’ll do yourself a huge favour, and be well on your way to securing your dream job!

A badly written CV

In the past, in the equestrian industry, job applications have often been done through word-of-mouth. Nowadays, it is nearly always imperative to have a well-written, clear and concise CV to show potential employers or recruitment agents. Include your basic information, any qualifications you have obtained and your work history – in reverse chronological order (most recent role first). It is common to provide two referees, who you will have asked in advance to include their details on your CV – to be contacted if the need arises.

I receive a large number of CV’s on a daily basis at Equine Elite – and it really helps me when they are clearly written, spell checked and make sense! If you are not confident on a computer, rope in a computer-literate friend in to help. Save your CV as a PDF in a legible font and you’re halfway there already!

Applying for every job you come across

This makes you look desperate – and suggests a lack of focus. I always try to encourage job seekers to make one application at a time to ensure they are putting 100% into each opportunity. Recruitment agents should be happy to provide advice to job seekers – so make the most of this service. I find some candidates aren’t always sure of the type of role that would suit them – so I am always more than happy to spend time chatting on the phone or email to help narrow the search.

Not Preparing Well Enough for Interviews

Come interview time, nothing puts an employer off more than the interviewee not knowing anything about their business or the role they have applied for. So much information is online, so take some time before your interview to read up about your prospective employer and prepare some questions to show you know a little about their business / sport. So much information is now online, so ‘Google’ their name, find their website or look up their recent competition results online.

Poor Interview Etiquette

I always advise job seekers to arrive 5-10 minutes before their scheduled interview time; arriving late immediately gives a bad impression. Depending on the role you have applied for, dress appropriately, making sure you are clean, tidy and well presented. Ensure your mobile phone is on silent or switched off for the duration of the interview. Take the initiative and introduce yourself to the employer, shake the employer’s hand and look them in the eye. Be confident and sell yourself from the outset. Smile!

If it is a working interview, work quickly, thoroughly and efficiently – remember – you are trying to impress.  If you are not sure how to do something, always ask – it shows you are willing to learn. Avoid discussing the salary during the interview – this can be saved for a later date. Be sure to thank the employer for their time and ask any final questions you have before leaving.

Lack of communication

In a world of being constantly ‘online’, a lack of communication with your recruitment agent or potential employer is not really excusable. Prompt, professional and polite communication throughout the application, interview and job offer process either by email or phone sets a good tone from the outset.

If you change your mind about a job application or job offer, let the employer and / or recruitment agent know as soon as possible – by email or phone. The equestrian industry is a small world – and a bad reputation is the last thing a job seeker needs if they are to have a long and successful career!


These 5 tips apply for any job you’re going for.  What’s your experience of interviews?  Let us know your good (and bad) stories about how interviewers have treated you.