We would like to introduce you to Nick D., one of our TopInterview coaches.
Meet Nick D., one of our expert interview coaches who, after two years with TopInterview, has assisted clients from all over the world, helping them overcome their interview fears, nail their elevator pitches, and land their dream jobs at every stage of their career. By the end of 2019, he will have coached and educated more than 500 individuals and conducted well over 600 unique interview sessions.
Nick holds a bachelor's degree in Economics, an MBA in Finance, and possesses more than 25 years of experience, ranging in roles from executive and managerial to individual contributor roles. Over the course of his career, he has cultivated extensive expertise in the hiring and interviewing processes for a wide array of industries both domestic and international, thanks to his time living abroad in mainland China.
We sat down with Nick to learn more about him, the clients he's helped, and to get some of his best interview advice. Check it out!
Thanks for joining us, Nick! Excited to chat. Let's dive right in. What do people struggle most with when they come to you for interview help?
People, in general, are afraid of interviews. They don't know what to expect. They're unprepared, so they want help, reassurance, and, most importantly, to know how to prepare going forward. A specific issue I come across is the client being unable to articulate their career story and how it has prepared them for their next role in an hour-long interview conversation. Many of my clients are also self-sabotaging. They go to interview after interview and can't figure out why they don't land the job. This is what I help people avoid and coach them through.
What types of people have you come across?
I work with customers of all ages — from recent graduates to CEOs with 30 years of experience. I've had customers from all over the world: Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. They range from experienced professionals to highly technical people to even scientists who are recognized all over the world for their accomplishments. I have also had many clients who are service members transitioning from the military or seeking a new role within their careers.
After working with over 600 job seekers, I bet you've had a ton of great stories. Can you share some of your favorite success stories?
Interview coaching can be a huge time saver for my clients. I recently worked with a woman who possessed a great resume, brilliant technical background, received plenty of employer calls, went to over 25 interviews, and did not receive a single job offer. We worked together and at the end of the next week, she had a job offer. It sounds like a miracle! However, in each interview, she was badmouthing her current boss without even realizing it. Once she corrected that behavior, she was able to secure a position.
I also worked with a client who was looking for a position in Kenya, Africa. What's great about TopInterview is that it works for anyone, domestic and international. He was a civil rights lawyer, and the organization he was interested in, The Council of Jurors, a global organization that promotes human rights, was looking for an Executive Director for the country of Kenya. He had not held an executive role before, so he really needed to get the interview right. We went through three sessions: I told him the kinds of questions he should expect, we walked through them, he practiced, and then he sent me an email two weeks later saying he received the job offer and accepted it. I love that, even if only in a small way, I actually participated in driving human rights for an entire country because I helped someone who's dedicated to serving the people and seeing the rule of law enforced secure this job. It makes me feel very gratified.
Why have you found interview coaching to be rewarding?
First off, I get to meet fantastic people from all over the world while also using expertise from my background. I was an executive for many years, and now I leverage that experience to help coach young people to get their first job, to help my peers, and, more importantly, to help people who have been out of the workforce, or who might be intimidated, be able to go back into the workforce and secure a job.
Where in a professional's career is interview coaching most helpful?
Anytime you want to secure a job is a good time to invest in interview coaching. Why do I say that? Because it's an investment in yourself. I wouldn't be my own lawyer, I wouldn't do my own taxes — it's for the same reason. You're preparing for an event that could seriously impact your life and if you go in there trying to wing it or you don't understand the process, you will fail. The expense of coaching is very small compared to what you lose spending months and months out of work because you're not sure what you're doing.
What makes interview coaching better than researching online and figuring it out yourself?
There's a lot of information on the internet, you can spend dozens of hours looking through videos, reading articles, and trying to figure out what's inaccurate and useless versus what's valuable. But a TopInterview coach has already done that for you. There's so much bad advice out there. For serious roles, you have to know the answers, you can't bluff your way through. You want an expert who can save you time and energy. Each opportunity is different, you want to be prepared, and it's so much easier having someone who knows what they're doing help you instead of spending hours and hours trying to figure it out on your own.
What is the number 1 piece of advice you'd give to someone who has just scheduled an interview?
Read the job description. Know every element; memorize it if you can because all the questions will come from that document. If you don't know the job description, you're not going to be successful.
Any essential interviewing tips readers need to know?
Where people fail is that they spend too much time talking about their past jobs. Interviews are forward-looking. The one thing you have to be able to articulate is not what you did in the past, but what you're going to be able to do for this company tomorrow. People are so prepared to talk about what they did at each past job that they don't have any way or thought process about what they're going to do in their first 90 days. Focus on “If I had this job, what am I doing in my first 30, 60, 90 days? How am I adding value? Why should you give me this job?” When you start thinking in this manner, you elevate your chance for success. As an employer, if I am going to hire you, I want to know if you're going to be able to execute within the role.
Any final interviewing advice you'd like to leave job seekers with?
Understand when you go into the interview, it is not a welcoming process — it's an elimination process. The interviewers will have five or more candidates they're talking to and will only need one. You want to be sure that you're prepared, that you're watching what you say, and that you're always positive. Self-confidence is very important; you can't say things like “I hope you give me a chance, I'd really like to work here.” “Hope” is not a business strategy. “Like” is not a business strategy. You want to portray that you're the best candidate for the role. It doesn't matter if you don't meet 100% of the qualifications; it's not the smartest person nor the person with the most degrees who gets the job, it's the last person left in the interview process.
People will self-eliminate themselves. The interviewer is not your career counselor or best friend, so don't talk about personal issues or negatively about a former employer.
The less you talk, the better. The shorter, more concise your answers, and the more questions you answer, the better off you are because they will know you and your skillset better. It's all about your skills and ability to execute the job; leave personality traits and former work history behind. Only use relevant examples and don't discuss your workplace relationships.
Being prepared is essential. An interview is very serious. The candidate is being evaluated for a job that can change their life. Thus, they should invest in our program because it's an investment in themselves and their future. Mistakes are very costly in time, opportunity, and income.
Want a chance to work with Nick — or one of our other extremely qualified interview coaches? Let's get started.