Job Coach Interview Advice – Part 1

Job Coach InterviewsThe past three years has shown an alarming number of people quick to capitalize on the recession by becoming a career coach. Most of them lack sufficient experience or knowledge to coach a job seeker who’s in the tailspin of unemployment. Few realize that “expert” is a relative term.

While perusing various discussions in the LinkedIn groups to which I belong, I read a post from another career coach. A job seeker had asked about follow up. She’d had a phone interview, then a face-to-face, had followed up two weeks later and been told the decision wouldn’t be made for another two to four weeks. She wondered how long she should wait before following up again, and with whom she should speak, the hiring manager or human resources?

She was advised to follow up often enough to follow up, but not too often that you seem to be stalking them (very ambiguous to implement). The coach also counseled against getting stressed out, because the job seeker (let’s call her Patty) still had time, and since companies have paychecks and jobs, they feel no sense of urgency. The answer didn’t include who to call.

I’d like to amend this information.

If she’s just phoned, then she should wait ten days. If it’s been a week or more since she learned that, then she should phone again now. This is her opportunity to learn two critical pieces of information which the coach neglected to bring up. First, Patty needs to ask where she is within the process, and secondly, what the hiring authority thinks. Both of these not only sound better than asking if a decision has been made, but they give Patty information that may affect her job search strategy.

For that reason, she should phone the hiring authority with whom she met. The HR person may have coordinated the process, but the hiring authority makes the decision. Odds are the HR person won’t know the answers to those questions, and the call will leave Patty no wiser. If she can’t reach the hiring authority in two or three tries a few days apart, only then she should call HR.

She opens by introducing herself in an upbeat voice and sharing the date on which she interviewed. Patty follows with re-affirming her interest in both the opportunity and the company. Then she asks if they’ve begun scheduling second interviews or when they plan on doing that.

And regardless of the answer, Patty says “Wonderful!” because enthusiasm is in a scenario such as this is rare, and not only will it be remembered, but the company wants someone excited about becoming part of their team. Next, with a smile on her face because it translates over the phone, she asks “Where am I within your process?”

Notice she didn’t ask if she was still under consideration. Instead, she’s conveying self confidence and her belief that she has attributes from which the company will benefit. If the hiring authority doesn’t immediately remember her, she shouldn’t get flustered. No matter how well she interviewed, he’s consumed with other matters as well.

If there was a good rapport during the interview, the answer might be a few sentences, and if so, she can stretch it getting a clearer idea of the process. Will there be a third round for only two or three finalists (or will there be a decision after the second)? Are they finishing all the first interviews before they begin scheduling the second round (or are they scheduling second interviews concurrent with the first round)?

Has anyone been eliminated from consideration? Were there were any concerns or questions the hiring authority might have (if she didn’t ask this at the end of the interview), and any other questions that might arise out of what the hiring authority was sharing.

Stay tuned for part 2 next week to learn about her objective and reason for this strategy and the danger of putting all your eggs in one basket.

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