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Steeple Aston

9-2-3 is a recruitment agency that specialises in placing high quality candidates into jobs with hours that fit in around the school run.



Case studies and thoughts on flexible working today.


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Build Your Confidence by Anna Morris of First Focus Consultants

Helen Wright



  1. Give yourself the time and space to prepare for stressful situations.

  2. Focus on your body language and your breathing.

  3. Value yourself – don’t expect others to value and respect you if you don’t value yourself.

  4. Practise your Power poses and being Body Confident!

Confidence is a funny thing, we can be super confident in one area of our lives, yet crumble and feel nervous, or worse, terrified at the prospect of facing other situations.  The key thing to being confident is EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE.  Understand what or who triggers anxiety and fear and try to plan ahead to anticipate the situations that may cause stress.  These might be a forthcoming interview, a review with a tricky boss at work, or even a school parents meeting – all situations where the pressure is on to put your best foot forward and, ironically, be yourself.  I say ‘ironically’ because when we are not feeling very confident then we often frustrate ourselves by not being the best of ourselves, and not coming across in the way we wanted to, or saying the things in the way we had hoped.  We can end up feeling silly and even less confident.  The great news is that this doesn’t have to be the case, and that with some preparation and practise it is possible to be more confident.

VISUALISATION is a great tool.  Visualise a stressful situation and possible outcomes, and then visualise yourself calmly dealing with them.  Picture how you will look, how calm you will be, and what you will say.  Think of how you might feel and how you will deal with those feelings.  It’s an interesting fact that the same part of your brain produces the symptoms of excitement and nerves – you can have ‘butterflies in your stomach’ for either.  With a bit of practice you can train your brain to feel the anxiety of nerves as excitement at the challenge.  Focusing on steady breathing and taking your time when flustered in a situation can make a big difference to how you come across.

At First Focus Consultants we are enormous advocates of the POWER POSE otherwise known as the Superhero pose!  This is building on Amy Cuddy’s research into Being Body Confident which shows how by doing Power Poses for just 2 minutes before a nerve-wracking situation actually changes our mindset to being more confident and powerful.  Our testosterone levels go up, and stress hormone levels go down.  The opposite is true of the closed pose, which we are often tempted to adopt if we are feeling scared or overwhelmed – that is arms and legs crossed, head bowed, maybe looking at our phones or reading notes.  The key thing here is BLUFFING IT!  If you act confidently then you will become more confident.  So hold your head up high, shoulders back, open up your chest, feet firmly on the ground, and say to yourself that you are fantastic and wonderful, and that you are confident and great!!  I use power poses on a regular basis, and teach my children, and clients to be superheroes too – it really does work!!

And lastly, value yourself.  Think about your strengths in and out of the workplace.  Ask others for feedback and listen and take on board what they say.  Life isn’t always about being the biggest and the best at everything, it is about being happy in who you are as a person, and feeling in a good place in life and work.  If you are not happy with an aspect of your life, then think about how you can change it, and give yourself the time and space to work out how to do this.  And remember that if you do not value yourself, then you can’t expect others to value you either.  Celebrate who you are and make positive decisions and changes in your life.

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito” Dalai Lama

Anna Morris, Director and Careers Coach at First Focus Consultants 

Anna Morris is a qualified, experienced Careers Coach and Director of First Focus Consultants.  She works with adults and children in all areas of careers and confidence coaching.  For more information please see or email

7 Steps to deliver your best interview YET!

Helen Wright

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To round off our #25dayflexup we'll be running our first ever webinar!

We really hope that you can join us on Thursday 31st at 8pm for our online event with Jackie Meek Future Path Life Coaching

Jackie will be taking you through 7 useful steps to deliver your BEST interview yet and for those that are able to join us, you'll receive a PDF from Jackie with some brilliant interview questions so that you're fully prepared.

Jackie has a wealth of experience in this area and has some really valuable advice when it comes to interview situations.

We hope you can join us on the 31st! Click HERE to book your place!

You’ve aced your CV and now it’s time to prepare for your interview!

Helen Wright

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Remember, this is your opportunity to shout about YOU!

Here are some of the top tips that the ladies at 9-2-3 have put together based on client and candidate feedback and of course, their own professional opinion. 

Go prepared with questions to ask them about the role, not just questions that you think the prospective employer would like you to ask them but burning questions that are important to you in a new role. Candidates sometimes forget that the interview is just as much for you as it is for them and it's so important to find out everything you want to know so you can judge whether it's the right job or not.

Turn up in plenty of time – don’t create a bad impression on your first meeting!

When introducing yourself, ask them how they see the role working and what they want before you go into full interview question mode - this helps you to tailor your responses to the questions from the start.

BE FULLY AWARE of EVERYTHING on your CV including dates/time at each role. 

Be able to relate each/as many of your roles/responsibilities to the one you are applying for at your interview – it’s always great to be able to demonstrate experience and to pull examples from your CV – don’t assume they will know your CV inside out – they might be seeing A LOT of candidates!

Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not – you want a job that suits YOU.

As nervous as you may feel, remember you are interviewing them too – they need to show you why you want to work for them. Cultural fit is so important, if you’re not happy at work it doesn’t matter how good the role is. If it then doesn’t work out it wasn’t meant to be. If possible try to get a feel for the culture before you go and dress accordingly – (superhero capes optional!)

If you’re returning to workplace after a career break and are struggling to remember ‘professional’ examples then try and prepare a few current examples e.g. During 4 years on the school PTA, I’ve honed my relationship building skills,  had lots of experience managing suppliers and learnt how to secure sponsors…

Honesty! Especially when going for flexible roles – you need to show you want to work and being too demanding isn’t always going to be welcomed well by the employer but equally over promising to get a job isn’t going to be helpful to anyone in the future. If you are asking for flex you need to show how you can make the role work in the hours you are suggesting.

Thinking like you have the role already and talking about how you will achieve the targets, job spec puts in their mind that you are capable of what they want you to do – they will be able to envisage you doing it.

Pick out top related achievements to go through during the interview that you know will impress them on a personal and professional level - this will give them a really good overview into you as a person and also demonstrate your professional skills too!

Close the interview - this is especially important if you are going for a sales role but good advice for any interview. You close the interview by saying something along the lines of, "thank you for your time today, can I just ask, is there anything that you are unsure of that I haven't demonstrated in the interview and that would stop me from being put forward to the next stage?" This is now the employers opportunity to highlight any concerns then you can address them there and then so there is no reason for you to be not put through to the next stage of the process.

…..And most importantly…..RELAX!