28 September 2011

Canberra job search / interview coaches?

| taninaus
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The time has come to aspire to the next level up the chain and my interview skills are a bit rusty – I am after a good coach to help me with interview techniques so I blitz the interview panel(s).

Has anyone used these services and have any suggestions of companies or individuals that they have found helpful for this?

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OzBroz said :

I highly rate Cameron and Associates, $$$ but great and you can use the skills learnt over and over.

I also agree that if you go for interview, any interview, go and get feedback (regardless if you get the job or not), ask for the honest truth and learn that way.

Good Luck!

The honest truth might hurt. I’ve interviewed quite a few recent grads with straight Distinction and High Distinction academic records who appear to have not absorbed a single thing during 4 years at uni. Being able to only answer 4 or 5 questions during a 90 minute technical interview leads me to conclude that these people are imbeciles who engage in a lot of “excessive collaboration”, as the ANU so nicely puts it.

I’m so weary of hearing these clowns say “Well…I did a unit on that…but I can’t remember anything about it…sorry”.

The honest truth I would give them is that they need to go back to uni, do the degree again, and pay attention the second time around.

I highly rate Cameron and Associates, $$$ but great and you can use the skills learnt over and over.

I also agree that if you go for interview, any interview, go and get feedback (regardless if you get the job or not), ask for the honest truth and learn that way.

Good Luck!

Thanks for the suggestions all. My challenge is I am often on the other side of the table but being the interviewee is totally different. I agree re Villers book, it has been my bible for a long time and has helped get me to interview stage many times.

That’s interesting that Villiers is doing face to face coaching. Her book has been popular since at least the last 80s (and it’s a lot more digestable than What Colour Is My Parachute?).

And to add to the advice to pause and think before launching into your answer, a good way to do it is to write the question down! Clear this with the panel at the start, but this keeps you on track, and gives you breathing space before you tackle the question.

I recommend Dr Ann Villiers – google her. She’s not only an interview coach but wrote the book on selection criteria, one of the bibles of the public service

I used her twice before interviews, and got the job each time (and when i didn’t use interview coaching, success generally eluded me).

krats is right – tell them what they want to hear. Don’t listen to people who advise you to relax, be yourself, and wing it. This only really works in the private sector, where people are hired on gut instinct rather than complicated, often archaic and bureaucratic ritual which preferences conformity and insider behaviour, as is the case in the public service. I’ve been told the more meaningless jargon from the APSC’s ‘integrated leadership system’ you spout the better, though I could never bring myself to do this because I am not an automaton.

Three other bits of advice – try and anticipate questions, and think about how you’d respond to each one; prepare a ‘salespitch’ focusing on what makes you a unique candidate and what you’d bring to the job, and come back to this time and time again so it sinks into the panel’s subconscious; try not to waffle, answer questions as succinctly as possible, and try to think before speaking (harder than it sounds). Also – don’t disheartened by rejections – think of it as good practice for the next interview. And by all means get a coach, it will really maximise your chances

The other thing I would add is that if this is a gov position then most will have a work level standard you can review. This is usually a detailed list of behaviours that are expected at each level. By reviewing this before you do your application and attend the interview you can have examples ready that demonstrate the capabilities for the right level.

If the organisation doesn’t have a work level standard or it is not very detailed then consider reviewing the ILS (intergrated leadership system) for the level you are applying for. It also doesn’t hurt to consider the level above that too.

Sorry if I am telling you things you already know.

Good luck it is never easy to put oneself out there in the interview process.

If you haven’t had to do panel interviews for a while then using a coach is a good idea. Before you pay top dollar ask around. HR dept often have organisations they use to help with coaching and ‘career transition coaching’ for people that are being moved on. You could get recommendation that way.

The other option is to go for other jobs and use them to get back in the interview groove before you go for the one you really want.

Canberra is awash with ‘coaches’ so do your homework and ask lots of questions.

Free hot tip- take in notes. Don’t try to do the whole thing from memory because it doesn’t work. Notes are your friend and I have been complimented for making good use of them (ie, not reading directly from them) in my last two successful promotions.

You want to visit the Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA) website. Click on ‘Find a Career Practitioner’, pop in your postcode, and it will give you a list of career counsellors and organisations, all of which will put you in touch with someone who at least has a Cert IV in Career Development.

As my dear old dad used to say.”Just tell em what they want to hear” and you will do fine.

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