Category Archives: General


Are your job interviews a song and dance?

The media reported last week that a national retail chain (no names to spare their blushes!) had asked an applicant to dance at a job interview. This did not curry favour with the prospective employee and so ended a potentially beautiful relationship.

By coincidence, the BBC launched this year’s Strictly Come Dancing series over the weekend. When asked what he expected to see from the new celebrity contestants, one of the judges needed only one word: “talent”! It was a perfect answer.

Is there a perfect answer to an invitation to dance at a job interview? A confident ”I will, if you will” might be revealing!

Here are three tips to help you find the talent you expect from your selection process:

1. It takes two to tango!

Recruitment is not just about you the employer. It’s in everyone’s interest that applicants also make an informed decision about whether the job and your organisation is right for them. Provide opportunities for the curious to gain insight, as well as gather information, about your organisation and the job role, for example, the service ethos within your team and opportunities for their personal development.

2. Plan your choreography.

You know the skills, knowledge, experience and personal qualities you need but think carefully about a selection plan to assess whether applicants meet your expectations. Everything from the questions in your application form to those asked at interview have a role to play. Focused tasks and exercises are a great way of exploring behaviours and competency but beware of stunts that might distract from what’s really important.

3. All the world’s a stage!

Create an environment where talented applicants have the opportunity to shine!Allow sufficient time for the process and think about the way you engage with them: are the interview questions too wordy? Is the interview space somewhere they will be able to relax and express themselves freely?


Published Date: 11th September 2013
Category: Fresh Thinking, General, Team Building, Work Smarter



Financial Blues!

My workshop for students at the University of Oxford on the essentials of business finance was a great opportunity to meet more aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs.

One of a series of innovation themed events, the evening was part of a wider and joined-up support programme branded The Shed. By blending the existing strong support from the Careers Office with an opportunity to meet people who have been there and done it, the students hear first hand about the world of work and business: the good, bad and ugly!

My objective for the evening was to demystify finance and provide everyone with the essential knowledge to plan and manage finances, as well a good foundation upon which to build their knowledge further in the future.

We covered things like the financial reports, budgeting, cash flow planning, cost control and pricing. The students asked questions about VAT and depreciation amongst other things. These are business terms people are aware of but of course until we work with them, they are not always understood.

An exercise to break up the content worked well. Their hands-on challenge was to assess a financial report for a shop and it was a neat way of moving the focus from information to insight….a great business skill to learn for the future.

The dummy financial spreadsheet I used to demonstrate the key reports is now with a number of the student entrepreneurs who are using it as the basis for their budgeting. Sometimes the right knowledge and tools, at the right time, can make a big difference!

I really enjoyed the evening and it was rewarding to hear that we had the best turnout of students to date…who said finance has to be boring!


Published Date: 21st May 2013
Category: Case Study, Fresh Thinking, General, know more, Work Smarter



Welcome to our new website

It’s work in progress with more content to add over the next couple of weeks. Your comments and feedback on what you’ve seen so far will be very welcome!
The idea behind fresh is that we help people to succeed with whatever they want to do at work, in their community or with their personal development.
Over the last few years this work has evolved and expanded into three strands:

  • We help people know more: how to do something new or find out more about their organisation or market.


  • We help people achieve together: to get more from their team or at Board level, bring clarity to vision and strategy.


  • We help people work smarter: this is about the individual and their development and career planning.


I think that our learners and clients come back to us because they like our practical approach and focus on them and their needs.

We like sharing. It would be great to have any feedback about your experience that others will find useful…

Thank you


Published Date: 3rd March 2013
Category: Achieve together, Fresh Thinking, General, know more, Work Smarter