How an Interview Coach Can Help Your Job Search

Person meeting with coach
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Interviewing for a job can be stressful, especially when you haven't had a lot of practice. One way to help improve your interview skills is to work with a coach. During interview coaching, job seekers meet with a professional coach to learn interview strategies. It's a service offered by career coaches and career services offices. 

Having interview coaching can help job seekers develop a variety of skills and techniques that are useful for interviews.

It's also a way to prepare for and feel more confident about upcoming interviews.

Should you work with an interview coach? And if so, how will you find one? Get information on exactly what will take place during coaching sessions, and see if the service makes sense for you. 

Why Interview Coaching?

Interview coaching can help increase your chances of getting a job for a number of reasons. Coaching gives you experience answering many different interview questions and interacting with potential employers. Coaches can provide you with valuable feedback that will help you improve your responses during interviews. 

The more you practice with a coach, the more confident you will be. You should feel confident walking into any interview, and a coach can give you the tools to feel self-assured.

You may find an interview coach particularly helpful if: 

  • You get really, really nervous before interviews. Practicing with a coach can help you feel more comfortable and prepared
  • You get interviews, but not offers. An interview coach may be able to help expose what's going wrong. Perhaps you're failing to trumpet your accomplishments or show off the correct skills. 
  • It's been awhile. If it's been years since the last time you interviewed, a coach can help you rehearse and re-discover those skills you haven't used for some time. 
  • If you have an "issue." Did you get fired from your last job? Are you switching fields or industries? An interview coach can help you learn how to message these topics during interviews. 
  • You've got an interview lined up with your dream job. Want to feel extra-confident during your interview for your dream position? Targeted practice with a coach may be helpful. 

But, if you're a confident interviewer and tend to perform well during interviews, this service might not be necessary for your job search. 

Types of Interview Coaching

There are many types of interview coaching. Some coaches meet with you in person, and others speak with you online or on the phone.

Whether you meet in person, online, or over the phone, the coach typically conducts one or more practice interviews and then provides you with feedback. He or she may also provide a list of typical interview questions, and help you prepare answers to these questions. In an online interview, a coach may interview you over an online video chat service. Or, coaches may ask for you to send a video of your answers to a list of interview questions. Coaches you meet over the phone will typically conduct a mock phone interview.

If you meet the coach in person or online, he or she can also help you develop effective nonverbal communication.

The coach can show you facial and body language that will demonstrate to the employer that you are friendly, are very interested in a particular conversation, or that you are actively listening to someone.

Coaches may also help you with other elements of the interview, including how to ask the right questions of the employer, how to prepare for an interview (including ways to research the company and learn more about the position), and even how to dress.

Some coaches can help you with unique interview situations, such as panel interviews or interviews that involve a presentation.

How to Find a Coach

You can find an interview coach at almost any career services office. Career coaches are also typically trained as interview coaches. However, be aware that most of these services cost money, so research prices when looking for a coaching service.

Along with asking friends for recommendations, you can also search for interview coaches on the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches website. 

If you cannot afford a coach, there are some opportunities for less expensive or even free coaching. Check out your local library to see if they hold any free interview or career workshops. State and local agencies also offer career assistance for free to local citizens.  

Consider creating a job club with friends or associates, in which you give each other mock interviews. Your college career services office may also provide free or discounted interview coaching to alumni.

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