About James

I've been an unconventional leader since I was a teenager. First with the scout movement, then the Territorial Army. After university I joined the UK civil service on a graduate management development programme. My career is now in its third decade and I've worked in Finance, HR, policy, strategy, IT, change, operations management and internal consultancy. Over the years I've mentored, coached and developed dozens of senior managers and hundreds of people.

Using Consultants Effectively

As a public servant it is important to know how and when to use consultants effectively. If you get it right you get a lot of value from consultants, if you get it wrong you might have been better off Continue reading Using Consultants Effectively

Presentations for Recruitment [UK Civil Service]

UK Civil Service recruitment often asks for the candidate to make a presentation as part of their interview. Usually it’s the first part of the interview.¬†Whether or not you are told the topic in advance very much depends on what Continue reading Presentations for Recruitment [UK Civil Service]

Understanding Strengths Interviews

civil service strengths scoring matrix

The UK Civil Service introduced strengths based questions for recruitment when they introduced Success Profiles in late 2018. Before this strengths based questions had been used in the final selection boards for the Fast Stream. They’re really good for when Continue reading Understanding Strengths Interviews

Interview Prompt

Whiteboard with interview prompt notes for an SCS1 interview

This is the interview prompt I made for my (successful) SCS1 interview based on the conversation I had with my then Deputy Directors, one of whom had been involved in SCS1 recruitment and became a SCS2 shortly after I made Continue reading Interview Prompt

Night Navigation – Weeknotes S3E03 21-25 June 2021

A group of scouts on a night navigation exercise stopped for a break

My week started with night navigation from Headley Heath to the Merstham scout hut, just under ten miles over 7 hours. I think the rest of the week has also felt at times like night navigation. A lot of the Continue reading Night Navigation – Weeknotes S3E03 21-25 June 2021