Q: Is pre-interview coaching useful?
Particularly if you are entering into a period of interviews with various companies then, yes, I think that a series of coaching sessions would be very useful in the lead-up.
Going into an interview, you need to be ready for anything – your mood, the interviewer’s mood, the style of questioning, any awkwardness if a natural connection just isn’t happening…and a multitude of other factors that can throw you on the day. Embedding self-knowledge in advance, and practising your best stories, will help you when you are not fully at ease. It’s like learning an instrument – practice piano enough and your fingers will eventually move around to play the tune ‘on auto-pilot’, even if your mind is somewhat distracted.
A coach can challenge and probe you to make your stories better, whilst keeping you honest about your strengths and weaknesses. “Negotiation skills? Oh, I’ll just tell her about that time with the difficult supplier”. Turning a 5-second thought about a past event into a good 2-minute story, and practising it, will keep it to the forefront of your mind. It may even happen that one good story could answer multiple interview questions. Trying to turn that 5-second thought into a story and failing will enable you to park that story and find a better one. Making your mistakes in a separate, supportive environment is always better than making them in front of the interviewer. Good luck!
This Q&A was first published in Irish Tatler magazine.
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