Tip to Nailing Job Interviews

Laid off? Looking to climb the corporate ladder? Unsure about whether you have found your passion at work? Returning to work after having a child or recovering from a disability? 

One of the most difficult parts of returning to work, beginning to work or making a career transition is learning how to handle interviews. Most people do not realize that there are several different interview approaches and styles that employers can use to help determine the best candidates. Often these approaches are based on internal corporate culture that a career coach can help you identify and orient you toward.

There are four main types of selection interview approaches. Employers often use a combination of all of the above. 

  • Traditional interviews tend to be the most widely used technique. In these interviews, employers ask questions that pertain to a job and your qualifications. The interviewer often asks about what you would do in certain hypothetical situations similar to those that might arise on the job. An employer often asks similar questions of all candidates in these situations in order to compare them and distinguish them from each other.

  • Behavioral interviews are based on the idea that past performance and actions to predict how a candidate will perform in similar situations in the future. You might be asked questions that are designed to illicit information about previously demonstrated capabilities, personal qualities and weaknesses. In traditional interviews, questions are often open-ended and hypothetical. In behavioral interviews, questions tend to be focused on your performance in an actual situation. For example, in a traditional interview, an interviewer might ask, “How would you handle a disagreement with a peer on your team?” In a behavioral interview, the questioner might ask, “Tell me about a time when you worked on a project where team members disagreed.”

  • Case interviews, often typical in management consulting and analytical positions, focus on hypothetical situations that can be ambiguous. The purpose is to test your analytical and problem solving skills in assessing the situations and developing a solution.
  • Technical interviews, common in science and technology positions, focus on solving actual problems that potential employees could experience on the job.

Preparing for traditional interviews often focuses on your work history while behavioral interview preparation often involves learning how to use the STAR framework – Situation/Task, Actions and Results – to provide answers that give interviewers a solid idea of how you will perform in a situation. Case interview preparation often involves familiarizing yourself with the employer and having a strong grapse of standard techniques, probabilities and statistics. Case interview preparation often involves making sure you understand the situations, that you can think logically about the problem, that you can structure your response and have an innovative and concise conversation. Technical interviews often involve studying the core knowledge base of the field.

Not knowing the type of interview you are likely walking into is likely to harm your ability to succeed. Learning about each type leaves you prepared for virtually anything that can be thrown at you.

In addition to the selection interview approaches, prospective employees need to be able to develop skills that allow them to send the right message through a variety of different styles of interviewing, including face-to-face interviews; panel interviews; videoconferencing and Internet interviewing and mock interviews (in our company, prospective coaches are often asked to coach a client in front of a panel of employees). Preparing for these types – including the surprises – can be difficult without the help of a seasoned professional.

Our career coaches specialize in being able to sort out the different types of interviewing skills need for specific positions and how to best convey your skill set in each medium.

Utilizing Career Testing in Career Coaching

Career coaching should never just be about getting a job. It should be about finding your passion and your purpose. At Goose Creek Coaching, our career coaching is focused on helping people do just that. As someone involved in career coaching, life coaching and mental health coaching at the practice, I have three assessments at my disposable for those who are trying to find a road map for a rewarding work life.

With each of these assessments, it is important to view the client in a broad context. I liken it to a narrowing funnel where I am able to examine a client’s interests through an assessment and filter in and out certain options. Examining a client’s preferred ways of operating in the world helps us further narrow the list. Reviewing a client’s resume, work history, life experience, confidence and skillset helps we funnel it even further. Then, examining the client’s financial, emotional, geographic and family needs helps us, hopefully, narrow the list to a promising handful of occupations that we begin exploring.

The process of helping people begin to search for a position moves more smoothly in many cases when we utilize assessments. Once the process is done, we are often ready to work together to apply for jobs, develop resumes, write winning cover letters and prepare for interviews. Knowing the client helps the coach do a better job; knowing yourself helps the client more easily get a job.

The three primary tests we utilize are the Strong Interest Inventory, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation. Clients can take any combination of the tests that they decide, with input from their coach, to take. There are several versions of each test, some focusing on college students, high school students, those going through career transition and other scenarios.

The Strong Interest Inventory helps us zero in on the top 10 occupations that have the potential to be most satisfying in a client’s life, general occupational themes that give us an idea of broad interest areas and personal styles in the work place. The Strong provides highly personalized results based on answers to hundreds of questions that compare the results to more than 250 occupations. The test also compares a client’s answers to answers of those who are satisfied or dissatisfied in certain fields. An option with the Strong is to also take a Skills Confidence Inventory that assess an individual’s self-assurance about their ability to succeed in certain fields.

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator, known as the MBTI, is an assessment that has been taken by millions of people to help them develop a framework or positive change, to build better relationships and to realistically achieve their goals. The assessment results are based on Carl Jung’s theory of psychological type and provide practical information about a client’s preferred way of operating overall and in four specific areas. The areas of focus are based on whether an individual gets their strength from a natural outward focus or an inward focus; whether they prefer to take in information and process it through a step-by-step fashion or in an intuitive big picture fashion; whether they make decisions based on logic or personal considerations and whether they deal best with the world in a planned or spontaneous fashion.

The third test, the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation, or FIRO, helps us understand a client’s interpersonal needs and how those needs impact their behavior and communication style. Its primary focus is on how a client behaves toward other people and how a client wants people to behave toward them. The test assesses the client’s expressed – what they tend to do – and wanted – how much they want others to do -- need to be a part of a group, to control a situation and for affection.  The FIRO can help a client make change in their behaviors, give them specific insights into the needs of others and help us come up with developmental recommendations for clients.

Utilizing these assessments, along with individualized coaching, to help filter potential career fields helps increase the likelihood of success for our clients. It’s an approach that we designed to help make sure that when our clients come back, it’s only for tweaking of their resumes, preparing for an interview or getting ready for a change – not because they are still unsure of what their passion and their purpose is.

Mindfulness Coaching for ADHD

Our neighbor, Adam, who may have undiagnosed ADHD, is a wine enthusiast. His practical enjoyment of this hobby would greatly increase, I believe, if he obtained ADHD coaching that included mindfulness training.

Relaxed - No Anxiety Like many people with ADHD, Adam, a pseudonym for my real neighbor, is very intelligent, and when his mind alights on a topic that interests him, he will exhaustively explore it. His ability to hyper focus on things that fascinate him is common for people with ADHD, and potentially a great asset, but only if it isn't sabotaged by ADHD's less positive attributes. In at least in one instance, that sabotaging happened to Adam in his attempt to share his knowledge and enjoyment of wine.

A few other neighbors and I planned with Adam a French gourmet dinner, for which he was to choose the perfect wine. He researched thoroughly, made the ideal choice, and found one small wine store in the area that carried it. The store was located about 45 minutes away, so picking it up required a significant time investment from Adam.

When Adam arrived at the wine store, about four people were ahead of him in line. The clerk was taking quite a bit of time with the customer he was currently helping. Adam started to feel horribly restless, like a caffeinated, caged racehorse. He checked his phone, but he didn't have any messages. He looked around, but didn't see anything interesting. After about five minutes, the clerk was still helping the first customer, and Adam couldn't stand it anymore. He left without the wine.

Mindfulness coaching for ADHD would have enabled Adam to respond differently to the situation. First, it would have provided him techniques for waiting his turn in line without becoming hopelessly bored and restless. Although people with ADHD often have difficulty setting short and long-term goals for the future, they are always careening towards it. Usually, the present is something to be endured until they can race ahead to something more compelling or exciting. Mindfulness coaching trains those with ADHD to be present in the present, to become aware of the anxiety that makes the present feel intolerable, and find a place in their own bodies and minds to focus on rather than depending on external stimuli.

Second, mindfulness coaching would have helped Adam with the impulsiveness that caused him to leave the store. Instead of reacting to an urge born of anger, boredom, anxiety, or some other emotion of which Adam was unaware he was experiencing, mindfulness would have taught him to first observe his emotional experience non-judgmentally, and then to decide how he wished to respond to it. Thus, Adam wouldn't have been managed by his impulses, but rather his impulses would have been managed by him.

The dinner proceeded without the perfect wine, and the evening was still enjoyable.  Adam was already talking about the great wine he would bring next time. I couldn't help hoping that he would get a little mindfulness coaching before then.

Why Coaching is the Best Option for ADHD

Stressed WomanRecently, I attended a party where one guest, I'll call her Susan, exhibited some ADHD behavior. It was raining as Susan was leaving the party, and this inspired the hostess to share with her a story about how her basement flooded the year before. She included details of the dirty, expensive process of getting rid of the water, tearing out the wet, moldy drywall, and putting in new walls. When the hostess finished, Susan responded inappropriately with "That's totally awesome! That's so great! You guys are the best!" When Susan left, another guest said to the hostess, "I don't think she heard a word of your story," and the hostess rolled her eyes and nodded in agreement.

I think Susan meant to listen to the hostess, but had unwittingly zoned out. I think she wanted to care and show enthusiasm about the story, so she provided what she believed was a response reflecting that. But actually, her response conveyed just the opposite; it conveyed that she found the hostess and her story so boring and unimportant that hadn't even bothered to listen.

The sad part is, Susan probably did this regularly, to everyone, imperiling her relationships, without any awareness that it was a problem.

I am a mental health counselor who chooses to employ coaching to help my clients who are struggling with ADHD. I believe that both therapy and coaching are great treatment options for most disorders, but for ADHD, I prefer coaching.

One reason for my preference is that recovery is not the goal for people like Susan, strategizing is, and coaching is all about strategizing. Therapy works well for helping clients recover from depression, substance use problems, crippling anxiety, etc., but for those with ADHD, developing strategies for minimizing ADHD's disadvantages and maximizing its advantages is the best approach. As a coach, I wouldn't try and help Susan recover from her inattentiveness, I would help her recognize that her problems with focus extend beyond the work arena, and help her employ techniques for addressing them.

Another reason why I prefer coaching for clients with ADHD is that unlike anxiety, depression and other disorders, ADHD doesn't make people feel unlike themselves. They don't suddenly notice a change in their emotion, thought, behavior, or physicality. So, unlike other types of sufferers, people with ADHD are usually unaware of the myriad ways that their symptoms are impacting their lives, because it has always been that way. Susan had no idea that she was insulting people by not listening – she didn't even realize she wasn't listening. An ADHD coach would help her develop awareness of how her inattentiveness was affecting her relationships, and look for the impact of disorganization, impulsiveness, poor money management, and tardiness as well.  

Susan has so many strengths; she is lively, fun, enthusiastic, creative, and she can hyper-focus in ways that allow her to master some very difficult things, such as playing the banjo and creating graphic art. With a little coaching, she, and others with ADHD, could leverage their strengths, develop techniques for overcoming their weaknesses, and ultimately, play the game of life much more successfully.

To learn more about ADHD Coaching, contact us .

Losing Weight Isn't An Overnight Process

Astrid Richardson is a life and wellness coach trained by the International Coaching Federation. Her experience includes working as a dietary consultant from Jenny Craig where she worked with clients who had various levels of weight loss issues. Astrid's beliefs are that coaching can give clients a safe and loving space to explore, seek clarity, find awareness, and grow. To learn more about Astrid's coaching practice visit our website.

By Astrid Richardson

Wellness - Diet

How many times have you attempted to lose weight? Has it been once, twice, three times or more? Each time, you start with a great deal of enthusiasm and feel that, this time, you’ll achieve your goal.  Often, you meet the challenge and lose the weight, only to later gain it back. The loss and gain can be disappointing and leave you wondering, “How did I let this happen again?” You might even feel defeated.

Let’s go back to the beginning of the last weight loss achievement and see how you accomplished your goal. Did you have a plan? Probably. You, most likely, looked at the many things in life that could get in your way and found solutions that would help you stay on track. That might’ve been using a calendar to schedule your exercise, having a meal plan and making sure that you planned ahead so you wouldn’t be caught unprepared. You may have even had a friend to keep you accountable and with whom, you could celebrate your wins along the way. These are all great ways to achieve weight loss. If you’ve achieved your weight loss goals, I sincerely congratulate you. That’s wonderful! So, now what? Will you continue to use the structures that supported you or will you go back to old habits that don’t align with your newly achieved goal?

Whether you’ve lost weight and want to keep it off or you’re starting anew, ask yourself, “What is my motivation?” Is it to feel better, look better, or both? Whatever it is, make sure that it is strong and you can remember it. A strong motivation, having a plan, and support structures are powerful tools for achieving and sustaining your goal. When life happens and setbacks occur, these tools will help get you back on track and restore balance. Don’t forget to be good to yourself and give yourself the love and compassion you need, especially during a setback. And remember - “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.” - Henry Ford