changed when Jonathan moved to New Zealand permanently in search of a better work-life balance.
In October 2008, he set up Interview Skills Ltd and with the help of Business Mentors New Zealand is now at the helm of an increasingly successful company.
For Jonathan, setting up and running a business has come with an interesting set of challenges and a steep learning curve.
‘I have plenty of knowledge and expertise when it comes to training, interviewing and conversation management,’ explains Jonathan. ‘However, prior to establishing Interview Skills Ltd, I had never owned my own company before so I was missing some important business skills when I started out.
‘A friend suggested that I look into Business Mentors, through Enterprise North Shore so I gave them a ring and asked if I could get some support right away.’
Jonathan was thrilled to be paired up with Neil Aston, a local business mentor who he clicked with from the beginning. ‘Neil’s guidance has been absolutely invaluable,’ smiles Jonathan. ‘He helped me put together a structured business and marketing plan and start making informed decisions about taking the company forward.'
‘Having a critical eye from the outside has been fantastic. My approach has been to be as open as possible and to learn as much as I can. I don’t understand people that don’t have a mentor. It grants you a priceless opportunity to network and upskill.’
The idea for Interview Skills Ltd first came about when Jonathan moved to New Zealand in 2006 and started working for the police force. He immediately saw an opportunity for interview training, and this thought remained on his mind as he returned to the Greater Manchester Police in the UK to work as an Advanced Specialist Interviewer and a qualified trainer in the field of Interviewing.
Eventually, Jonathan was drawn back to the more relaxed New Zealand lifestyle and he returned in 2008 to work for a training organisation. During this time, Jonathan was asked to give a presentation on interviewing skills at the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance Conference.
The huge amount of positive feedback he received afterwards convinced him that there was a demand for his kind of expertise. Jonathan took a leap of faith and set up Interview Skills Ltd, a company that offers interview and conversation management training on both a private and corporate level.
Jonathan is optimistic about the future of Interview Skills Ltd. The fact that he owns a unique business- New Zealand’s only established independent company supplying interview and conversation management training- means that Jonathan has not been unduly affected by the recession.
‘I’m at the stage now where, after a lot of hard work and knocking on doors, I am starting to see results,’ says Jonathan. ‘I’m already working with some big players, in the insurance market for example. I have also been meeting with many of New Zealand’s leading professional organisations as I feel I could make a positive difference to many of the member companies on their lists.’
Jonathan is adamant that it is possible for any individual to go out and establish a thriving business: ‘My dad always said that if you are passionate and apply yourself then you will get there in the end,’ he smiles. ‘There will be good days and bad days but working hard and making sure you are surrounded by people that support you, like the guys at Business Mentors, will take you one step closer to fulfilling your ambitions.’
Business Mentors New Zealand was established in 1991. It is funded largely by patrons from the private sector, with additional support from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. It provides a mentoring service to businesses that have been operating for at least six months and is the owner’s main source of income. A registration fee of $150 + GST applies, which entitles you to use the mentoring service for two years. This is the only cost to you – the mentoring you receive is free!
This story featured in the October 2009 issue of NZBusiness magazine.