Worst Fears of a Parent

Our 4 year old son decided to upset his 6 year old brother yesterday and ended up flat on his back on the floor. Unfortunately on concrete. And split his head open.

A parent’s worst nightmare!

But A&E at Hemel Hempstead were brilliant. He was seen inside 10 minutes for a quick appraisal and we were back home within 3 hours which wasn’t bad considering that we had to wait for a doctor and then a nurse to close up the wound with medical superglue which was astonishing.

A few hours later he was full of life and today you would not know anything had happened. His mum and I though wince every time his head comes anywhere near the chairs, table, kitchen worktops …

He’s not known as Danger Mouse for nothing!

Job Interview – The Final Frontier!

I got a phone call from the outgoing chair yesterday at 5:15pm some 2 days after the interview panel had said I’d be informed.

They clearly had a major headache in making the decision.

Having been praised for my presentation (“a really enjoyable tour de force”) I got the dreaded news that I wasn’t being offered the position which was, and still is, disappointing. I was told that I would have been a “breathe of fresh air” but that I was considered to be too likely to make waves. In short I was too scary and therefore too risky. If I’m honest, this was not a surprise as I’m not a political animal and the 2nd interview showed me that you had to be pretty good at it to deal with the regulatory stuff/people.

But then I was dumbfounded to be told that they had decided not to appoint any of the candidates! So the deputy Chair has been told he didn’t get the job but, by the way, can you chair the board for the next few months on an interim basis while headhunters are appointed and do their stuff? I’m glad I’m not in his shoes.

Heaven knows what this is costing them. The ad in the Sunday Times won’t have been cheap, plus the expense of the outside assessor and now headhunters who are, I suspect, going to demand a flat fee as the post doesn’t pay well.

This has been an extraordinary process from my point of view and I’ve learnt a lot. Not least of which is that interviewing is a dance and that the appointed candidate may well not be able to live up to their performance of that dance.

No wonder so many senior executives fail so early in a new job.

The sad thing is that this is a great little company which has huge potential. It would have been great fun, and hard work, to take it forward. But if they have this much difficult hiring a Chair, I worry if they have the where with all to take the necessary tough decisions needed to grow the business. Time will tell.

Job Interview Part 2

Well I made it to the 2nd interview. A 15 minute presentation on a topic that I’d specifically said at the 1st interview I believed was not part of the role! So I argued against it and got better feedback than I was expecting.

Then they dropped the bombshell – that the current vice Chair had applied for the role and was being interviewed as well. So they asked awkward questions about how I might cope with a member of the board who was uncooperative, difficult, not up to the job etc etc. Surprisingly I found I enjoyed it.

But then I had to be appraised by an external third party and it was then that I realised just how different the private and public sectors are. And it really does appear that one is trying to operate with both hands tied behind one’s back. For example, although the company that is offering the job is in the private sector, it’s sole shareholder is public sector and therefore regulated. Which means that the private company is expected by the regulator to adhere to public guidelines and policy. Which calls into question how it can remain competitive and this expectation is onerous to say the least.

Anyway they told me that they would try and let me know by the end of yesterday and it is now midday GMT the following day as I type this and I’ve not heard anything so I’m assuming that it is a split decision and I’m still involved if only on the basis that if I wasn’t in the frame they’d have told me straight away.

And curiously, I find that I’m increasingly keen to land the job as I’m now very intrigued by how it all works. So fingers crossed!

Wow, a Job Interview!

I attended my first ever job interview today. Not bad for someone of nearly 50 years of age! I guess being a serial entrepreneur means that I just don’t like working for others.

This one is interesting. It’s for the position of non-executive chair of a public services company. Now I’ve never worked in this sector so I’ve been really intrigued by the way that they go about hiring. I must confess that it’s not the way that I would do it – to send in an application form with a supporting paragraph or two to back up why you are applying and no CV is strange to me, so I did it my way which was a bit cheeky and sent them a supporting letter with a photograph.

The interview itself seemed to go well. A three man panel who asked intelligent questions and created a nice atmosphere to allow me to feel comfortable. I enjoyed the experience much to my surprise.

I’ll have to wait and see if I did enough to move forward to the next stage. Watch this space!

Does it pay to buy links?

The perceived wisdom is that to get a good natural position in the search engines, you need to have one way incoming links from sites with a good page rank (normally 5 or more).

There are lots of 2 page word cloud sites with a decent page ranks. And the links are cheap – $10 a link isn’t a lot to pay for a decent placement.

But do they work?

And how come these sites get page ranked so well when they don’t seem to offer much in terms of content?

And am I brave enough to use some of my marketing budget to find out???