By Liam Horan, Career Coach & Managing Director, Sli Nua Careers
Q: One from left of field. I recently went to a career training company (not you, sorry!) and they did an excellent job at getting me ready for interview. The interview is on next week. I am thinking about making it clear to the interview panel that I had received professional training and support in preparation for the interview. My reasoning is to illustrate that I’m the kind of person who does what needs to be done to execute a project. What would your thoughts be? Should I ‘fess up or keep it secret? (DR email)
A: Funny you should bring this point up now DR because I have had two recent experiences with clients who did the very thing that you have mentioned. One let it be known at an interview that the brochure he had produced to promote his own candidature (he’s a salesman) was not all his own work but that he had received assistance from a copywriter and designer to make it happen.
His purpose for doing so was two-fold. One, to not mislead the interviewers into thinking he is a very good copywriter and/ or designer and, two, to achieve the very goal you have mentioned in your question i.e. to show he has the wherewithal to seek assistance when he needs it for the betterment of an overall project.
A second client mentioned she had received assistance training from a career training company. This came at the end of the interview when they remarked how well she had performed.
“I decided on the spot that rather than hiding the fact that I got some professional assistance I would make a virtue out of it,” she said.
“I said to them ‘I got some help because I felt I hadn’t portrayed my skills and experience well in previous interviews and I wanted to make sure I gave the best possible account of myself here today’.
“ I also wanted to let them know that I believe something worth doing is worth doing well.”
She went on to make it clear to the interview panel that she had not altered any facts or told any lies in this approach: rather she just gave the best possible account of what she had to offer the hiring organisation.
In both cases they got the job and neither regrets what they did. It had put me thinking about the very question you have raised today and on the whole my feeling it is never any harm to say you are willing to get help.
It says a lot about somebody in terms of not being arrogant and knowing when and where they should take a helping hand. What I would say is if you do are thinking about introducing the matter in your interview make sure you do it properly and in such a way it appears logical and natural.
Don’t do it so that they feel they have been looking at a performing monkey in the interview. You must own your own interview performance right down to this detail. I hope this helps.
Liam Horan is Managing Director of Sli Nua Careers Ltd. You can read more blogs from Sli Nua Careers coaches HERE, and make a booking for CV Preparation and Interview Training.