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Job Interview Coaching
With a Personal Interview Coach you can:
 

Become confident and convincing by developing a personalized strategy with your coach for talking about your strengths and weaknesses and how you can be an asset for this job in particular.

 

Get personalized answers to the most common, most difficult interview questions, the ones that throw most applicants off their game and put the interview into a tailspin.

 

Eliminate nervousness and stress, before and during the interview by practicing those difficult answers and getting feedback. You'll go from being a jittery job applicant to a cool, confident candidate, faster than you can say, "I'm hired!"

 

Get candid, expert feedback on your answers and what you need to do to improve your interview style and personal branding.

 

Practice answering questions without sounding scripted. Rehearsing your answers before your interview is an absolute MUST, but come off sounding scripted, and you will blow your chances of getting the job!

 

Learn the difference between behavioral and situational questions, and how to answer both types. These two types of questions are completely different, and if you don't understand the purpose of each type, and know exactly how you should answer each one, your chances of getting the job will plummet!

Who needs practice? EVERYONE!
Executives, professionals, administrators, lawyers, FBI agents, administrative assistants, new graduates, pre-med students, re-entry people - I've coached them all - with very positive results.

What will I get?
You will improve your performance and increase your chances of getting offers if you practice with a certified Interview Coach. Just like giving a presentation or a performance you will need a rehearsal. Practicing with a professional will help you focus and make you more fluent in your ability to answer questions. As a result, you will feel less anxious, less nervous, and more confident.
Job Interview Skills - Going for a Job
Impact Factory runs public interview skills courses and one to one coaching 
We also run personalised One-to-One Career Coaching sessions 
for anyone who wants help improving their Interview Technique

How To Get The Perfect Job

Going for a New Job?

Every once in a while something happens and our lives are shaken up. Sometimes we shake them up deliberately and sometimes outside forces come along and throw our world into a bit of a tailspin.

That's certainly what it feels like at the moment.

You are reading the most visited page on our website, and that's not just because of the current economic climate - though that certainly has a big impact. Given what's going on right now you may have been made redundant (or to use the irritating jargon, downsized or outplaced; whatever, it still means you're out of a job). Could be that people around you are being made redundant and work doesn't feel a particularly pleasant or inspiring place to be.

When people are fed up, need a new challenge, want more money, want a more conducive work environment they start reading the want ads, polishing their CVs, pounding the pavements and trawling the internet job updates and interview help sites like ours.

The current situation, however, does tend to mean that a whole lot of other people are also looking for new jobs, so you need to have a jump on the competition by presenting yourself at interview in the best possible light, no matter whether you've been made redundant or are looking for something fresh and motivating.

Even before we created Impact Factory 18 years ago we were helping people develop their careers, present themselves more effectively, identify their best skills and acknowledge their unique qualities, all with the aim of interviewing well and getting terrific jobs. 

With our Impact Factory lives we continue to support individuals in building their confidence and skills which in turn enable them to go after their next job. We have Interview One to One CoachingPresentationPersonal ImpactBody LanguageAssertiveness and Leadership courses designed to help stack the job seeking odds in your favour. 

Given our lengthy experience in career and skills development, here are some of our top tips for going for a new job.

How do People Get Jobs?

There are six ways to get a job:
  • Internal promotion
  • Applying for an advertised job
  • Word of mouth
  • Nepotism (a form of word of mouth, with a familial twist)
  • Going through an agency or using head hunters
  • Identifying a company you want to work for, a career you want to pursue or a fantasy job you'd like to have and being pro-active about getting through the door.

They're all valid. 

If your brother-in-law's second cousin knows the head of HR at a company you are really interested in, go for it!

Equally, if you want to go to employment agencies and try your luck that way, go for it! 

Jo Ellen: "I'm a great fan of the sixth way of job hunting. It's one that many people don't think about and it does take courage. When I decided I wanted to move from the US to the UK over 25 years ago, I made a list of all the organisations I thought I might want to work for and wrote to each of them, told them when I'd be in the UK and asked for an interview. Of the 10 letters I sent, I got 5 interviews and one job. It works!"

Your First Opportunity: Getting the Interview

If you want the job, chances are so do about a million other eager people, so your application has to stand out from the crowd. The majority of CVs are usually dull and boring, and people create them as historical documents, rather than as marketing tools. 

Remember your CV has about seven seconds (yes 7) to make a visual impression. You can dramatically boost your chances of getting an interview by making your CV look and 'sound' special.
  • Use good paper
  • Design a personal logo
  • Fiddle with the layout to make it easy on the eye
  • Edit it ruthlessly (everyone always puts in too much detail)
  • Highlight the bits that relate to the job you're going for
  • They don't need to know you went to St Mary's School when you were 12!
  • Put "Who you are now" at the beginning of your CV
  • Leave education and qualifications for the end.

If you don't have what you think are the right educational qualifications, don't worry. Just leave them off. If you include enough interesting and intriguing material about who you are now, what you didn't do is far less important. 

Put a short paragraph at the beginning that says something about your personal qualities and your business skills. A short statement about what you're seeking can also go down a treat. 

As we know, a job for life is very rare nowadays, that eclectic, unusual and even inconsistent CVs are OK as long as they're presented well. 

Depending upon the specific job you're going after, you can be as creative as you like. We've seen CVs presented as graphs, as poems, as drawings, as a route map, as a podcast; you name it, we've probably seen it. 

Whichever route you choose, make sure your CV is pitched correctly for the audience who will be receiving it.

You might also think about rewriting your CV for specific jobs.

Robin: "When I was a working actor I had separate CV's for television work, stage work and commercials work. It was just a matter of rearranging the order of things to give prominence to the work that would be of most interest to each prospective employer, and it worked!" 

You can do the same; highlighting certain areas of your CV to showcase the skills that will matter for the specific jobs you're going for. 

You are what you seem! So what do we mean by that? 

When we ourselves recruit for new members of staff we are absolutely appalled by the sloppy, unprofessional CVs we receive: misspellings, poor layout, bad grammar. Needless to say, our rubbish bins get filled quickly during our recruitment drives. 

So a word of advice: proofread. No. Forget that. Get someone else to proofread your CV. 

Make your 7 seconds matter.

Interview Rules

You hear all sorts of rules about job interviews:

  • People decide about you in the first 10 seconds
  • You have to make a good first impression
  • Always ask insightful questions
  • Learn as much as you can about the company
  • They'll probably ask questions designed to trip you up
  • Have some quick answers to interview questions at the ready

Not bad, as far as rules go: some of them make perfect sense. But getting the job you want isn't about following rules or giving the right interview answer.

It's about presenting yourself in the most authentic way that takes care of you and the interviewers at the same time.

So many people chuck their interview chances away: they don't take enough care and interview preparation time so that the whole process is enjoyable, stimulating and informative for both parties.

So the CV worked. You've got the Interview; now what?
Preparing For a Job Interview

If you have been invited to an interview it's a given that someone has, however briefly, looked at your CV. Something about you, or the way you have presented yourself has felt a good enough 'fit' to get you through the door. 

Here's the key and the most important thing to remember before you go through that door.
    Unless they are simply going through the motions because they've already appointed someone, they want it to be you

They want to know their search is over, so for the length of the interview, the job is yours. Something else you need to make the most of. 

Having said that, first impressions are incredibly important. People do make up their minds quickly so be yourself right from the start. 

Of course you can turn up the volume on those bits of you that most match the job and turn it down on the bits that don't. This will help show you in your best light. However, never ever shut the volume off entirely, as you will then be pretending to be someone you're not - people can smell pretence and it is a sure recipe for disaster.

For the same reason it's not a good idea to lie! 

You can be judicious with the truth yes, but lies have a tendency to return and bite you in the bum! Even if they don't actually know that you've lied they will sense something is not right. When you are under pressure it's virtually impossible not to give out the signals that tell your interviewer that something is wrong. 

Even if you think your current job stinks, present the good points as though you were looking at the job from the outside in. Most jobs appear much better from the outside than they do from the inside (only you know the real truth); so pump up the goodies and soft-pedal the baddies! 

However, we do know that being put on the spot can feel very uncomfortable, and it's easy to fall into a defensive posture. If you're not sure of the answer or feel boxed into a corner it's all right to buy time - including saying "I need some time to think about that."

No matter how nervous you are you do need to look after the people interviewing you. They will be looking for signs that you know how to communicate and relate to people. If you get stuck or tongue-tied ask one or two of the more surprising questions you have prepared.

Have a stockpile of anecdotes of past triumphs (and even a few disasters, as long as they're funny or the humorous side is apparent). This is not just a list of what you can do, but some personal examples that help paint the whole picture.

For instance, you could say "I successfully launched a new product for my company." Nothing wrong with that; it just doesn't tell anyone very much about you.

Or you could say, "Let me tell you about the new product launch I ran earlier this year with my colleagues. We had a very tight deadline, the venue was booked, the product was ready, but it was bringing all the elements together that helped make it a success. I'll explain my part in all this...." And off you go.

You're telling a story, not reciting facts. People like stories (as long as they are not long-winded and either too boastful or too self-deprecating) because they help show who you are as a person.

So right about now you'll be thinking

"That's all very well for you to say, but just how do I do all this?" 

Ok so let's take a pragmatic approach to interviewing here. Think about it for a second.

You've got through the door. They want it to be you. The job is yours to lose.

So the process you're in now is a test. 

Their starting point will be this: "Well, it all looks good on paper, let's get them in and see how they look in person."

That is, by the way, how you will be viewed. Until they see you in person, until they see you walk and talk, until they can smell and hear you, you are an 'it'. 

Interestingly, every time Impact Factory pitches for a new piece of work, it's like going for a job interview and the same 'rules' apply. Our intention is to bring our brochure and website alive. Your job is to bring your CV to life as well. That's why we mentioned stories a few paragraphs back: they will bring your CV to life.

Your first responsibility as the interviewee is to show yourself as a person

Let's be very clear here. They have information about you. If you've been clever at presenting your CV and application they will have expectations as to what sort of person you are. 

Now they want to meet you. 

Why? Because they want to know if they will like you, if you're someone they could spend working time with, if you're a good fit with the other people in the company. 

Robin: "In the world of theatre, where I have spent a considerable time people don't just interview. They audition; they perform and are judged on their performance and you would think that the performance was the most important part of an audition. 

"Nevertheless over and over again casting decisions are made on the basis of 'Can I work with this person?' 'Do I like them well enough to spend time (quite a lot of time) with them?' And surprisingly, often it is not the best actor for the part who gets it." 

Presenting yourself isn't an 'act', nor is it a 'performance', but they do want to see how you perform. Confusing, isn't it? 

Don't worry, there's more advice coming right up.

Being Yourself Under Pressure

Ok so the problem now is how to 'be yourself' whilst under this sort of pressure. It's worse than a first date. 

So here is one of the tricks that successful actors learn (usually after having done hundreds of interview/auditions) that can help take away some of that pressure. 

Treat the interview as the job. 

The job is the interview, not what you will get if you do a good interview. 

Simple. Give good interview. 

And here are some other things that will help: 

Psychologically you will feel better if this is not the only egg in your basket, so apply for more jobs than you need. You will find that if you have another interview lined up there is less pressure. 

Wear something you feel good in. It is no good looking great if you feel uncomfortable. If you have an interview outfit it helps to wear it to one or two social events to bed it in. 

Have something to say in answer to an open question. They will ask open questions. 

Classic open interview questions are:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • What have you been doing lately?
  • What made you apply for this job?
  • Why should we pick you?

Prepare an answer that allows you to talk about something you've been involved in recently. Preferably something that has got you feeling really enthusiastic. 

Be sure to bring in non-work-related stuff to the interview. Remember this is about being a whole person. Don't go on at too much length about the excitement of your Saturday bowls club, but do use anything from your outside life that might illustrate some of your skills and qualities.

Using Self-Disclosure to Create Empathy

What we mean by 'self-disclosure' is the giving or telling of something about yourself that is not actually necessary in order to answer the question. 

There is nothing more important you can do in an interview than help give people a feel of what you are like and self-disclosure is the most powerful way to do it. This is an extension of relating stories. 

With a little training this is not hard to do. 

If they ask "Why do you want to be a nanny?" 

You could answer:
    "I've always wanted to work with children"
Or you could say:
    "Well two years ago my best friend Amanda had a little baby girl Sarah and when she had her christened she asked me to be her Godmother. Well of course I said yes, but as the christening came round and as I prepared for the ceremony I really started to think about Sarah and how important she was and how much we are all responsible for the well being of our children and it got me to thinking about what I really wanted to do with my life....

You get the picture? 

What you say hardly matters. What matters is that you speak about something that you feel really strongly about. If you feel strongly about it you will sound enthusiastic, authentic, engaged and alive.

Help with Interview Nerves - You will be nervous

This again is a given, there is nothing wrong with being a bit on edge. If you use the approach laid out above the things you speak about will give you somewhere to channel that nervous energy. 

Remember they are unlikely to give the job to someone calm, relaxed and laid back either. Too laid back and you will seem as if you don't care. 

What makes everyone nervous about interview is the fact that they are going to judge you. 

Absolutely they are going to judge you! This is supposed to happen. Remember, it's a test, so get some interview help or interview training and do some practise. You wouldn't dream of going to your driving test without studying the Highway Code, so treat an interview in the same way. 

But remember also, you are interviewing them as well. The test is two way. If you can keep that in the forefront of your mind, it can also help settle interview nerves.

Prepare and Research for your Interview

Prepare to talk about something current, a TV programme, the election, the war, the weather, it doesn't matter what so long as it has affected you and you have a strong opinion about it. 

 
 
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