When using an interview coach IS (and ISN'T) worth it

interview coaching

The secret is out: lots of job candidates are doing interview coaching to try and get an advantage. If you’ve got an interview coming up, you’re probably asking yourself: is it worth hiring an interview coach?

The short answer is: yes, probably.

However, it’s not always that simple. Let’s take a look at exactly when it is worth the investment, and when it’s probably best to pass. 

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Is hiring an interview coach worth it?

Hiring an interview coach is usually well worth it if you really want the job but you’re up against other strong candidates. Working with a coach should enable you to give a better performance in interviews and increase your chances of getting the job (and future jobs). That’s a huge, long-term benefit in return for a few hundred dollars investment.

Interviewing is a skill and like any skill, you can improve it with practice and expert training. A coach will teach you how to give better quality answers and communicate more confidently.

Furthermore, if they’ve worked in your industry, they can give you specific insights into what your interviewers will be looking for.

So yes, there are many reasons why interview coaching could be a great investment. But in the end, it will depend on your personal circumstances.

8 times it’s worth hiring an interview coach.

Let’s look at some of the situations when it really makes sense to hire an interview coach.

1. You’re applying for a very competitive job

Getting a job at companies like Google or McKinsey is harder than getting into Harvard. Thousands of applicants apply for each open position, and you can do fairly well in your interviews and still not make the cut.

Doing mock interviews with someone who used to run interviews at your target company can help you understand exactly what you need to do.

2. You’re facing several rounds of interviews

If you’re hoping to get a job at a top firm, you’ll probably have to go through several interviews. And you won’t be able to rely on a smile and a strong resume - you’ll need to give great answers to tough questions, again and again.

In this context, anything you can do to improve your interview skills and approach the interviews with confidence makes a lot of sense.

3. You’re going for a significant salary increase

Imagine you’re applying for a job that’s going to earn you an extra $20,000 per year. From a purely financial perspective, why wouldn’t you spend a few hundred dollars on interview coaching to increase your chances?

Many of the candidates who use our platform see it in these simple terms. Some claim that the benefit-to-cost ratio is over 100. 

4. Interviews make you very nervous

Almost everyone gets at least a bit nervous before job interviews, but some people get so stressed that they can’t give a good account of themselves, and of course after a poor performance the cycle repeats the next time they interview.

Doing mock interviews with a coach will make the real thing seem less daunting, purely by repetition. Plus, some coaches will be able to teach you relaxation and focus techniques.

5. You’re getting interviews but not offers

Unfortunately, most companies aren’t very good at giving feedback after an unsuccessful interview, so often it’s up to you to try and guess where you’re going wrong.

An interview coach can pinpoint your weaknesses and work with you to improve them.

6. You haven’t interviewed in a while

As with most things, interviewing skills can get pretty rusty if you don’t use them for a while. Plus, things change. For example, a typical interview with a top corporation is run quite a bit differently today compared to how it was ten years ago.

An interview coach should be plugged into your industry and will explain exactly what you can expect from each of your interviews.

7. Your communication skills aren’t great

For 90% of jobs, good communication skills are vital. Even for more technical roles such as software engineer, you won’t be able to get into the top companies on the strength of your technical skills alone. You’ll need to be able to demonstrate in the interview that you can work well with people and will contribute positively to the “culture” of the company.

Luckily, improving your communication skills can be fairly straightforward with a bit of practice and some expert guidance.

8. You really really really want the job 

Sometimes, you have to simplify your thought process and ask yourself: “how badly do I want this job?”

If you really, really want it and you’ve already prepared as much as you possibly can, then interview coaching may be one of the only things left that you can do to increase your chance of getting the job.

If that's you and you'd like to compare our platform to other services, check out our list of the best interview coaching services.

4 times it’s probably not worth hiring an interview coach

1. You’re not even getting invited to interviews

If you’re not making it to the interview stage, you probably need to work on your resume a bit more. You can do this with a help of a resume coach, or with handy online guides such as this one we wrote for product managers (most of it is relevant to any position).

2. You’re making a sideways or backwards move 

If you’re not highly motivated for the position, then you may decide that interview coaching isn’t worth the investment. After all, there’s not much point investing in a coach if you’re not going to back it up by doing the preparation work as well in your own time.

3. You’re facing an informal interview process

It’s generally agreed that interview coaching is more effective for candidates who go through an interview process that is reasonably formal and standardized.

In a formal process, interviewers will ask questions that fit within parameters designed by the company, and they will be evaluating you on clearly defined skills and traits. A coach who has experience working for or coaching for this company or similar companies will have a very good idea of what they’ll be looking for.

By contrast, an informal interview often just takes the format of a·”chat” and depends on the whims of the person who is hiring you. A key factor in whether you get hired may be simply whether they like you. With a criteria that’s so subjective, this type of interview is more difficult to train for.

4. You need help on aptitude tests

Many large companies use online aptitude tests to filter out candidates who lack the technical, analytical or conceptual skills for the role. If you’re failing tests, you may want to get help from an expert in that field (e.g. a math coach) rather than an interview coach, as they’ll probably be better placed to teach you the necessary skills.

Are you ready to ace your interview?

If you have a job interview coming up and you don’t want to leave anything to chance, we’d highly recommend considering an interview coach, either on our platform or one of the other many good interview coaching websites out there.

Not only will it help you nail your interviews, but it’s a great way to improve your communication skills and self-confidence, benefits which will have a lasting impact on your career.

We work with over 200 highly experienced coaches on our platform. Browse them and see whose profile fits what you’re looking for. Coaches only need 12 hours' notice to be booked, so you could start practicing as early as today.