LinkedIn Top Influencers 2018

I am delighted to be one of this year’s Linkedin Top Voices. To be recognised on this scale is humbling for any entrepreneur, however successful. I can assure you all that it’s an honour I do not take lightly. I am resolved to continue my work on this platform, sharing my experiences and offering advice to those interested in the business. Let’s make entrepreneurship accessible for all.

James Caan | Entrepreneur, CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw

What he talks about: The serial entrepreneur and former Dragons’ Den investor shares valuable advice about getting ahead at work, from how to be more productive to the best ways to ace a job interview. Caan is also closely following AI, particularly its use in the recruitment industry.

Favourite conversation starter: Caan’s followers chimed in with insights of their own below his August 2018 article about the best questions to ask in a job interview. “Usually I end up interviewing the interviewer,” admitted one.

Where he does his best writing: “On the back of my yacht in the South of France,” he says – “on a calm day when I can sit, ponder and reflect in a serene environment.”

LinkedIn Article

Top 5 Things NOT To Say In An Interview

Top 5 Things NOT To Say In An Interview

A lot of my blogs in the past have highlighted my personal top tips in an interview scenario, the right questions to ask, the right kind of answers to respond to interviewer questions, the expected etiquette of interviewees, the right way to prepare and the right way to present.

This week, I thought I’d do something a little different.

I want to share with you some things you should NOT be doing. The WRONG things to ask. Here are my top five;

What does your company do?

Believe it or not, I’ve been asked this during a candidate interview before, it’s safe to say it didn’t end well.

Remember, preparation is key. If you’re applying for a role within a business, but do not understand what the business actually does, who their competitors are, who they’re targeting – how can you sell yourself? In order to exemplify how you can add value to the business, you need to give examples, and to give examples you need to understand what it is they’re trying to achieve!

  I know I’m really late, sorry

The interview is your chance to make a first great impression. Being late isn’t going to do that.

The interviewer wants to know just how important this meeting is for you, and wants to feel as though you’re prepared and ready to wow them.

Do you really think an interviewer wants to employ a candidate who turns up an hour late? What do you think that projects? To me, it says you can’t be bothered, and you’d rather be elsewhere. Plus, if you’re late for the first interview, I’ll assume you’d continue to show further poor time management.

I just need to take this call quickly

No. Just no. Taking a call during a meeting is ALWAYS a bad idea. Firstly, it’s rude – you should be giving your interviewer your undivided attention. Secondly, it illustrates lack of interest, lack of focus and lack of professionalism.

I just need a job

We do not want to be a last resort. When applying for a job you need to show passion and determination. There’s no shame in needing a job, it is of course a necessity in life. However, this isn’t something you should be sharing during an interview scenario. Candidates who sound as though they really want the job, and illustrate thirst for challenge and the ability to add value will be the successful ones.

  Nope – no questions

Typically, an interviewer will purposely leave out some detail surrounding the role or the business so you have some probing material to discuss once the initial interview process has finished. When asked if you have any other questions, the golden rule is, always say yes. You need to show your intrigue here! Don’t let all that preparation go to waste – if you read something interesting about the business, for example if they recently acquired a new team, or won an award, ask them about it. This is your time to show how hard you’ve worked, and why you deserve to get the job.

There are so many more I’d love to share with you, but I’ll let you ponder these for now in the hope they’re helpful. What’s the worst thing you’ve experienced in an interview? Let me know!

Signs An Employee Is About To Leave

Signs An Employee Is About To Leave

At this time of year a lot of people are considering big changes in their lives, especially when it comes down to their career. They’ve spent the first month of 2016 deliberating their options and have decided, action should be taken.

Despite being the shortest month of the year, February always seems as though it lasts forever – particularly if you’re feeling demotivated and frustrated at work.

There’s nothing worse than feeling discouraged and unsatisfied. Sitting at your desk all day feeling undervalued and practicing the act of procrastination on another level makes your day drag beyond belief.

As a business owner, I’m always on the lookout for changing characteristics or dynamics within my team.

Losing a member of staff is always bad news for business because it instantly effects productivity and morale within the office. It’s more than likely colleagues have built great relationships with one another and, of course, it’s always sad to see them go.

After 30 years in business, I’ve noticed there are a few tell-tale signs which I often use as ‘satisfaction indicators’. Here they are;


Every business owner should be keeping track of their productivity, that’s a fact. More importantly, business owners should be keeping track of their employee’s productivity – you can do this by asking for weekly reports and having weekly updates with your team to discuss projects, strengths and struggles.

When someone is looking for a new job they intrinsically tend to switch off from their current role, that’s just natural.

So if you notice a certain employee’s productivity has started to dip dramatically, then something’s not right.


When someone’s not happy in their job, you can usually see it written all over their face and body language.

This is one of the easier signs to spot – have they been more negative than usual? Are they complaining more regularly about their workload? Are they reluctant to take on any other projects? Have you noticed a lack of input, creatively?

I always find that people who leave spend their last couple of months doing ‘just enough’ to get by, often without repercussions because the boss is too busy running other facets of the business.

This hesitation to commit is a serious issue so if you see this evolving, it should be addressed as soon as possible.

They’re no longer social

Company culture is critical for a happy, satisfied workplace. If you notice an employee is avoiding social interactions and no longer wants to get involved with the community, fun aspects of the business then this could be another strong signal they’re thinking of leaving.

When someone is deliberating their future prospects, they are often on edge and reluctant to share these feelings with colleagues. Spending time with them outside of work could be too risky as they may slip up and admit something their avoiding.

Watch out for these warning signs and there will be less of a shock factor when it comes to having ‘the conversation’.

The important thing is to always ensure your staff are happy, feel motivated and valued in their role. If you don’t do this, your talent retention strategy needs a serious rethink!

Recruiters: Are your staff as happy as they could be? If you haven’t invested in training, I very much doubt it… 

What You Need To Ask At Every Interview

What You Need To Ask At Every Interview

The Questions Everybody Should Ask Their Interviewer

Having interviewed thousands of people over the years, I generally have a formula that I adhere to. I know what sort of questions I’ll ask and what direction I want the interview to take. At the same time, there are also common traits that I look for in the people I’m meeting.

What you have to remember is that a vacancy is available because the company has a need or a problem. You have to position yourself as the best solution to that problem – and the mere fact that you have got to this stage means you are in their top bracket of candidates. So as much as the interviewer will ask you questions, you need to do the same. The company needs to sell themselves every bit as much as you.

If you get to the end of an interview and almost all the questions have been asked by the person at the other end of the table, then quite frankly it is highly unlikely you will get the job. Not only does it make you seem unconfident, but it gives the impression that you’re not actually that committed to getting the job. If you really want to work for somebody, then it makes sense to find out as much about them as possible – in particular things which you can’t glean from a mere job advert.

Here are some questions you should be asking at every single interview.

What are your short, medium and long-term goals?

This is one which always impresses me because it shows the candidate is interested in the vision of the business. I have said before that companies don’t hire people who are merely looking for a job – they hire people who want to work for them. Ask the interviewer where they see the business heading over the next year, and in particular, what their specific goals are for you and your department. As well as making a great impression on the company, it gives you an idea of what sort of expectations will be placed upon you.

What’s the culture like?

A job is not just a series of tasks, it is also the place where you will be spending a substantial amount of your time. Therefore you need to ask the interviewer what the company culture is like, because it should match up with what you want. For example, are you somebody who enjoys a high level of interaction with colleagues, or do you prefer autonomy? What managerial style do you work best under? Asking about the culture shows that you have a high attention to detail – and that’s something which goes down extremely well with any hiring manager.

What are the opportunities for progression?

You will probably be asked questions like: ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time’ – this is something I discussed in a previous blog. You then need to follow up on this and see if the company offers you the chance of progression. Remember – this doesn’t mean they need to offer you exactly what you want in 5 years. If you said you want to end up in a Directorship role, don’t expect the interviewer to say that’s exactly what they can offer you! But what they should provide is a rewarding environment where you have the opportunity to expand your skill set and climb up the ladder. A good company will not be put off by your ambition; in fact they will admire and encourage it.

How will I be measured?

Every job has its Key Performance Indicators, and although you may not get all of them in huge detail at the interview stage, you should at least have a broad idea. It very much depends on what the role is of course – the measurements for someone in a Finance role will be different to someone in Marketing for example. But you should walk out of that room knowing what you have to do to hit your targets and add value to the business.

For more tips and advice to boost your career, check out my bookGet The Job You Really Want

Skillsoft EMEA - Investing in People with Passion

Skillsoft EMEA

James has always said that business is nothing without people. It’s people who breathe life into business which is why he always surrounds himself with the best talent he can find.

Small Business Saturday UK Ambassador

Small Business Saturday UK Ambassador

We spoke to James Caan about what it takes to run a successful small business: from entrepreneurial endeavour and the benefits of technology, to the importance of the people you surround yourself with.
He also bestows some advice both to himself thirty years ago and to small businesses on how best to embrace Small Business Saturday.

James Caan at the Entrepreneur Academy London

James Caan at the Entrepreneur Academy London

James Caan is one of the UK’s most successful business leaders with a net worth of over £95 million. He is well known for his former role on the hit BBC show “Dragons Den” and his recruitment company Alexander Mann Group.

Join us on the 25th January 2017 as James Caan shares his key strategies, techniques and tips for business success.

For more information on the Entrepreneur Academy London visit:

Tips on wealth from James Caan

Tips on wealth from James Caan

James Caan, who left school at 16 because of a burning desire to run his own business, is a British entrepreneur best known as the kindest of five venture capitalists in the BBC hit show Dragon’s Den. He leverages his high profile to help the UK Government create small companies all over Britain, having used a £100m grant to create 15 000 companies in two years. CNBC Africa caught up with him at a Millionaire to Billionaire seminar.

Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and Former Investor on Dragons' Den

Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and Former Investor on Dragons' Den

British-Pakistani entrepreneur James Caan – founder and CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw (Mayfair, London) – shares his thoughts on higher education and his experience with HU.


“Don’t be afraid to make decisions” –

James Caan to our students.

The EBA Total Business Mastery Seminar

The EBA Total Business Mastery Seminar

The EBA Total Business Mastery Seminar – is a unique, highly practical one-stop resource for sme’s and aspiring entrepreneurs, founded by Bev James, in collaboration with James Caan