Why I Decided to Become an Interview Coach

January 4th, 2010 by lewis

I’ve always wanted to give back to the community. I’m not handy around the house, and while I enjoy my cooking, I’m not sure if others feel the same way. Thus, I crossed off volunteer work at a soup kitchen or Habitat for Humanity — from the list.

Interview coaching was a natural fit. I’ve learned that a happy career often equals a happy life. Paraphrasing Maya Angelou, we all want a job where we feel that we’re doing a good job. And we all want to be paid just a little bit more than we think we are worth.
Unfortunately, too many people stumble on the last hurdle to a job offer: the job interview. I can’t blame anyone; interviewing is something we do once every couple of years. And it’s not fun either. I can’t imagine any of us spending our Friday nights practicing responses to “What’s your biggest weakness?” with friends and family.
I’ve found a way to help others get their dream job. Job seekers may have the right skills and experiences, but they may not know how to communicate those skills and experiences effectively. And here’s my personal bonus. Not only do I get to help others, but I get to help in areas where I have experience and insight: communication and marketing skills.
I appreciate good communication skills. Good communication is not about spelling, grammar, or accents. It’s about being thoughtful. Put yourself in the listener’s shoes. What does that person need to know? And how can you describe an idea that makes sense from their point of view, as concisely and clearly as possible?
I read an excellent quote from Gregory Burns, professor of economics at Emory University. I’ve adapted it slightly to emphasize why communication skills matter at the job interview: a candidate can have the best skills and work experience in the world – completely different and novel – but if that person can’t explain it to others, it doesn’t matter.
I’m also a big marketing junkie. For instance, I like to analyze Super Bowl ads. Is it clear what the product is? And if so, what’s the unique selling proposition? In other words, why should I care?
I’m glad I discovered interview coaching. To all my clients, your stories remind me how I’m giving back to the community every day.

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