Virtual preparation can bring real interview benefits

Q: I live in a remote region. I have a job interview early next week - I haven’t done one in years and wasn’t much good at interviews the first place. I am really worried about this one as it is a job I really want to get – jobs like this don’t come up very often in this area. ‘Get some interview training’ is the advice I am getting online – my problem, however, is that because of my location, and family duties over the next few days, I cannot travel to meet somebody. I have been offered a Skype session – can this work? (EG, email ).

A: There is obviously an element of the ‘he would say that, wouldn’t he?’ when I concur with the advice you are getting: yes, it is a good idea to get interview training. Even accomplished interviewees can benefit from brushing up on their skills before going into the real thing, writes LIAM HORAN, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers.

Yes, Skype sessions can work.

In a face-to-face session, the client and coach can build rapport easier than in a Skype-based one. They shake hands, chat, engage in some small talk, exchange a smile – body language breaks down barriers.

Skype doesn’t offer that.

But, if the coach is on the ball, the absence of these rapport-building moments should not be a problem – the coach should be able to settle you, give you reassurance, and guide the session in so that it focuses on the key issues you are expected to tackle in the interview.

Two of the benefits of Skype are that you “get down to business” quicker, and you, as a client, have to remain entirely focused on the session. You cannot rely on body language to get you out of a tricky corner: all the coach sees is your face, and all they hear is your voice, and therefore they are obliged to assess you on the most important element of any interview, namely your content.

To recap on what you are aiming to achieve in the interview, and what you and the coach should be working on in the session:

1 Demonstrating your deep knowledge of the job at hand; 2 Illustrating your extensive knowledge of the organisation: 3 Making crystal clear the attributes, experience, skills and characteristics you possess that match the job in question; 4 Convincing the interview panel you have the enthusiasm and drive to take on this job now.

One other point that you do not mention above but might be timely to address here – if you are going for a job in your local area, chances are you will know some or all members of the interview panel. This can bring its own pressure as candidates often find it hard to “sell themselves” to people they know well.

Candidates can be self-conscious and this can lead to an inhibited interview.

There is no alternative but to get yourself in the right frame of mind to talk yourself up – clearly elaborating on your key skills and everything else relevant to the job. You cannot be worrying about meeting these people in the supermarket a few days later: an interview is about getting the job, and the interview panel will allow you to make your claim.

Sli Nua Careers (www.SliNuaCareers.com ) have offices in Galway (Patricia Maloney, 091 528883 ), Mayo (Ballinrobe, Claremorris and Westport ), Dublin, Limerick, Sligo and Athlone. Their services include CV preparation, interview training, job-searching strategies and career direction. For more details, visit www.slinuacareers.com/galway

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