Richard Maun – books and blog

better business blog

Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation


A Killer Question!

10 December 2017

Welcome to your job interview. How are you? Please have a seat and then we will begin.

(You’re allowed a glass of water here and to get out a notebook and pen. These will help you to keep track of questions and taking a few notes will help you to look interested in the role).

I’ve read your CV and taken a look at your application form and have just one question for you…

Are you ready for it? It’s a great question. In fact it’s a killer question! Here is it…

How have you prepared for this interview?

A simple question and I can’t wait for your reply. I will take a note of your answer.

So, you’ve read through your CV. Anything else?

Good to hear you’ve checked our website. Can you tell me five things about this organisation?

Ah, well you’ve managed two facts. Five would have been better. What do you know about our products? Have you looked up our MD on LinkedIn, to see what he likes and what his background is?

No, you haven’t. Ok, have you visited one of our shops, or talked to any of our staff about what it’s like to work here?

No and no again.

Well, have you followed us on Twitter and read through the tweets about the organisational changes we are going through, or about the award we won last month? Did you read any of the research articles I published recently? Have you been to one of our networking breakfasts?

Oh dear, no and no and no and no and no. Hmmm …How do think this interview is going for you right now?

I rather thought that as you’re here to be interviewed for a management role and that your application form says you really want to work here you would have prepared a lot more thoroughly. Sorry to sound a bit picky, but as the salary is £50k a year, plus a car, then if you work here for five years you will cost us in the region of £500,000. This includes your salary, our tax costs, the car, heat and light and equipment and your pension and holiday costs. Not forgetting the need to buy you a desk and run a finance team and an HR department, to make sure you get paid on time and have formal employee handbooks and training supplied to you.

Given the £500,000 that we are prepared to commit to, you’d think it would be reasonable to expect all of our interview candidates today to have really put in some effort to prepare for this sales pitch. The last candidate hadn’t even read her own CV and couldn’t remember her own work experience, so you’re not doing as badly as her, but you are not exactly living up to your claim of being a ‘proactive, diligent, self-starter’ are you?

However, I’m not unkind, so here’s what I’m going to do. My suggestion is that we pause the interview here and invite you back next week for a second attempt. My first question to you will be the same…

How have you prepared for this interview?

Good luck!

Next week: The Record Shop Story

Career Coaching Counts

3 December 2017

Do you value yourself? I do hope so!

Do you value your business and career as much? Maybe…

It’s lovely to see how many people now take themselves and their life and career seriously. When I started out as a business coach, nearly 15 years ago, there was a lot of ambulance chasing.

People were often sent to be coached because they had a problem at work. Coaching tended to be seen as a sign you were on the naughty step and needed to be straightened out. There was a sense that coaching was there to support the strugglers. 

Of course that is still true and yet there has been a sea change in attitudes over the last few years. Most of my clients are now individuals and organisations who want to grow and develop.

Coaching is seen as a great way to harness thinking and generate options, without being told want to do. The co-creative nature of coaching makes it an exciting and hopeful space to work in. It’s a good investment and one that makes sense in a competitive world.

As an example, I’ve been working recently with people to help them perform confidently at interview.

We tend to crash through life doing our best and yet there are times when we lack self awareness, or just need a friendly supporter to cheer us on and hone our performance for the big day.

Imagine you’re going for a job interview tomorrow. You arrive and find out you are one of six candidates. In conversation you find out that five of them hired a coach, whereas you simply dug out your CV and brushed your hair. How are you feeling now?

The same applies to sales activity, or the need to remain competitive. It’s a true statement to say that when we invest in ourselves we invest in our business. 

When times were hard, during the last recession, I had some coaching to help me and it paid dividends. As a result, I changed my business products and went to look for new clients and am still in business to tell the tale.

None of us have all the right answers all the time and all of us need support.

Career coaching counts because it adds value to what we do and how we project ourselves. 

Imagine you’re back in the interview situation described above. In conversation you discover you’re the only one to have worked with a coach and the other five candidates are all trusting to luck. How are you feeling now?

So this week take a moment to think about where you are frustrated. What problems you are wrestling with. Which options you are dancing around.

Then find a coach to talk to. Life is always easier when we have a supporter on our team!

Next week: A Killer Question! 


Click cover to view details on Amazon


Riding the Rocket

How to manage your Modern Career

Published 2013 Marshall Cavendish



Bouncing Back

How to get going again after a career setback

Published 2012 Marshall Cavendish



How to Keep Your Job

Brilliant ways to increase performance, stay employed and keep the money rolling in

Published 2011 Marshall Cavendish



Job Hunting 3.0

Secrets and skills to sell yourself effectively in the Modern Age

Published 2010 Marshall Cavendish



Leave the Bastards Behind

An insider's guide to working for yourself

Published 2007 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish



My Boss is a Bastard

Surviving turmoil at work

Published 2006 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish


© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact