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 business suit, that can shorten your job search and help you land your dream job. Being able to talk convincingly and confidently about your skills will benefit you throughout your career.
Disclaimer: I am a professional interview coach myself, so I have a bias. Nevertheless, I can point out some distinctions you may find useful.
Why hire a coach when you could do mock interviews with friends or colleagues?
Mock interviews with industry colleagues are a good idea. Your peers can assess your answers to the technical questions in your field.
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, study of hiring manager surveys, and experience.
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. Have you ever 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 has knowledge and knows how to teach.
What is interview coaching?
A good interview coach will examine 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.
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 work with a coach well 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. If you do this as soon as you begin to apply job, you’ll be ready when you get a call from a recruiter wanting to “chat.” That said, if an opportunity comes out of the blue and your interview is two days from now–better late than never!
If you’re serious about outcompeting the other candidates and landing a great job, interview coaching can make the difference.