What are the benefits of professional interview coaching? TopInterview coach Felicia Tatum explains.
Interviewing can feel like an elusive process; it's difficult to know when you're doing things right. After all, how can you objectively assess your interview performance when you're the one giving it? That's where professional interview-coaching services like TopInterview come in. I sat down with TopInterview coach Felicia Tatum to get a better understanding of the process of interview coaching and what it can offer a job seeker.
Felicia holds both a BS and MBA in human resources, but she didn't initially pursue a career path in that discipline. Instead, her love of the writing led her to open her own writing and editing business in 2011. Since then, Felicia has written and published 13 novels, earning the title of USA Today Bestselling Author along the way. When she decided to couple her education with her writing abilities, Felicia became a professional resume writer for TopResume, the largest resume-writing service in the world. Based on her background in human resources and her successes with TopResume's customers, Felicia was recruited to join TopInterview's team of interview coaches. Here's what she had to say:
When someone enlists your coaching services, what are they usually trying to get out of their session?
The clients I coach come for a variety of reasons. Many haven't interviewed in a while and want to brush up on their skills, and others are looking for a confidence boost before heading into an important interview. Some clients also seek out our services to work through a personal challenge that they've already faced during the interview process, such as not knowing how to make their answers concise or blanking on a common interview question - including the "Tell me about yourself" interview question. Interviewing techniques can be difficult to nail down, so being able to work one-on-one with a TopInterview professional coach like me can give job seekers the reassurance that they're doing things right, helping them feel more confident when they walk into the interview.
Why is interview preparation so important? How can it make a difference in someone's job-search process?
The difference between preparing for an interview and not can be glaringly obvious to the recruiter or hiring manager. Lack of preparation sends a clear signal to your interviewer that you don't care to get the job, and it will likely end in frustration for you. When you take the time and energy to make sure you're ready to impress your interviewer, you will.
Of course, preparing for an interview is only worthwhile if you're doing it right. When you work with a TopInterview coach like me, you will receive guidance and feedback to ensure that the time and effort you put into your interview preparation will actually benefit you. Practice doesn't make perfect — perfect practice makes perfect!
How can someone make the most of their interview coaching session?
My best piece of advice: Prepare for your interview-coaching session as you would for a real job interview. I've had many clients treat their session with me as an informative session or conversation, which, although valuable, hinders the coaching process. We're here to help you improve your interview performance — to do that, we need to see how you would perform during an actual interview. Before your session with an interview coach, research the employer, study the job description, and brainstorm a list of personal accomplishments and work examples that speak to your qualifications for the position. That way, when we provide you with feedback and recommendations, they will be detailed and helpful.
Do you have a favorite success story you'd like to share?
I was especially proud of this one woman, Sheila*, I coached over the course of a few sessions. She was a senior-level professional in the management field who was consistently getting calls for interviews, but couldn't get past the initial rounds. Her resume and accomplishments were spectacular, but I found during our initial session that she struggled with developing solid answers to my interview questions and delivering those responses with confidence. After working one-on-one with Sheila and encouraging her to practice between our sessions, her interview skills improved so much! Her answers came out smoothly, her confidence was boosted, and her overall delivery was much stronger!
If you could offer only one piece of interview advice, what would it be and why?
Research the company (and use our pre-interview research checklist to help)! It's stated at every turn, but too many people still think of it as optional. When you show an interview that you're really interested, they will consider you more seriously for a role.
If someone was considering an interview-coaching session, what would you say to them?
I would recommend purchasing an interview-coaching package if you feel frustrated, are struggling with confidence, need practice, or have a specific job in mind. Because our coaching services assist a range of clients, we'll be able to find the right coach to help tackle your specific interview obstacles.
Need help with nailing your next interview? TopInterview can help.
Please note that interview coaches are assigned to clients based on their availability, so we cannot guarantee that you will be paired with Felicia.
*Name changed to protect client's identity.