What does an interview coach offer?
Most people have a sense of which aspects of their interview technique they would like to improve. However, we all have our blindspots and seeing yourself through an interviewer’s eyes can be revealing. A coach will help address your own concerns, as well as help you understand elements that you may not be able to see, or, you are aware of, but are less inclined to tackle. An interview coach can assist you with job specific interview preparation, and answers to interview questions. In addition, they will help enhance your personal impact and presentation, ensuring that you feel confident and ready for an interview. Furthermore, they can provide you with valuable personal support, throughout the interview process. In short, you are not on your own; you will have someone to use as a sounding board: whether it be over the choice of interview outfit or what to write in your post interview thank you email.
What does interview coaching entail?
Interview coaching should, by its very nature, be tailored to your particular needs. Whether that’s help preparing an impactful opening personal statement, knowing how to score well in competency interviews, or controlling interview nerves. Coaching is a collaborative process, with work and preparation for both you and your coach, before and after your interview coaching sessions. So be prepared for ‘homework’. Whilst there will be a set time arranged to spend with a coach, either face-to-face or via Skype, additional time for research, preparation and feedback undertaken outside the session, is typically included in the fee. You will need to be committed to put into action your coach’s recommendations. For example, practicing the delivery of your answers: practise really does make perfect! The amount of coaching required varies according to each individual. For someone who hasn’t interviewed for many years and is experiencing a degree of anxiety at the prospect, a one or two hour session will not deliver a polished, confident, interview ready performance. If time and budget are factors, then if required, enlist someone who can continue to work on your coach’s recommendations with you. Choose someone who will be supportive, but objective.
Who are interview coaches?
It’s important to work with an interview coach who has relevant, recent experience and knowledge of the recruitment sector, and who has operated at a senior decision-making level. In addition to helping you hone your interview technique, interview coaches with this calibre of background, will be able to provide valuable insights into the recruitment process and, based on their first-hand experience, advise you on interview ‘don’ts’. What may seem like a great interview answer to you, could be a recruitment cliché and pet hate of hiring mangers. They may also offer additional services, such as developing job search strategies, LinkedIn profile writing or CV writing.
Will interview coaching result in a job offer?
Regardless of how good your interview preparation and performance is, there may, at times, be aspects of the interview process that will be beyond your control. For example, a company may simply decide that they no longer wish to make a particular appointment. Your expertise may have been just what they were looking for to lead an expansion programme, however, if there has been a change in the company’s investment strategy, the process may end. In a competitive market, you may experience just missing out on an offer, however, with your new found confidence, interview skills and insightful knowledge, securing an offer will only be a matter of time. Walking out of an interview feeling confident, knowing that you have answered the questions well and given a strong account of yourself, is an achievement in itself and, importantly, the interview would have been a positive experience.
And finally…dispelling a common interview skill misconception
People often don’t know how to ‘sell’ themselves. For those who feel less than comfortable about the interview process, the prospect of ‘selling’ themselves to complete strangers is daunting, to say the least. The good news is that you don’t have to adopt a sales person’s persona: in fact we would advise against it. The best sales people simply align themselves with another person’s needs. An interview provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate that your skills, personality, qualities and experience correspond with a company’s needs. An interview coach will help you to convey your match for a role through all the opportunities an interview affords, from making a strong first impression and use of body language, to delivering quality answers and asking pertinent questions.
Coaches are not exclusively for sports men and women: anyone who has a goal to achieve can benefit from expert support and feedback. Coaching is an investment, not least in terms of time. However, it’s a small investment that offers many rewards and a tangible return, through a new job and salary.