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Drapers Next Generation: Cynicism and lack of view biggest turn-offs, says Peter Ruis

Lack of enthusiasm, an excess of cynicism and having no personal point of view are the three biggest turn-offs for employers, according to Jigsaw boss Peter Ruis.

Speaking at today’s Drapers Next Generation event Ruis, whose career has included stints at Marks & Spencer, Ted Baker and most recently John Lewis, said there were some more challenges for young people trying to get into the industry now, but noted that there were several areas where life was easier.

There was less time to “incubate” teams of young people now but responsibility is more readily given out “and if you show potential you can move up quite quickly”.

“[Working in fashion] is a great job, there are lot of boring jobs out there - there is variety, everyone wants to know what is going on in fashion and retail, so you should be enthusiastic,” he said. “There is a rise in lack of enthusiasm and over-cynicism, which is not great, but the worst thing is people with a lack of view.

“I don’t want to hear that everything is amazing, I want to hear what you think is crap and if I’m not willing to hear that you don’t really want to work for me because you won’t be able to do what you need to do. I like a strong argument - I want strong points of view.”

Ruis also advised against his own career mistakes - being “awful at managing others” and that he “didn’t respect anyone who managed me – I got very angry with their foibles”

“I spent most of my career at M&S being angry about that and not empathising and I think it held me back. It was quite unreasonable.”

Speaking of his own career path, Ruis admitted he “probably got stuck” at M&S, where he worked for nearly eight years.

He said: “The best situation is to leave when you have done all you can, and it’s a positive thing rather than because you want a new title or more money. I have always tried to follow something really exciting, so I have waited for the thing that really excited me.”

His current role was “much more hands on” than some of his previous positions, but the size of the company meant he needed “a self-starter in triplicate”.

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