Hiring an interview coach is just the first step.

Interviewing for jobs can be tricky, stressful, and sometimes outright demoralizing. Luckily, you decided to hire an interview coach to help you prepare and deal with any interview anxiety you might have. But finding an interview coach is only the first step. To get the most out of your interview-coaching sessions, there are a few things you, as the client, should keep in mind. An interview coach is ultimately your guide; you are the one who needs to put in work to achieve job-search success.

So, what should you do? Here are seven simple tips to help you out: 

1. Avoid scheduling conflicts

Consult your calendar and set up times with your interview coach that work for you, adding each appointment to your calendar and setting reminders so you're sure to remember. Also, block off about 15-20 minutes beforehand to mentally prepare for your session, as well as after the session to have a buffer in case you run over time.

2. Eliminate distractions

If you're being constantly distracted or interrupted by outside forces, you won't be able to reap the benefits of your interview session. Find a place that's quiet, clutter-free, and well-lit to have your interview-coaching session. Turn off any electronics, mute your mobile devices, and make sure your roommates or family members know to keep it down during your call. If you have pets, make sure they're safely hanging out in another room.  

If your home isn't a great option, consider going to the public library and using one of their study rooms. This is also great practice for any virtual interviews you may have in the future.  

3. Figure out what you're looking to get from your sessions 

What do you want your coach to help you with? Are “yeah” and “um” unavoidable additions to your vocabulary when speaking with someone new? Is your body language all over the place? Your coach will be able to identify any interview quirks you might have, but if you already have an idea of where you need improvement, don't be afraid to share. The more information your coach has about you, the easier it will be to help you. 

4. Come prepared with specific questions to ask 

Make a list of any burning interview questions you have about different types of interviews or the interview process as a whole. What expert advice do you want? Is there something about interviewing that always perplexed you? Now is your time to ask questions — you don't want to be unsure when face-to-face with a prospective employer.

5. Go into your session with an open mind 

Interviewing is a deeply personal activity. Not only do you have to put yourself in the spotlight for a stranger, but you have to talk about yourself in a way that isn't too braggy, but also highlights why you're the right choice for the job — that's tough. That said, it's easy to get defensive when receiving criticism and talking about your interview weaknesses. But don't block yourself off from accepting feedback and being a little bit vulnerable. Trust that your interview coach is there to help you, not hurt you; their only ulterior motive is to see you succeed in your career.  

6. Treat your session like a real interview

At some point in your interview-coaching sessions, you will complete a mock interview. But just because it's “not for real” doesn't mean you should brush it off. By and large, you should treat these sessions like they are the real deal. That means doing your research and coming prepared to talk about yourself. Your interview coach can't help you if you don't take the session seriously.

Also, as if you were preparing for a video interview, download any necessary software (or updates) ahead of time and test the equipment. It's important to do a test-run with a friend to familiarize yourself with the process and get the setup just right, including volume and the positioning of the camera. 

7. Understand that interview coaching is a partnership

Interview coaching is a partnership; you need to give just as much as you get. Like a trainer in a gym, your interview coach will provide you with the framework you need to succeed — but your coach can't go in and interview on your behalf. Instead, they can provide you with the exercises, techniques and — most importantly — confidence, you need to improve your interview performance. At the end of the day, your coach will support you in this process, rooting for you from the sidelines as you move forward towards interview success.

Help make your interview-coaching sessions effective by following these tips, and you can expect interview success. 

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