Do you need an Interview Coach? Articles about interview skills and interview tips (like the one you are currently reading) may help your understanding, but are less effective than live coaching for actually improving your interview performance. Trying to master interview skills by reading about interview skills is akin to trying to learn how to drive a car by reading about how to drive a car. An aspiring driver must get behind the wheel of a car and actually practice driving if they want to pass the road test. Interview skills are no different; preparation and practice improves performance.
Some studies indicate that less than 2 percent of all job seekers properly prepare for their interviews. One reason may be the limited options available for assistance. Google “Interview Tips” and you’ll mostly find basic, common-sense stuff: dress appropriately, be on time, research the company, follow-up, practice your answers. Online resources for how to develop effective answers to interview questions routinely offer one-size-fits-all generic advice and stock interview answers – exactly the opposite of what you need to stand out from a crowd of qualified applicants. An experienced interview coach can teach job candidates strategies for success, and give them the practice they need before walking into an interview. Here are five reasons to consider hiring an interview coach:
Reason #1: When I get nervous, I forget what I want to say – or I ramble on too much.
An Interview Coach will help you refine the messages you need to deliver, and teach you techniques you can use every time to deliver those messages in a powerful, authentic and concise way. Answers to open-ended questions like “Tell me about yourself” – a common start to the interview process – can be a key indicator of your communication ability. If your answer is a rambling verbal walk through your resume, you’ve missed your best opportunity to really wow them. An Interview Coach will show you how to set yourself apart from your competition by giving concise answers to interview questions that are as unique as you are.
Reason #2: I’ve been told I’m not the right “fit”.
An Interview Coach will show you strategies to successfully demonstrate fit. Essential in any job interview, employees are routinely hired and fired because of a perceived fit, or lack thereof. But what exactly does “fit” mean? All of your interview answers need to be tailored to that particular interview opportunity and in alignment with the target company’s core values. A expert Interview Coach will drill you on specific techniques to use during your interview to leave your interviewers convinced that you are a perfect fit for that company.
Reason #3: I’m not sure how to present my strengths without sounding too “braggy”.
An Interview Coach will teach you data-driven strategies to powerfully and concisely illustrate your value proposition. STAR scenarios, for example, are the gold standard for demonstrating that you have the necessary experience and abilities for the position. A qualified Interview Coach will teach you to master the STAR scenario skill, and show you other techniques for presenting your strengths confidently and comfortably during a job interview.
Reason #4: I can’t seem to get past the initial interview.
Whether you are naturally charming or socially awkward, an experienced Interview Coach will assess your interview strengths and weaknesses honestly and give you clear feedback. Once an assessment is made, an interview coach will offer you tools to improve your performance and address any issues. One important area for assessment is a candidate’s likability, a critical factor in any job interview. Learning how to up your “likability quotient” in an interview setting can help you get past that first interview and onto the next round.
Reason #5: I keep getting to the final round of interviews, but I’m not getting the offer.
An Interview Coach should be able to assess exactly what is holding you back – and show you what you need to do to get to the finish line and seal the deal. Are you articulating your value in a way that is targeted to the specific role and its challenges? Have you demonstrated your alignment with the company’s core values in an authentic and powerful way? If you are up against an internal candidate, demonstrating “fit” becomes critical – how can you prove to your interviewers that you are a better fit for the position than someone who has been working successfully there for years? A job offer may hinge on any one of these questions. An Interview Coach can give you the extra edge you need in the final stretch to beat your competition and get the job.
I’ve decided to hire an Interview Coach. Now what?
There are only a few national industry organizations that certify Interview Coaches. The Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches website offers a list of Certified Employment Interview Professionals in your area. Many coaches work online via video conference, so you don’t need to limit your search to your geographical area. Once you have identified a few coaches to consider, Google them and check testimonials and reviews on various sites. Finally, contact them – most Interview Coaches will offer a brief complimentary consultation to discuss whether their service is a good match for your needs. Here are three questions to ask when choosing an Interview Coach:
1. How much of the coaching is live? Be sure that you are getting the “behind the wheel” practice you need. Many of the sites that market interview training offer only coaching materials, not live coaching sessions. Be wary of businesses that want to sell you books, CDs, webinars or recorded classes. One-size-fits-all coaching is not going to give you the individualized strategies uniquely tailored to your strengths and the specific job opportunity. Remember: interviewing is a communication skill. Passively learning about interview skills is not as effective as actively practicing those skills with a coach and getting real-time feedback on your performance.
2. What can I expect from coaching? Ask the coach to outline the coaching process. How long will it take – how many sessions over what period of time? How much preparation work will you need do? What interview questions will they address? What strategies will you learn? Tell the coach why you think you need coaching – how do you want your interview performance to improve? Are there particular issues you feel are holding you back from interview success – nerves, shyness, lack of experience, resume gaps, job terminations? Ask them how they plan to help you address those areas.
3. What do you charge? While cost shouldn’t be the deciding factor, don’t be “upsold” and pay for more than you need. Some coaches charge high fees because their packages include resume writing, mentoring or career coaching. These coaches may not actually have the interview expertise you are looking for, so be aware of what you are paying for and what you are getting. An Interview Coach that specializes in behavioral interviews usually charges between $100-$150 an hour, and most coaching packages are 3-5 hours of coaching. So if you are looking at a $2,500 coaching package, be sure you are not paying for services you don’t need or want.
Interviewing is an essential communication skill for any job candidate, A good resume may get you an interview – but it takes a great interview to get you the job. Consider working with an Interview Coach if you want to head into your next job interview knowing you have done everything you can to prepare, practice and succeed. An Interview Coach will assess your interview performance, provide clear, constructive feedback and show you the latest data-driven strategies to concisely and powerfully communicate your value and fit propositions. A qualified and experienced Interview Coach will give you the practice you need “behind the wheel” before your next important interview. And that could well be the extra edge you need to beat the competition and get the job offer.
Still have questions about interviewing? Click here for more helpful interview tips and advice.