Browse Category: interview coaching

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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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.


Image courtesy of ddpavumba /

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.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

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.


Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG /

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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So tell me about yourself – Lethal Interview Question

IMG_1024This is a popular interview question which is almost always wasted. It is the interviewer literally giving you 800 metres of rope and saying go play. But the opportunity is usually wasted and the danger of totally screwing up is huge…. “Well I am 28, have a 2:1 in piffle and am generically interested in whatever I think you are interested in or what I am guessing you think I should be interested in.”

I hate the word but this is literally a perfect opportunity to ‘showcase’ your transferable skills and experience without sounding like an arrogant **** (insert whichever 4 letter word you feel most appropriate).

When asked tell me about yourself this is your opportunity to present your message about who you are and why you should get the job.

To answer this question well, like any other interview question, it all comes down to preparation.

Here are some ideas on how to prepare to answer tell me about yourself:

  1. Brainstorm

Write down all the strengths that make you right for the job you are applying for. This could be communication skills, public speaking, patience, etc. Then consider in which ways your experience proves that you have these strengths. For example you could describe how you managed a large team, or carried out successful business sales pitches.

  1. Focus

Reduce these ideas down to a precise and focused script. You do not want to bore your interviewer with unnecessary details. Instead be brief and concise; it is likely that the interviewer will decide which parts of what you said they want to pick up on.

  1. Rehearse

Do not attempt to perfectly memorise what you are going to say – this will likely come off sounding stiff and repeated. And rehearsed! But learn the key points that you want to cover. This is your chance to present your message in a clear and efficient way – don’t waste the opportunity.

Articles published in City A.M. this week

City A.M. articles for this week.

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I’m really enjoying writing for City A.M. each week, I hope you are enjoying reading my articles as much as I enjoy writing them. Here are the articles I published this week, be sure to check out what I published last week in City A.M..

Here are my articles published in City A.M. this week:


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Two ways to really annoy your boss

Want to annoy your boss? Why wouldn’t you? By simply and consistently annoying your boss you could leave those boring office days behind, forget the early mornings and that rubbish, crowded commute and spend the rest of your days at home in your underwear watching daytime TV. Whoop whoop.


Here are my articles published in City A.M. last week

See all the articles published on the blog this week



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