Coach Giving Encouragement --- Image by © Kevin Dodge/Corbis

Coach Giving Encouragement — Image by © Kevin Dodge/Corbis

Throughout your academic career, teachers, instructors, and faculty have given you feedback on your performance on tests, projects, and presentations. This feedback took the form of grades, written comments, or verbal critiques. If you did not understand their feedback, you knew you could ask for additional information and advice on how to improve.

When you interview for a job the only feedback you get is “you’re hired” or “we hired someone else”. In fact, there are times employers don’t even bother to let you know you did not get the job. Many new graduates, expecting employers to act like educators, will call and ask for advice on how they could have done a better job interviewing. They are upset when an employer declines to provide that information and ask me why, after spending hours preparing for an interview, the interviewer won’t provide a critique. Employers don’t provide feedback for numerous reasons; most have to do with concerns over being sued.

Instead of thinking of an interview as an academic assignment where you do your best, get feedback, learn from your mistakes, and improve on your next assignment, think of an interview as an athletic competition. Even if you have never participated in a team sport, you probably understand the concept of getting ready for “the big game.” Players practice the skills they need to be competitive and their coach provides feedback during practice. Using this model for understanding an interview, focus on practicing your interview skills, have a coach provide feedback, and then go into the interview knowing this is “the big game,” not part of the process of improving your skills.

How do you find an interview coach? Of course, we think you should check out our services. We have developed a system designed specifically for college students, recent college graduates, and those seeking their first professional position. Another option is using your network to connect with a Human Resources professional or someone who has hired employees in your field and ask them to coach you. Whatever your choice, prepare for each interview with the same intensity as a winning football prepares for competition.

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