I have got through to the last round of interviews and been asked to undergo a variety of tests. How can I prepare?

These tests tend to come in two flavours, the straightforward literacy and numeracy tests and the more worrying psychometric tests.

I encourage my clients to prepare for the former by limbering up intellectually you can find many examples online of such tests. It is useful and rather fun to get the rust out of your brain with a little rehearsal. Better still it may be that the prospective employer has a specific brand of tests you might be able to find on their website.

It is the psychometric tests that usually raise concerns shall I be myself or shall I write down the answers a real high-flyer would give? I promise, you can’t guess the answers you think they want, and many such psychometric tests have in-built measures to pick up inconsistencies.

However, never forget that these tests are but a part of the selection process and in all probability, a relatively minor part. Be confident, be yourself and good luck.

Isn’t business pessimism becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy? How can we introduce a sense of optimism while being realistic?

Being rational and feet on the ground is a damn good place to begin, but don’t allow the current global economic malaise affect the relatively small world of your own business. However bad Robert Peston tells us things are, you can take control of your business and win, and when it’s really tough, celebrate small wins every day - by taking one at a time.

Ignore events over which you have no control. Put your energy into parts of your career and your business you can influence. And when you do make mistakes, analyse them, work out how you will do it differently next time and move on.

If most people who ran businesses never watched the news again, and spent that time speaking to employees and customers, I reckon spirits, as well as profits, would rise.

But perhaps it’s worth remembering that every career has a series of zig-zags, so don’t constantly beat yourself up. And the ability to laugh (particularly at oneself on occasion) is therapeutic and helpfully infectious. This helps the team move forwards.