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Career Coaching Advice: What Every Candidate Should Know

Updated: Feb 10

by Stephanie Bickel

career coaching

The job market has become more competitive, no doubt. Candidates find themselves searching for compelling ways to demonstrate they are the obvious choice. Experience and knowledge need to be showcased in a way that separates them from other candidates. And, more often than not, they are participating in an interview over the computer.

It can be challenging enough to stay confident and poised as you are being peppered with questions. Put yourself in the best position to ace the interview.

Act with integrity. Respect your interviewer. Leave a positive impression.

If someone thinks you are taking short cuts or trying to scam the system, believe us, they will find out. Here are tips that every candidate should remember if they find themselves interviewing for their dream job. Or, any job, for that matter.

1. Be transparent.

Does your resume say you are employed, but you are not? Make sure you update each person in the interview process if they do not have the most updated version. If you are not up front, the employer may realize that your values do not align with theirs and turn you down.

2. Trust your main contact.

Your main contact can be your greatest ally when you are trying to get through the interview process. If you think you can go around your contact to get different information, they will find out. If you think you can try to start the interview process over by interviewing with recruiters from other locations within the same company, they will find out.

3. Confirm a sponsor before you start the interview process.

If you are going up for a promotion with the same company, always find someone that is willing to sponsor you. If you do well in an interview, but fail to get someone to speak about you on your behalf, HR may have to stop the process or turn you down on that aspect alone. A sponsor could be your manager or another senior leader that you worked with on a project.

4. Have a candid conversation with your current manager or professional development leader if interviewing within the same organization.

You need to know where you stand. If you are led to believe you are performing above the bar, schedule a quick check-in with the person that conducts your reviews to confirm it. Make sure their recommendations would be in line with how you perceive your performance. You can also ask for some helpful tips on what they think will help you get the job.

5. If you get an offer, be reasonable with compensation.

You went back to school to get your MBA and reapplied at the same company. You received an offer, but it does not match the compensation and benefits you were hoping for. Organizations usually have worked through many formulas to find a fair range for your services. If you negotiate too hard, you my find yourself in a position where the interviewer thinks you are not a great fit for the company anymore.

6. Give the interviewer a chance to explain “why”.

For those candidates out there who have a wealth of previous experience, give recruiters a chance to explain their employment models. Sometimes you may have to start out in an entry level position even though your skill set would indicate otherwise. This is not a negative about you, it is just how things work at different companies. Instead, focus on how you can move up the career ladder quickly, given your credentials.

7. Respond constructively to feedback.

If an interviewer gives you feedback that you did not get a job for a particular reason, do not dismiss it and respond with, “I know I am qualified, it is because of a client conflict, isn’t it?”. You are not doing yourself any favors to change their mind in hopes to get an offer. Focus on your shortcomings and use that knowledge for your next interview.

8. Avoid discussions about political or social issues.

An interview is not the time or place to ask personal opinions about political or social issues. So many recent events have polarized our nation and you are taking a chance on alienating your interviewer. Organizations may send our press releases in response to current events. Ask if you can take a look at those to get the overall perspective of the company.

Respect your interviewer.

Act with integrity.

Leave a positive, lasting impression.

People want to work with those they get along with and like. Don’t get defensive or combative. Only rely on the qualities that showcase you the best!

When you let your positive attributes shine, you will become the obvious choice.


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