The Art of the Interview

Next to public speaking, is there anything more stressful than the job interview? Sure the odd interview team makes you feel at ease, but many have you perspiring and stressed out.(There is an interview style called the "stress interview," but the style is not overly popular - thank goodness.)

It's just that so much seems to hinge on how well you do in the interview. Yes, a job offer, but also what that represents: a good living, security, that Tuscan vacation you're dreaming of ... or maybe catching up on bills and rebuilding your savings.

Sheesh! No wonder your armpits are leaking!

Here at New Leaf, I've been building an interview coaching system for some years. I'm so happy to share that it has been formally recognized for its value by Career Professionals of Canada. The other day I received an email from Sharon Graham, Executive Director of CPC, who wrote:

Dear Stephanie,

 Career Professionals of Canada’s Awards of Excellence program was developed to recognize members of our community as Canada’s Top Career Professionals for outstanding performance and contributions to the industry and community.  This year's competition was extremely tight as we were fortunate to receive several excellent submissions.

 It is our great pleasure to offer you congratulations as the 2015 Awards of Excellence recipient in the Outstanding Employment Interview Strategist category.

I'm thrilled! There are few interview coaches in Canada and we are needed, if only to help relieve acute pre-interview stress! But more to the point, to help job hunters jump this final hurdle on the final stretch to employment.

My system marries a generous hour of a lesson in strategy with an eBook that you can refer to time and again. Some clients elect to hire me for another session to practice the tools I taught them and get feedback on their efforts, but many interview happily with the basic lesson.

My system is simply full of immediately actionable tools. In fact, my first-ever interview coaching client literally begged me to take her on as a client  after having been told that she interviews poorly; she was desperate to make that critical transition into management. (I hadn't written her resume and doubted the lesson's impact without customized input, hence my hesitation.)

Can you guess? Yes indeed, she landed the job offer two days after her coaching session. In fact, she received a call on her way home from the interview. And the interview team? They shared that she was the strongest interview candidate they had ever had.

The tools I teach go beyond the job interview: they are equally useful in your annual performance review.

If you're interested, give me a shout!


Three Benefits to Interview Coaching

I have offered interview coaching for some seven years now. I love empowering my clients with this critical career management skill. And yet, I honestly don't feel that enough people engage me for this service - I wish all but the most articulate and strategic communicators booked an interview coaching session. Those that do sign up for interview coaching reap the rewards with confident skills that lead to great offers. Here are three of the benefits to taking a one-hour interview coaching session.

1. Calm those nerves. Many of us get a wee bit nervous before or during an interview. And even those who are pretty chill about a job interview can all of a sudden find themselves sweating and fretting when asked a question that spurs no answers, or if challenged about an aspect of their background that they were not prepared to address! My approach is to teach strategy and what this means is that no matter what you are asked, you can come up with an answer. Yes, no matter what.

2. Wow the interview team. Yes, I will teach you how to "wow" the team without hoopla, boasting, or bringing flowers, chocolates or passes to an event! (I don't endorse unusual tactics.) Impressing an interview team has to do with knowing what to communicate, how to articulate it, when to stop, and when to add more. It's also about how to skillfully deflect a potential negative like lack of related experience, lack of Canadian experience, missing credentials, employment gap and so on. I teach all those things.

3. Apply the skills beyond the interview. Mmhmm. The interview strategies I teach are career management skills. Communicating your value goes beyond the interview. Imagine impressing your boss during your annual review? Or structuring an influential informal presentation during a departmental meeting? Or knowing how to approach your boss for a well-deserved raise?

The job search isn't about spending hours on the internet, researching the newest job search techniques (I've seen too many of these flame and extinguish without ever catching); it's not about wasting time on the internet reading about the latest doom and gloom unemployment figures or "must do's" (a sure path to depression or utter confusion!); it's not about asking your friends, family and neighbours for advice (likely negative, conflicting and plain wrong). I'd suggest that finding a trustworthy source for reasoned and seasoned expertise will get you a lot further faster. Just sayin'.