• How to Prepare for Case Study Questions in a Project Management Interview

    As an interview coach with over 8 years of experience preparing candidates for project management roles, I have come across my fair share of case study questions. These questions, often presented in the form of real-world scenarios, are a critical part of the interview process. They are designed to push candidates out of their comfort zones, testing their problem-solving, decision-making, and leadership abilities. Throughout the last decade, I have helped numerous candidates approach these case studies effectively, enabling them to showcase their skills and secure their desired roles. Today, I’m excited to share these strategies with you, helping you understand and excel in answering case study questions during project management interviews.

    Understand the Purpose

    Before we delve into techniques to tackle case study questions, it’s crucial to understand why employers use them in interviews. Essentially, these questions provide the interviewer with insights into how you approach problem-solving, manage resources, handle conflicts, and make decisions under pressure. They are designed to reveal your project management skills in action, your practical experience, and your strategic thinking abilities.

    Step 1: Comprehend the Case

    When presented with a case study, the first thing to do is to thoroughly understand it. You are typically given a situation with a problem or challenge that you must solve. Make sure to take your time to read it carefully. If something isn’t clear, ask for clarification. This not only shows your attention to detail but also your commitment to understanding the task at hand fully. Remember that in project management, clarifying ambiguities is a key skill.

    Step 2: Identify the Key Issues

    Once you’ve understood the case study, the next step is to identify the key issues or problems within the case. These are the issues that you will need to address in your answer. It’s essential to remain focused on the most pressing concerns and avoid being side-tracked by minor details. Draw upon your past experiences and apply your project management knowledge to isolate the core problems.

    Step 3: Analyze the Issues

    After identifying the main issues, it’s time to dive deeper. Analyze the problems, considering their causes and implications. Think about how these issues could impact the project’s scope, budget, or timeline. Employ the various project management tools and methodologies you know. This could involve a SWOT analysis, risk assessment, or stakeholder analysis. Show that you can think critically about complex issues and are capable of managing the uncertainties.

    Step 4: Develop Your Strategy

    Now, it’s time to develop a strategy to address these issues. Here, you should demonstrate your ability to devise and implement a feasible plan of action. Remember to prioritize the tasks based on their urgency and impact. Think about the resources you have at your disposal and how they can be used most effectively. Discuss contingency plans to show your understanding of risk management. Highlight the steps you’d take to maintain open communication and ensure stakeholder satisfaction throughout the project.

    Step 5: Communicate Your Approach

    This is your chance to shine as you articulate your proposed solution. Your communication skills are under the spotlight here. Be clear, concise, and structured in your response. Break down your strategy into understandable steps, explaining the logic behind each decision. This is also an opportunity to demonstrate your leadership and team management skills – how you’d delegate tasks, motivate your team, or handle conflicts.

    Step 6: Reflect on Your Answer

    After you’ve presented your solution, it’s beneficial to take a moment to reflect on it. Consider possible outcomes, both positive and negative. Discuss what you might do differently in hindsight or how you’d handle potential problems that could arise from your strategy. This shows that you’re open to feedback and are continually striving for improvement – both valuable traits in a project manager.

    In conclusion, successfully answering case study questions in a project management interview requires a blend of analytical thinking, practical knowledge, strategic planning, and strong communication skills. Keep in mind that these case studies are less about arriving at the ‘correct’ solution and more about demonstrating your thought process, problem-solving capabilities, and leadership skills.

    Final Tips: Practice Makes Perfect

    Just as with any other skill, the key to mastering case study questions is practice. Prior to your interview, consider finding some example case studies online and practicing your approach. You can also practice with a friend or mentor and ask for feedback. Remember to reflect upon your performance and identify areas for improvement.

    Embrace Real-world Experience

    It’s important to note that real-world experience significantly contributes to your ability to answer case study questions effectively. The more you’ve faced and resolved actual project challenges, the more comfortable you’ll be with case scenarios. So, consider every project you undertake as a learning opportunity to enhance your problem-solving skills.

    Don’t Forget Soft Skills

    Lastly, don’t underestimate the importance of soft skills. Throughout the case study discussion, showcase your communication, leadership, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills. This is your chance to show that you can not only manage projects but also lead teams effectively.

    In the end, the primary goal of a case study question in a project management interview is to showcase your skills, knowledge, and experience as a project manager. By understanding the case, identifying and analyzing key issues, developing a strategy, communicating your approach, and reflecting on your answer, you demonstrate your value as a capable and well-rounded project manager.

    Remember, there might not always be a ‘right’ answer, but there is always a ‘right’ approach: one that reveals your ability to think analytically, plan strategically, communicate effectively, and lead confidently. Equip yourself with these strategies and approach your next project management interview with confidence!

    If you have an upcoming Project Management interview and would like to prepare in advance, get in touch today we can have a short discovery call to discuss your goals and expectations, create a road map for your tailored sessions and strengthen your core skills to show in the interview.

  • “HELP! The last time I had an Interview was 15 years ago!”

    Recently, I had a client who had been working in the same company for the last 15 years and her last interview was in 2007. Now looking for a new adventure, she started to feel overwhelmed with how the hiring process had shifted in the past decade and sought out help navigating this new normal.

    For many of my clients, the hiring cycle and jumping from business to business is stroll in the park and they come to me to get guidance on structuring the answers, having a second opinion and rehearsing for the big day. The are familiar with the new processes, technologies and approaches but for others the evolution of the job hunt is alien and confusing.

    It so much more than putting on your best business attire, printing out a stack of resumes, and venturing into an office where you’d share a handshake with a potential employer. The past decade has radically transformed this conventional narrative. So, if you haven’t interviewed for a job in a while, this article is a must read so get ready to download your interview 2.0 update!

    From Face-to-Face to Screen-to-Screen

    One of the most significant shifts in the job interview landscape over the past ten years is the move towards digital interviews. As high-speed internet and advanced communication technologies became ubiquitous, companies started utilizing tools like Skype, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams for their hiring processes. This trend was further accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing even the most traditional companies to adapt to this virtual reality.

    Going digital might seem simple enough – just sit in front of a camera, right? Wrong. The absence of physical presence means you need to put extra effort into showing your personality and enthusiasm. Remember, you’re no longer in a room where you can use your full range of body language.

    You can do this by reaching out to coaches or mentors and practice using these tools as you develop your answers to the interview questions, record the screen and take note of the lighting, position of your face and body in the camera as well as what is going on in the background. Also experimenting with the audio functions and making sure that your microphone is working well. If there is static or interference then changing your microphone could make a huge difference and help the interviewer hear you better.  

    How AI Is Changing the Game

    Artificial intelligence (AI) has also made its way into the interview process. Companies use AI-powered algorithms to sift through resumes, looking for keywords and quantifiable achievements that match their ideal candidate profile. Some even use AI during the actual interview, like HireVue, which evaluates candidate responses, speech patterns, and facial cues.

    This might seem a bit disconcerting, and you’re not wrong. Preparing for an AI interview is different. You’ll need to focus on using industry-specific language and relevant keywords. You also need to maintain a professional demeanor even if you’re just talking to a machine. Practice recording yourself answering to a list of questions at your computer and watch it back to see if you have any bad habits such as filler words erm, ah, like etc. as well as if you’re smiling or frowning while speaking. Getting a friend or coach to review these too will help you see an alternative perspective.

    The Rise of the Behavioral Interview

    Another significant shift in the interview process is the widespread adoption of behavioral interviewing techniques. Instead of focusing solely on your qualifications and professional experience, interviewers want to know how you’ve handled specific situations in the past. They believe that your past behavior is the best indicator of your future performance.

    When preparing for a behavioral interview, consider situations where you demonstrated skills like problem-solving, leadership, or conflict resolution. Use the HCCARR method (Headline, Context, Challenge, Action, Result and Reflection) to structure your responses. Click this link to find out more about this model.

    The Importance of Cultural Fit

    More and more companies are prioritizing cultural fit in their hiring decisions. Interviewers aren’t just evaluating your skills; they’re also assessing whether your values, work style, and personality align with the company’s culture. This can make interviews feel more personal, but it also presents an opportunity to showcase your uniqueness and how it complements the team.

    So, What’s Next?

    If you haven’t interviewed in a while, these changes may seem daunting. However, with the right preparation, you can navigate this new landscape successfully.

    • Brush Up on Your Tech Skills: Make sure you’re comfortable with video conferencing software and digital communication tools. Practice maintaining eye contact with the camera, not your screen, and ensure you have a quiet, professional-looking background.
    • Keyword-Optimize Your Resume: Make your resume AI-friendly by including relevant keywords and industry-specific language. Use quantifiable achievements to demonstrate your value.
    • Prepare for Behavioral Questions: Think about past experiences that showcase your skills and abilities. Use the STAR method to structure your responses.
    • Research the Company Culture: Look at the company’s website, social media, and employer review sites to get a sense of their culture. During the interview, highlight aspects of your personality and work style that align with this culture.

    While the world of job interviews has changed dramatically over the past decade, the demonstrating your value, and making a connection with potential employers. These new trends merely offer different ways to do that. So, embrace the change, prepare accordingly, and remember: the goal is still the same. You’re there to show them why you’re the best person for the job.

    The interview process might be evolving, but it’s an evolution that invites candidates to present their authentic selves in more diverse ways. That’s an opportunity worth exploring. So, dust off that resume, polish up your digital communication skills, and step confidently into the future of job interviews.

    If you’d like to find out how Interview Coaching can help you get a head start above the rest, book a free discovery call with me today and together we can map out a tailored plan for your next success.

  • The 8 Most Common Behavioral Interview Mistakes and How to Avoid Making Them Like a Pro

    If you’ve clicked on this article, chances are you’re preparing for a job interview or just want to up your interview game. We all know how nerve-wracking interviews can be, especially when it comes to answering those tricky behavioral questions. But don’t worry, I’ve got your back! In this must-read post, I’ll share the 8 most common mistakes candidates make when answering behavioral questions in interviews and how you can avoid them like a pro. So, let’s dive right in!

    Unraveling the Purpose of Behavioral Questions:

    First things first, let’s understand why interviewers even ask these questions. Their main goal is to assess your past behavior, skills, and experiences, and see how they align with the job you’re applying for. So, don’t be caught off guard—while planning your answers before, think about the profile of the candidate they are looking for. What skills and values would they like to see in that person and tailor your answers to cover some of these points. Think about how your message could be misinterpreted and clarify your answer with as much context and details as possible.

    Be the STAR of Your Interview:

    OK, if you’ve been reading my blogs you will know that I don’t use the STAR model but a slightly enhanced version of it called HCCARR (Headline, Context, Challenge, Action, Result and Reflection) But at the very least if STAR is what you are working with use it. The most important thing is to have a consistent structure through your answers and learn the framework, that way if they throw you a curveball question that you haven’t prepared for at least your answer with be well-laid out and logical. If you’d like to know more about my HCCARR model click here for that article.

    Your Unique Story Matters:

    Nobody likes clichés, and your interviewer is no exception. Ditch the generic responses and instead share specific examples from your unique experiences. This will help you stand out and leave a lasting impression. Generic answers do not prove anything, they are the perfect example but when do we ever have perfect situations at work. Instead, think of a real life task you worked on which best fits the question. Concentrate on the hows and whys of your actions over the whats. The rest of the other candidates will answer a chronological list of tasks they did but you will stand out as the interviewer will better understand the reasoning and logic of your actions.

    A Little Research Goes a Long Way:

    Take the time to research the company and the role you’re applying for. Tailor your responses to showcase how your skills and experiences align with the company’s values and job requirements. Wikipedia is a great start, but it is just that, the start. Move onto Googling news articles about the company and possibly product or department you will be working with. Check out the careers page on their website, whatever the company places here is what they want you to know and even their social media posts such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. This will give you a more familiar feel to what is happening with the company and will demonstrate you have gone above and beyond in your research prep.

    Stay Positive, Stay Professional:

    Remember, bad-mouthing your past employer or colleagues is a big no-no. Focus on the positives and the lessons learned from your experiences. This will show your professionalism and ability to learn from the past. At the very least avoid talking about others as the interviewer is not interviewing them instead focus on yourself and try to shine light on what makes you the best choice for the role.

    Know Thyself:

    Self-awareness is key when it comes to interviews. Reflect on your experiences, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and be ready to discuss them in a thoughtful and balanced manner. Your interviewer will appreciate your honesty and growth mindset. Sometimes we have to answer about bad experiences or when things went wrong, make sure that you have a happy ending to the answer, a moment where you were able to self develop and apply your new learnings into a future project. Additionally, don’t assign blame outside find a way to share the burden of blame and concentrate on how what you did, helped improve the outcome.

    Keep It Short and Sweet:

    Rambling is a surefire way to lose your interviewer’s attention. Practice delivering clear, concise, and well-structured answers. If you find yourself straying off course, pause, take a deep breath, and refocus on the key points you want to convey. Planning is essential, write out the answer in full sentences as if you were making a script, but don’t learn it as a script, each time you recall the answer it should be slightly different to make sure you don’t sound robotic or monotone, if you forget 20% of what you wanted to say, don’t worry! They don’t know what you wrote and will think that what you said was perfect.

    Practice Makes Perfect:

    The secret ingredient? Practice, practice, practice! Seek feedback from an interview coach, friends, or family to fine-tune your responses and build confidence. Record yourself on your computer or phone to listen to your responses, I know we all hate listening to ourselves speak but focus on the content of what you’re saying and not how you sound. Try to get rid of bad habits such as filler words like “erm”, “like”, “right?” etc.

    Now that you’re armed with these tips, you’re ready to tackle those behavioral questions and shine in your interview. However, if you’d like some extra support in your interview preparation, I highly recommend getting in touch with me at www.interviewcoach.me where you can book a free discovery call to help you up your interview game and achieve success. So why wait? I look forward to hearing from you.

  • Supercharge Your Job Hunt With Agile Principles: Your Secret Weapon in a Competitive Market

    Are you on the hunt for a new job, but finding the process more exhausting than expected? Well, we’ve got a powerful, yet unexpected, tool for you to add to your job-seeking arsenal – Agile project management principles. Methodologies used by teams worldwide to streamline their work processes can also be used to supercharge your job search. So let’s dive into how you can apply Agile principles to land your dream job.

    Unleash the Power of Iterations

    Let’s start by thinking of your job hunt as a project. In this project, there are many tasks, such as updating your CV, networking, researching companies, applying for jobs, and preparing for interviews. Now, instead of seeing the job hunt as one big, daunting task, let’s break it down into smaller, manageable tasks. Agile project management does this through iterations, or sprints, focusing on accomplishing specific goals within these sprints. By breaking the whole task into bite-sized more manageable task you will be able to ensure that each element gets your full attention and dedication, focus on one step as they come and plan out an achievable deadline for the whole project.

    Adapt and Conquer

    One of the key strengths of Agile is its adaptability. The job market is dynamic, and new opportunities can arise unexpectedly. Agile is all about adjusting to changes without derailing the entire process. If you get feedback on your CV, if a promising job posting appears mid-week, or if your dream company suddenly has an open position, be ready to shift gears and adapt your strategy. Remember, change isn’t an obstacle in Agile; it’s an opportunity for better outcomes.

    The Value of Continuous Improvement

    In the Agile world, there’s a practice called a “retrospective” where teams reflect on what went well and what could be improved after each sprint. Why not adopt the same for your job hunt? Regularly evaluate your job search strategy. What’s working for you? What isn’t? Perhaps you’re getting callbacks from smaller companies but not the bigger ones. Or maybe your cover letters for marketing roles are more successful than the ones for sales roles. By continuously reviewing your process and learning from your experiences, you can adapt your approach and increase your chances of success.

    Team Up and Collaborate

    Agile is all about teamwork and collaboration. Applying to jobs doesn’t have to be a solitary task. Leverage your network, join job hunting groups, share leads, and insights with peers. Seek advice from an Interview or Career Coach their encouragement and support can make the process less overwhelming and more productive. Helping you refocus your attention, spot areas you’ve missed or inspire you with new directions and approaches. If you were working on a project at work, you would expect to take on the whole thing without the collaboration of others so why do the same with your job hunt?

    Prioritize Like a Pro

    In Agile project management, tasks are often organized by priority. It’s time to bring this strategy to your job hunt. Prioritize tasks that are most likely to get you closer to your goal. Maybe that’s applying for a job with a looming deadline or preparing for an interview. As you complete tasks, re-evaluate and adjust your priorities as needed. Using an online tool such as Asana or ClickUp can help you draw a visual timeline with tasks that can be checked off and motivate you toward your goal with a progress counter to completion.

    Embrace Feedback

    Lastly, Agile thrives on feedback—it’s essential for improvement and adaptation. Welcome constructive criticism of your CV, cover letter, or interview skills. While it may sting at first, remember that every piece of feedback is a stepping stone on your path to your dream job.

    And there you have it! By applying Agile principles to your job search strategy, you can navigate the job market more effectively. Remember, the job search is not a linear path but an iterative and adaptive process. So, equip yourself with the power of Agile, and get ready to take your job search to the next level.

    If you’d like to take your interview preparation to the next level, consider reaching out for professional support. Why not book a free discovery call with us? Where we can discuss your goals and provide personalized guidance to help you ace your next big opportunity

  • Game On: How Sports Psychology Can Help You Ace Your Next Interview

    Picture this: you’re standing in front of a packed stadium, thousands of eyes watching your every move. Your heart races as the pressure to perform builds. Now, imagine this is your next job interview. The stakes are high, and the pressure is on. But what if I told you that the same principles that help athletes perform their best under pressure can also help you excel in your interview? Intrigued? Let’s dive into the world of sports psychology and learn how to apply these principles to your interview preparation.

    Set Winning Goals

    Just like athletes train to break records and win competitions, you need to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals for your interview. Break your preparation into smaller tasks, such as researching the company, practicing answers, and perfecting your body language. With clear goals in mind, you’ll be better equipped to tackle your interview head-on.

    Visualize Your Victory Lap

    Ever seen athletes closing their eyes before a big performance? They’re visualizing their success. Imagine yourself in the interview room, confidently answering questions and engaging in a fruitful conversation with the interviewer. Visualization can help build confidence and familiarize you with the interview environment, setting you up for success.

    Pump Yourself Up with Positive Self-talk

    Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations and remind yourself of your strengths and past achievements. Encourage yourself with phrases like, “I am prepared,” “I am confident,” and “I am the right person for this job.” A positive mindset can make a world of difference in your interview performance.

    Keep Calm and Breathe On

    Stress can be a major obstacle during an interview. Learn to manage anxiety through relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation. By staying calm and focused, you’ll be able to think clearly and respond effectively to the interviewer’s questions.

    Stay in the Zone

    Like athletes who maintain their focus during a game, you need to train yourself to stay concentrated during your interview. Develop a pre-interview routine to help you mentally prepare, and practice staying focused on the task at hand.

    Emotionally Speaking

    Recognize and manage your emotions effectively. Develop strategies to cope with nervousness or frustration, and maintain a positive attitude throughout the interview process. Emotional control can be the key to presenting yourself as a confident, composed candidate.

    Bring on the Mental Toughness

    Foster resilience and adaptability by embracing challenges and learning from setbacks. Reflect on past experiences, identify areas for improvement, and use them as opportunities for growth. This mental toughness will show interviewers that you’re a strong candidate who can handle whatever comes your way.

    Establish Your Pre-game Ritual

    Create a pre-interview routine to get you in the right mindset for the interview. This can include listening to music, engaging in relaxation techniques, or rehearsing your answers to common interview questions. Just like athletes have their pre-game rituals, you’ll be setting yourself up for success with your personalized routine.

    Rally Your Support Squad

    Reach out to friends, family, or mentors for guidance and support during your interview preparation. They can provide valuable insights, encouragement, and constructive feedback to help you become a more confident interviewee.

    Embrace Continuous Improvement

    Just like in sports, always strive to learn and improve. After each interview, reflect on your performance, identify areas for improvement, and develop a plan to address them in the future.

    So, are you ready to bring your A-game to your next interview? By incorporating these sports psychology principles, you’ll be better prepared to tackle any interview with confidence and poise. If you’d like to take your interview preparation to the next level, consider reaching out for professional support.

    At www.interviewcoach.me (Interview Coaching), we’re here to help you shine in your interviews. Why not book a free discovery call with us? We’ll discuss your goals and provide personalized guidance to help you ace your next big opportunity. Remember, just like in sports, with the right mindset and preparation, you can conquer any challenge that comes your way. So gear up, and let’s tackle those interviews like a pro!

  • Becoming Extraordinary: Implementing ‘The Code of the Extraordinary Mind’ at Work and in Job Interviews

    In the ever-evolving world we live in, personal and professional growth is of paramount importance. One of the best ways to achieve this is by seeking the guidance of thought leaders and experts. Vishen Lakhiani’s ‘The Code of the Extraordinary Mind’ is a groundbreaking book that offers a roadmap to success in all aspects of life. In this article, we will delve deeper into how you can use the principles from the book to improve your performance at work and ace your job interviews, transforming yourself into the best version of YOU.

    Rethink Success and Challenge Conventional Wisdom

    The Concept: Lakhiani’s book urges readers to question the ‘Brules’ (Bullsh*t Rules) that society imposes on us. By redefining success and challenging conventional wisdom, we can focus on our true passions and unlock our full potential at work.

    Implementation: Start by examining your beliefs about success and work. Are they aligned with your values and aspirations, or have they been imposed by external factors? Instead of blindly following societal norms, create your own definition of success that reflects your passions and goals. In job interviews, demonstrate your unique perspective and willingness to question the status quo. Employers will appreciate your innovative thinking and ability to bring fresh ideas to the table.

    Cultivate Self-Awareness and Emotional Intelligence

    The Concept: ‘The Code of the Extraordinary Mind’ emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and emotional intelligence for personal and professional growth. Being in tune with your emotions and reactions enables you to manage your feelings effectively and respond constructively to challenges at work.

    Implementation: Practice introspection by regularly journaling your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. This can help you identify patterns in your emotional responses and gain a better understanding of yourself. In job interviews, showcase your emotional intelligence by discussing how you’ve navigated difficult situations or conflicts in the past, demonstrating your ability to work well with others and handle adversity.

    Develop a Growth Mindset

    The Concept: Lakhiani advocates for cultivating a growth mindset, which is the belief that your abilities can continually improve and develop. This mindset can lead to increased motivation and resilience in the face of setbacks.

    Implementation: To develop a growth mindset, start by identifying and reframing limiting beliefs. Replace thoughts like “I can’t do this” with “I can learn to do this.” At work, embrace challenges, seek feedback, and view failures as opportunities to learn and grow. In job interviews, share examples of how you’ve overcome obstacles, adapted to new situations, and learned from your mistakes, signaling your openness to new challenges and opportunities.

    Set Clear Goals and Visualize Success

    The Concept: The book encourages readers to establish clear, actionable goals and use visualization techniques to bring those goals to life. By setting specific objectives and mentally rehearsing desired outcomes, you can stay focused on your path to success.

    Implementation: Begin by setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals that align with your personal and professional aspirations. Practice visualization techniques, such as creating a vision board or mentally rehearsing your goals, to keep yourself motivated and focused. At work, this can lead to increased productivity and better decision-making. During job interviews, discuss your goals and vision, demonstrating your drive and commitment to personal and professional growth.

    Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

    The Concept: Lakhiani emphasizes the importance of mindfulness and meditation for achieving personal and professional success. Regular practice can improve focus, reduce stress, and enhance overall well-being.

    Implementation: Incorporate mindfulness and meditation into your daily routine by setting aside dedicated time for practice. Start with just a few minutes a day and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable. Explore different meditation techniques, such as guided meditation, body scans, or breath awareness, to find the method that works best for you. At work, take short breaks throughout the day to practice mindfulness, allowing you to maintain focus and reduce stress. During job interviews, your calm and composed demeanor, as a result of mindfulness practice, will create a positive impression on potential employers and set you apart as a strong candidate.

    Vishen Lakhiani’s ‘The Code of the Extraordinary Mind’ is a powerful book for anyone seeking to self-develop. By questioning conventional wisdom, cultivating self-awareness, developing a growth mindset, setting clear goals, and practicing mindfulness, you can unlock your true potential and become an extraordinary individual in both your personal and professional life. Embrace the journey of self-improvement and watch as your career and life transform before your very eyes.

    If you’d like to find out more, book a free discovery call with me today at https://interviewcoach.me/discovery-call/ and we can map out how implementing these principles into your interview preparation can massively transform your chances of success at landing your dream job

  • Mastering the Locus of Control for Job Success: Unlocking the Power of Your Mindset in Job Hunting and Interviews

    The concept of locus of control is a psychological principle that can play a significant role in one’s ability to find a job and successfully navigate through interviews. By understanding and harnessing the power of your locus of control, you can maximize your chances of finding the perfect job and acing the interview process. In this article, we will explore the two types of locus of control – internal and external – and provide practical strategies for utilizing this concept to enhance your job-seeking journey.

    Understanding Locus of Control

    Locus of control refers to the extent to which individuals believe they have control over the events and outcomes in their lives. It is a crucial factor in determining motivation, decision-making, and problem-solving abilities. There are two primary types of locus of control:

    Internal Locus of Control: Individuals with a strong internal locus of control believe that they have the power to influence the outcomes in their lives. They attribute success and failure to their own actions, decisions, and efforts.

    External Locus of Control: On the other hand, people with a dominant external locus of control feel that external forces or circumstances dictate the results in their lives. They tend to believe that luck, fate, or other people are responsible for their successes and failures.

    Applying Locus of Control in Job Hunting

    To effectively apply the locus of control concept in your job search, follow these steps:

    Develop a strong internal locus of control: Cultivate the belief that you have the power to influence your job search outcomes. By taking responsibility for your actions and decisions, you can proactively shape your future and increase your chances of landing a job.

    Set realistic goals: Establish clear, attainable objectives for your job search, such as submitting a specific number of applications per week or networking with a certain number of professionals. By breaking your job search into manageable tasks, you can stay motivated and track your progress.

    Adopt a growth mindset: Embrace the idea that you can learn from setbacks and failures. Use rejection and negative feedback as an opportunity to grow and improve. This mindset will help you maintain a positive attitude throughout your job search, making it easier to stay persistent and focused

    Network proactively: Take control of your job search by actively networking with professionals in your industry. Attend events, join online forums, and reach out to potential connections on LinkedIn. Building a strong professional network can open doors to job opportunities that you might not find through traditional job search methods.

    Mastering the Interview Process with Locus of Control

    Once you’ve secured an interview, you can apply the locus of control concept to help you excel in this critical phase of the job-hunting process. Here’s how:

    Prepare thoroughly: By investing time and effort into researching the company, practicing common interview questions, and preparing relevant examples from your experience, you demonstrate a strong internal locus of control. Thorough preparation can help you feel more confident and in control during the interview.

    Control your body language: Non-verbal communication is crucial in interviews. Show that you have control over your actions by maintaining eye contact, using confident body language, and regulating your tone of voice. This can create a positive impression and demonstrate that you are capable of handling stressful situations.

    Manage anxiety: Recognize that nerves and anxiety are natural aspects of the interview process. Develop strategies to manage these feelings, such as breathing exercises, visualization, or positive affirmations. By focusing on what you can control, you can reduce anxiety and perform at your best during the interview.

    Embrace feedback: After the interview, ask for feedback from the interviewer or recruiter. Use this information to improve your interview skills and adjust your approach for future opportunities. Embracing feedback demonstrates a growth mindset and a strong internal locus of control, which can increase your chances of success in the long run.

    Understanding and applying the locus of control concept in your job search and interview process can significantly impact your success. By cultivating a strong internal locus of control, setting realistic goals, adopting a growth mindset, and proactively networking, you can enhance your job-seeking journey. Additionally, thorough preparation, effective body language, anxiety management, and embracing feedback can help you excel during interviews.

    By mastering the locus of control, you can unlock the power of your mindset and set yourself up for a successful and fulfilling career. Take control of your job search and interview process today, and you’ll be one step closer to landing the perfect job.

    If you have an upcoming interview that you’d like to prepare for, get in touch, our free discovery call is available for everyone to find whether Interview Coaching could be their best answer and create a roadmap for your interview preparation success.

  • How to Answer: “Tell me about yourself…” in a Job Interview.

    Have you ever found yourself struggling to answer the question, “Tell me about yourself” during a job interview? Although it may seem like the simplest question to answer, many of us fall into the trap of being underprepared and end up rambling.

    Being well-versed in your own story is crucial for creating a positive first impression and setting the stage for a successful interview. So, to help you craft your concise and engaging answer to this question, remember the acronym TRAPS:

    T: Thank them – Since this question is typically asked at the beginning of the interview as an icebreaker, it’s courteous and professional to simply start by expressing your gratitude for the opportunity and stating your name. Imagine introducing yourself at any social event. Start with: “Good Afternoon, thank you for inviting me here today, I’m XXXX…” Be sure to look at the interviewer in the eyes and smile while you’re doing this.

    R: Role – Describe your current position including the title of your role. Be sure to highlight your recent achievements in this position as well as any duties which are relatable to the position you are hiring for. Your current position tends to prepare you for the next step in your career and demonstrates you have the skills and experience required for the role you are applying for. Your answer may go something like this: “…I am currently working at ABC Company as a Marketing Manager leading a team of 12, to deliver digital and traditional campaigns raising the brand awareness throughout the EMEA region. In the last 3 years of me holding this position, we have seen a 300% increase in growth for the company expanding our brand in 5 new territories and established an active community of 50,000 customers interacting with our brand social networks…”   

    A: Academic qualifications – As you progress in your career, your degree may in many cases become irrelevant for the role you are applying for, but this is a great way to highlight your academic successes, include any professional licences or certificates and allow you to take the story back to the beginning of your career. You can continue your answer with: “…however, I began my career in Marketing after I graduated from XYZ University in 2010 with a Masters in Marketing…”  

    P: Path – After leaving university, your career may have taken you in various directions and through different companies. Make sure to include the motivations behind any role changes and the accomplishments in each position. Lastly, be sure to include dates such as the month and year to reinforce the clarity and transparency of your story. Each of these entries may look like: “…In the summer of 2010, I joined BBB Company as their marketing intern where I worked for 3 months before being offered a permanent role as their Marketing Assistant. I worked for two years with BBB and  in 2012 felt that it was the right time for me to build on my experience and shift sector moving from Industrial B2B products to FMCGs. In October of 2012, I joined CCC Supermarket Chain supporting their digital marketing initiatives…”

    S: Social Although interviewers cannot ask you about your personal life as these questions are considered “illegal”, you can offer them a glimpse into who you are outside of work. Building rapport is so much easier when the interviewer feels they know you as a person rather than just a list of professional achievements on a piece of paper. Nevertheless, personal information is like salt in food, if you put a little in you can make the difference between good to incredible, too much however it’s ruined. Think about interests that are not divisive, football teams and politics a no no. A sport you participate in, charity activity or interest is perfect, if you speak about your nuclear family for example you are married or have kids, drop their first names it will cement the connection you have with the interviewer. This could look like this: “…in my spare time, I enjoy playing tennis on the weekends with my husband Andrew at our local club and trying out new restaurants with a group of marketing friends who love food…”

    Using the TRAPS framework, will ensure you stay on track by having structure, cover all the main points and offer an interesting and logical flow.

    If you have an interview coming up and are thinking of getting some one to one coaching I invite you to book a free discovery call.  

  • Job interviews? No sweat, we now have ChatGPT!

    2023 has been an interesting year so far, and its only February! We’ve already seen the great digital reset kick in with the slashing of hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the US and abroad. Additionally, we’ve seen this new digital craze kick down the doors of every business, sector, and profession with the emergence of Generative AIs such as ChatGPT and Dalle2.

    Before you jump up and down, screaming that it’s going to take our jobs, I want to say, “Yes, I agree – it will!” For many jobs throughout the world, AIs will start taking over many repetitive and labor-intensive roles. Much the same happened when industrial machines started producing higher volumes than what animals or humans could with their own hands or hooves. It’s a natural evolution of innovation and technology. Businesses will find ways to invest and incorporate this technology to have a long-term profitable return.

    However, the concern shouldn’t be, “Will this new innovation take my job?” but “How can I use this tool to my advantage and stay ahead of the technological curve?” Staying relevant in the market and understanding how this technology can help you do more or better at what you already do is crucial.

    Since the beginning of the new year, I have been showing how AI and ChatGPT can be used as tools for my clients in preparing for their job interviews. This may sound crazy, seeing that I am an Interview Coach and that’s what you hire me to do. But it’s not as black and white as it sounds.

    ChatGPT is a tool, and without the user, it is useless. What makes the tool successful is the competence of the user. Familiarizing yourself with this technology now, rather than later, is crucial if you want to stay ahead of the tech curve. Using it for your interview preparation is a smart thing to do, but don’t rely on it. It does not have your experiences, examples, and answers to offer. Instead, you must do the leg work yourself – sit down and write out your answers using the STAR or HCCARR model, and then ask ChatGPT to offer some support in tweaking or ironing out the creases.

    When working with my clients, my job is to uncover their genius, showcase the expert inside, and tap into their full potential. There is no magic button that will write the perfect answer for you, and in fact, there is no “perfect” answer. Anyone saying there is, is full of it! There are only your stories, and these can be told poorly or incredibly well. Having a second set of eyes and ears preparing for these can greatly improve the quality of your answers. Even a colleague or friend can offer support, but their critique may be clouded with bias or lack of experience. As a coach, I will ask you specific probing questions in the sessions to expand on your answers and enhance the clarity of your answer. I will look out for opportunities to align how and why you did the actions to the values and requirements of the company and role you are applying for.

    Anyway, I did not intend to write this article to simply showcase why our Interview Coaching sessions are the best choice for you. Instead, demonstrate how Generative AI can be used in your workflow, so let’s get back on track.

    Below are my 5 reasons why and how you should try this technology out to help you develop your interview answers.

    Developing a Database of Questions to Prepare for:

    Asking ChatGPT to create a list of questions for a job interview is a great start to prepare for the interview and anticipate what they may ask on the day. While there are numerous questions that could be asked, your stories can be reused in different contexts or situations. For example, you may be asked “Tell me a time you inspired change in your team and or project.”. Whereas, they may ask you instead, “tell me a time you made a difference”, “tell me something you’re proud of” or “tell me a time when you led a project.” The answers you prepare for one question can be applied to others as well. Additionally, looking at the job description or inputting it into an AI tool can generate a list of questions that are relevant to the role. The more specific the input, the better quality the questions try “Create me a list of 20 behavioral and competence based questions for a SAP Network Administrator at Cisco” and see the difference.

    Finding Inspiration and Kick-Starting Your Motivation:

    Procrastination is a common issue when it comes to preparing for interviews. However, using ChatGPT can help kick-start your motivation and inspire you to begin your preparation. It provides a foundation to work with and can spark ideas and memories, helping you to get started. Whenever I’m looking for somewhere to start, after a couple of questions and responses, my brain is flowing and coming up with inspired content is a breeze.

    Making Your Answers More Concise and to the Point:

    Writing can be challenging, and people may tend to ramble or go off-topic. You can use ChatGPT to help you rephrase and condense your answers. Simply copy and paste your text into the tool and add a request to make it more concise and improve the quality of the writing. ChatGPT will read your answer and provide a different version, which you can then use to refine your original answer.

    Speed and Confidence:

    If the interview is approaching, and you have not prepared anything yet, ChatGPT can help you get started quickly and efficiently. It can save you hours by giving you a target to focus on, allowing you to begin building your answers. With this head start and god-like speed, your confidence will strengthen as you become more prepared for the task at hand. To increase this, practice with a coach, friend or mirror to better remember your answers.

    Using the Job Description to Get a Profile of Who They Are Looking for:

    Lastly, one thing I often see is that some clients lack understanding of what the role actually entails. Many believe that the interview is simply a discussion about their personal background and accomplishments. However, it is much more than that. It is about how well you fit the position, and how your experiences, skills, and personality align with the company’s values, team dynamics, and role requirements. Understanding the key features of the role will help you include these aspects in your answers, which will enable you to check off the mental boxes of the recruiter or hiring manager and confirm that you are the right person for the task.

    In conclusion, preparing for an interview can be challenging, but by using ChatGPT, you can make the process easier and more efficient. That said, it is not your solution and doesn’t mean you can just rely on it to do all the work. Just like a hammer, saw or screwdriver it still needs an operator to use it. But in the right hands it can be an incredibly powerful one offering unlimited potential.

    I hope you enjoyed this article and that it has offered a fresh and brighter perspective on this new and current topic. If you have any questions or need help with interview coaching, you can reach out to me directly through my website  https://interviewcoach.me/discovery-call/ or email me at charlie@interviewcoach.me all my discovery calls are completely free of charge and no obligation. You may find the answer you’re looking for or at least be pointed in the right way.

    Whatever you choose, I wish you the best of luck in your job search and remember that success is when persistence meets preparation.


  • Setting Goals and NY Resolutions for 2023

    New Year’s resolutions have a long history dating back to ancient civilizations. The ancient Babylonians are credited with being the first to make New Year’s resolutions, as they made promises to their gods at the start of each year to pay their debts and return borrowed objects.

    In ancient Rome, the custom of making New Year’s resolutions was also observed, and the Romans made promises to the god Janus, who was the god of beginnings and endings.

    In the modern era, the practice of making New Year’s resolutions has become widespread, with people around the world making resolutions to improve their lives in some way. Today, New Year’s resolutions are often associated with self-improvement and making positive changes in one’s personal or professional life.

    Setting goals and new year’s resolutions have many benefits, including:

    • Increased motivation: Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve can give you a sense of purpose and motivation to work towards your goals.
    • Improved focus: Goals can help you prioritize your efforts and stay focused on what’s most important to you.
    • Enhanced performance: Research has shown that setting goals can lead to better performance in a variety of settings, from academics to sports to the workplace.
    • Greater satisfaction: Achieving your goals can bring a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, which can boost your confidence and self-esteem.
    • Improved time management: Setting goals can help you manage your time more effectively by giving you a roadmap for what needs to be done and when.

    Overall, setting goals can help you achieve your desired outcomes and live a more fulfilling and meaningful life and can help you focus your efforts and stay motivated as you work towards achieving your career aspirations. Here are some steps you can follow to make new year’s professional goals:

    • Reflect on the past year: Take some time to think about what you accomplished in the past year, what challenges you faced, and what you learned. This will help you identify areas for improvement and give you a sense of what you are capable of achieving.
    • Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals: These are known as SMART goals, and they are a useful framework for setting goals that are clear, realistic, and achievable. For example, instead of setting a vague goal like “improve my communication skills,” you might set a specific goal like “attend two public speaking workshops and give two presentations to my team in the next six months.”
    • Make a plan: Once you have identified your goals, think about the steps you need to take to achieve them. Break your goals down into smaller, more manageable tasks and create a timeline for completing them.
    • Seek support: Share your goals with others, whether it’s a mentor, a colleague, or a friend. Having someone to hold you accountable and provide encouragement and guidance can help you stay on track.
    • Be flexible: While it’s important to have a plan, it’s also important to be flexible and adaptable. If you encounter challenges or setbacks, don’t be afraid to reassess your goals and adjust your approach as needed.

    If you’d like support in setting your New Year’s Resolutions and Professional Goals, Book a free consultation to discuss more on how our programs can help you in and out of the interview.