It’s time to learn about it. A job interview can be a crucial turning point in your career. Professional interview coaching is a modest investment, costing about as much as a mid-priced business suit, that can shorten your job search and help you land your dream job.
How important is it to know how to talk about yourself professionally? That’s a skill that will serve you for the rest of your life.
What is interview coaching?
A good interview coach will study a description of your target job and compare it to your experience to help you identify the strengths and weaknesses that will affect your candidacy for the role. It’s like strategic planning for your interview. What’s going to make you stand out? What aspects of your resume might concern an employer, and how can you best address those concerns?
What can an interview coach help with?
Some of the most common benefits are:
- Speaking concisely instead of “rambling.”
- Understanding how you’re exceptional, and making sure that comes across.
- Selling your skills proactively, instead of just reacting to each question as it comes.
- Handling tough questions about being fired, gaps in employment, lack of a certain skill or degree, and so on.
- Overcoming nervousness and finding confidence.
- Getting comfortable with “tooting your own horn.”
- Improving your performance when you’ve had many interviews that didn’t lead to offers.
What’s the difference between a mock interviewer and a coach?
Mock interviews with industry colleagues are very useful. Your peers can assess your answers to the technical questions in your field. On the other hand, professional interview coaching has other benefits that complement your work with peers.
Did you obtain mock interviews or resume reviews from several people and receive conflicting feedback? Each individual gave you their own opinion. The feedback you get from a professional interview coach comes from a broader perspective, being based on all the coach has learned from a variety of sources–professional association membership, formal training, studying hiring manager surveys and experience.
And coaching itself is a skill. A good interview coach is not only an expert in hiring practices, they also have expertise in helping people learn. We’ve all had the experience of being taught by someone who was a subject matter expert but had no idea how to teach. You want someone who offers both the knowledge and the teaching ability.
Are you worried that getting feedback will be discouraging? It shouldn’t be!
A good interview coach knows how to give you frank feedback while also deepening your awareness of your strengths. As your skills grow over the course of the work, so will your confidence.
Should you get coached way in advance or “just in time”?
Ideally, interview coaching isn’t a last-minute “cram session” but a learning process that takes place over a period of a week or more. Doing this before you ever apply to jobs is best. Then, when you get a call from a recruiter wanting to “chat,” you’ll be ready to shine.
That said, if an opportunity comes out of the blue and your interview is two days from now, better late than never! Either way, interview coaching is an investment that’s likely to pay for itself many times over.