Browse Category: Interview preparation

Interview coaching works

Interview coaching works. Fact.

Just ten minutes ago I was writing a blogpost on women in leadership positions. Then the phone rang. It was a client I coached last week and over the weekend who had a job interview yesterday with one of the best law firms in the world. I froze. I always do. A call from a client the day after an interview demands one of two things from me. Commiserations or congratulations. They either get the job or they don’t. It’s binary. Nothing vague about it. My only hope was that because it was the day after the interview it was good news.

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Conservative Party Conference – Osborne and IDS

George Osborne – His tough but fair speech

Osborne’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference was an expected one. He kept the rhetoric of not changing course, keeping to the current economic plan and letting the Conservatives finish their plan. In true Osborne fashion he did not try to rattle the cage or scaremonger. He lay out his policies for all to see. Osborne seems to believe in the power of speaking to the electorate as equals and grown ups,  promising them recovery but after some continued medication aka further cuts. He sounds sensible and matter of fact. The way somebody managing a tough situation and delivering tough news should.

Iain Duncan Smith – On his soapbox

Iain Duncan Smith has been historically underestimated as a public speaker. When leader he was considered too quite, not loud or strong enough to do well. IDS finished his speech at the Conservative Party Conference with by walking around from the lectern and faced the audience. He left the safety of the podium and his notes behind and made a more heart-felt speech. He talked about his love of his country and the importance of the election. He spoke with a true sense of a man who felt that he needed to finish the job – not somebody who wants to be party leader or who doesn’t want to lose his job, but somebody who truly believes he is making a positive difference to the world.

What I like about these two politicians is that they both 100% believe in what they say and what their jobs should be. They have defined outcomes. Others may write some of their words – but they believe in each syllable.  There is no gap between what they say and what they believe. That is when politicians are at their most driven and most effective.


How to keep your cool during a job interview

ID-100159170A big job interview can be one of the most stressful things you will do in your professional life. So much is riding on such a short amount of time. However being able to keep your cool, and stay calm and collected is vital. Being able to express yourself clearly in a confident and relaxed way will give you the greatest chance of getting the job.

Here are some tips on how to keep your cool during a job interview:

  1. Come prepared

Research the company, the industry, and the job role. Brainstorm some possible questions and your answers to them. Consider some strong stories to back up your points. Write out some questions to ask your interviewer. Coming prepared to your interviewer is key to feeling confident.

  1. Arrive early

Get to your interview early and collect your thoughts. Go through your research and notes. Take a deep breath and concentrate on what is to come. Arriving late you cause yourself to become even more stressed and will give off the wrong impression.

  1. Have a conversation

Think of the interview as a conversation between two people, not an interrogation. This will make you feel more relaxed and confident. Remember that the interviewer wants you to do well; they are on your side.

  1. Take your time

Do not rush to answer every question immediately. Take a few seconds to think about what you are going to say before answering. A good answer said slowly is better than a worse answer said quickly.

  1. Don’t let mistakes trip you up

In a high pressure, high stress situation like a job interview mistakes are inevitable. Interviewers understand this. If you make a mistake correct it immediately and move on, try to forget about it and carry on with the interview. A perfect interview is rare, if not impossible.


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Overused words and phrases in job interviews

ID-100101765Overused words and phrases in a job interview bore the interviewer. Being original, interesting, and engaging will make your more memorable and more employable.

Here are some overused words and phrases to avoid using in job interviews:

  1. “I don’t see a problem with that”

Enthusiasm in a job interview is good, as is being flexible with what you are able to do for the company. But showing that you have considered what is being asked of you is a better trait to show during the interview.

  1. “I want a job where I can develop and grow”

Who doesn’t? This just sounds like corporate jargon and does not actually explain anything. Instead tell your interviewer in which ways you want to develop and grow and why that job will help you do that.

  1. “I want a job where I can use my skills”

The interviewer probably thinks you have the skills to do the job, otherwise you wouldn’t be offered the interview. Instead of saying this, explain which skills you have and how these skills will help you do the job effectively.

  1. “What an interesting question…”

This is an obvious stall for time to think, and is quite transparent. Instead of trying to stall for time, just take a couple of seconds to think about your answer, before vocalising.

  1. “I’m very hardworking”

Who would say anything different in an interview? Back this statement up with some evidence. Use storytelling to demonstrate a way in which you have worked hard at a project in your career.


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The purpose of brain-teaser interview questions

“How many people are using Facebook in Los Angeles at 5:30pm on a Thursday?” Google

“How many planes are currently flying over Kentucky?” Best Buy

In many industries brain-teaser interview questions have become the norm. Mostly used by creative, innovative, or tech-savvy companies, they are believed to be used to find out whether a candidate is able to think creatively and on their feet. It may show that a candidate is able to problem solve in a logical, timely, and coherent manner, all while under the pressure of a job interview.

But do brain-teaser interview questions actually help find the more qualified candidate for the job?

Trying to answer a near-impossible question where there is no right answer is not a pleasant task for a job candidate. It can make it seem that the candidates are being set-up to fail, with the interviewers demanding impossibly high standards. Often all these questions do is pile more nerves onto an already nervous person, denying them the ability to clearly explain why they are best for the job.

But it is also an opportunity for the interviewers to see if you are able to think creatively and on your feet.  Often a candidate will go into a job interview with a pre-prepared script of what to say. Asking the same routine questions allows a candidate to stick to their prepared piece. This can make it less of a conversational interview, and more of a one-sided presentation.

If ever faced with this question, take your time and consider it carefully. In a situation where ‘Don’t know’ is not an option, interviewers are looking for creative, unique and entertaining answers.


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What to do after a bad job interview

ID-100255301 (1)Coming out of a job interview feeling like it just all went wrong is a terrible feeling. Nothing comes close. Having a bad job interview, being told you didn’t get the job, or not hearing anything at all can be demoralising. But remember success can only come about after failure. That’s how we learned to walk.

Here are some tips on what to do after a bad job interview:

  1. Think

After a seemingly bad job interview take some time to consider what went wrong. Maybe you didn’t manage to get your message across successfully and clearly, or didn’t answer a question as well as you think you could have, or maybe you feel that you weren’t able to connect with the interviewer. However the interview bombed – work out why. Clinically.

  1.  Learn

After realising what went wrong you can learn what to do differently. Maybe you realise that you need to research the company more, better explain your strengths or work on providing convincing examples and stories to explain your point. If there are specific questions you messed up, prepare for them! If you went into the black hole – get coaching.

  1. Follow up successfully

Writing a follow up thank you letter (or email) has several advantages. Not only does a follow up letter help you stand out above the rest, it also allows you to include something you may have missed out in the interview. And may give you a second chance! Stranger things have happened!

  1. Move on

It is possible that the interview went better than you imagined it. The important thing to do is understand what wrong, how you can improve it and look forward to the next interview. Look at job hunting like a process, not a one interview lottery. After each job interview your performance will improve and you can only get better. Dwelling on a bad job interview will do nothing.


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Questions to research before an interview

ID-100222712Research before an interview is key. During a job interview it is important to be able to demonstrate your knowledge of that company and that industry. Being able to speak fluently and confidently about this can set you apart from the rest. Having the right qualifications and experience is essential, but being able to show that you have taken the time to research the company and the industry will make you stand out from the crowd and may make that bit of difference you need to get the job.

Putting in the work and doing the research before an interview can really pay off. Research can be conducted through reading blogs, trade publications, and news sites can all allow you to gain greater knowledge of the industry, giving you more to talk about during the job interview. Of course you also have the company’s website and you should also have a good general knowledge – especially of factors that may affect the industry that the company is in.

 Here are some questions to research before an interview:

  1. What are the new trends in the industry?
  2. How do these trends affect the industry?
  3. What are the current challenges and problems in the industry?
  4. How are these problems affecting the industry?
  5. Which parts of the industry are most affected?
  6. What possible solutions are there for these problems?
  7. How viable are these solutions?
  8. What progress or research is being made in the industry?
  9. Which of these seem most promising?
  10. What is the best way to adapt to this new research?

I have list of questions to prepare for before an interview but these are some very basic industry items you should know.


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