In a highly competitive job market, interview coaching can ensure you rise above the rest.

According to a 2019 Jobvite study, an average of 250 candidates apply for each job listing. However, that was 2019, and the world — and workforce — has taken a downward turn since then due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, the unemployment rate is the highest it's been since the Great Depression, which means it's safe to assume that there will be significantly more than 250 applicants per job opportunity. Add to that the fact that many companies have reduced — or even frozen — their hiring, and the job market has become significantly more competitive.

Now more than ever, it's essential that you stand out in every aspect of your job search, from your resume to the phone screen to your face-to-face interview (virtual or not). With so few opportunities available, you have to make the most of every chance you get.

Possibly your greatest advantage in the endeavor to stand out amongst a crowded applicant pool is the help of a professional interview coach. The following are some of the ways that interview coaching can be your secret weapon for success in a competitive job market.

You'll know what the interviewer is looking for

One of the most frustrating aspects of job interviews is that sometimes, you just can't tell what the employer is after. You're not sure why you're being asked a question and, therefore, you aren't sure how to tailor your response. But unfortunately, not directly addressing the concerns of the interviewer could mean the end of your candidacy.

Working with a professional coach takes much of the mystery out of interviewing. At TopInterview, our coaches have spent years as HR workers and recruiters, so they know what it's like to be on the other side of the table. You'll receive valuable insight into the mindset, methods, and motivations of interviewers, bringing you clarity about what interviewers are really looking for when they ask you questions like “Tell me about yourself” (hint: It's not your life story).

Your competition won't have the advantage of understanding the hiring manager's point of view, so they may well remain confused while you speak directly to the interviewer's needs.

You'll show your value

With hiring reductions and freezes being a go-to method for companies to survive this time, those organizations that are hiring are going to be pickier than ever when evaluating candidates. There's no room for risk, so they need to know that whoever they bring in to the company is going to contribute positively.

The interview is your chance to show that you would not just be a good employee — you would be an impactful one. To do this effectively requires practice and thorough preparation. You'll need to identify which of your notable accomplishments are relevant to the role you're after and articulate them clearly and confidently — no small feat.

A professional interview coach will go through that process with you, picking out the parts of your career history to emphasize and explaining why they're important. Then, in your mock interview, you'll be able to practice how you can incorporate those selling points into responses.

While you can't anticipate exactly what an interviewer is going to ask, walking in knowing which details of your experience you want to bring up will ensure that you take advantage of any opportunity to show your true value.

You'll prevent avoidable mistakes

Slip-ups are natural, but some mistakes are avoidable — and impactful. Now, with so many applicants and so few job opportunities, the margin for error in your interview is almost nonexistent. If there are flaws in your interviewing technique, they could now be the difference between an offer letter and a longer job search — the last thing you want is to land an interview for a job that could really be The One, only to make an unforgivable flub that could have been avoided with some instruction.

Frustratingly, identifying those flaws on your own can be challenging or even impossible; if you knew what was wrong, surely you would have fixed it already! The expert eye of an interview coach can point out your missteps — both obvious and subtle — and guide you in how to improve. By preventing avoidable mistakes from interfering in your interview, you can make the most of every opportunity and give yourself the best chance every time.

You'll boost your confidence

Interviews always come with nerves. Unfortunately, the current job market has only raised the stakes, and it's understandable that your interview anxiety may be intensified. And yet, it's still essential that you perform at your best.

Preparation is the key to interview confidence. Even better, however, is preparation that's been led by an expert.

When you work with a professional interview coach, you get more than a mock interview and detailed feedback; you also get a confidence boost. From knowing what to expect when you enter the interview to knowing you can effectively communicate your value with ease, expert coaching can help you feel more secure in every interview you attend, which means you'll perform better.

At a time when standing out from the crowd seems like a lost cause, bringing confidence into your high-stakes interview can set you apart from the rest.

Land the job, no matter the competition

There's no doubt that these are unprecedented times, and the workforce is just one of the areas of life that have been drastically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you're searching for a job, the odds may be against you — but that doesn't mean you won't land a new role.

As you conduct your job search in this extra-competitive environment, it's important to utilize every advantage that comes your way. That includes enlisting the help of a professional coach. With new confidence and preparation, you'll be able to impress an interviewer and show them exactly why you're the candidate to invest in.

Before the pandemic hit, you were ready to fight off 249 other applicants. When armed with expert guidance, training, and resources, what's a few more?

Ready to rise above your competition? Learn more about working with a professional interview coach.

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