Coaching case studies:

What our coaching clients want to know?

Here is one of the many testimonials we receive:-

"Dear James, (James Innes, Founder of the The CV Centre .

I am writing to you to praise a member of your team, Julie Sanders.

On Friday I was in a state of desperation as I felt lost with what I was going to speak about in my interview. I therefore went on your website and booked an hours session for interview coaching.

Julie my interview coach rang me on Friday evening and within the first few minutes my confidence was rising because she was able to articulate everything I needed to say, but even more importantly she allowed me to feel confident about myself and what I have to offer my potential employer.

She even directed me to her website which contained very useful information as part of my interview preparation.

Yesterday I attended a recruitment event with Virgin Trains and the advice and guidance given by Julie was invaluable. So many of her ideas stayed with me throughout the day. But most importantly my self confidence was intact throughout the interview.

The biggest compliment I can say about her is that she totally raised my confidence from feeling like I did not have a chance at the event to a feeling of being just 'perfect' for the job. She has a gift of being able to give people the advice they need.

I haven't even got the job yet, however I feel so confident because of her help. She is a woman who is clearly passionate about what she does.

I would just like you to be aware of that.

Can I also add a huge amount of gratitude to you and your team for providing me with a Top Class CV which meant I was shortlisted from 1100 to the last 32.

Thanks ever so much!

Kind Regards

Damien ****** "

December 2011

You might be feeling curious about our interview coaching and what it involves so on this page you can read about actual coaching case studies and our mock interview service.

Our coaching clients come from all walks of life, many countries and are applying for all kinds of jobs. What they want from a coaching session is always different too. But it is amazing what can be achieved in just 30 minutes on the phone.

Here are some examples of our conversations and mock interviews with clients. The names, job titles and organisations have been changed for reasons of confidentiality. We hope you won't mind if you see something resembling your own coaching session here. As we said they are real life examples so we hope you won't mind!

Click here to find out about our Interview Coaching Services

How to negotaite my salary? My new employer wants to know what I am paid

my client had secured a fantastic job in another country but was unsure how to negotiate an appropriate salary. ( He was moving to a country with higher salaries and living costs than his own). The company were seemingly unwilling to provide any information and were putting pressure on him to name his price.

This was a matter of putting into practice the techiques on our page on Salary Negotiation, using our Salary Checker and sticking to the process outlined in our FREE Ten Secrets of Salary Negotiation Guide

This turned into a protracted negotiation over several days with my client having to hold his nerve, refusing to disclose his current salary (which was irrelevant) until eventually a solution was reached. It was absolutely necessary to have worked through all the Ten Secrets of Salary Negotiation including pay surveys and cost of living surveys for his chosen country. I was able to offer some much appreciated coaching support throughout this process as it was something my client had never experienced before.


You need to research pay levels in your sector and in the country you are moving to. You also need to get a guide to cost of living in that country to make sure your pay which might sound good at home will cover you after your move.

Also make sure you know when your first pay review will take place.

Do not sign your contract, agree to take the job or give in your notice before you have got your pay & conditions finalised.

'How to sell myself?' and 'What questions should I ask the interviewer?'

Dawn had been made redundant and thanks to the success of her newly designed CV written for her by the CV Centre team had several interviews in the pipeline. The one she wanted to discuss was the one she really wanted, PA to a CEO.

A fully qualified, competent and experienced Executive PA she was concerned about how to sell her considerable skills, what questions to ask at the interview and how to cover up any gaps. In her case that she hadn’t got recent Line Management experience which is what the job required.

Our initial 30 minute session gave Dawn the essential tools:- We discussed what CEO's are looking for and how to see the interview from her point of view. Dawn is a CEO's dream as she had all the experience required and could start straight away.
Link to 'What Employers are looking for'
How to answer the
10 most Common Questions,
We worked out her key selling points and safe questions using our

Interview Preparation Master Sheet.
and our list of
Safe questions to ask at the interview.
So that she could plan her own answers I also suggested using our
Model Answers Guide

At our second session we spent 30 minutes doing a mock interview based around the 10 most common questions.

Dawn answers had been quite good at our initial session but armed with our tools and advice her answers were superb, much more focussed and geared towards exactly what the employer is looking for.

We discussed how she could put together a professional looking
Interview Portfolio to give her an extra confidence boost.


Remember if you have a good CV and have been called for interview you have a very good chance of getting the job. Be confident, positive and well prepared. Reassure the interviewer you can do the job, you want to do the job and that you will fit in.

Talk about how you will do the job. Match the skills they are looking for and make sure you cover all the requirements in your answers.

Only 24 hours to prepare! Can you help?

Graham had not had an interview for several years. When he was given just 24 hours notice for an interview for a job one grade higher in his company no wonder he started to feel anxious.

At the CV Centre we can usually operate at short notice but this interview coaching session was quite a challenge to fit in. When I spoke to Graham it was clear he was totally unprepared so we were into emergency measures.

It was to be a 30 minute interview and 3 other colleagues were also going for the job. He could do the job but he had to sell himself against some stiff competition.

He anticipated there would be 3 main interview questions:-

  • "Tell us about the job and how you are suited to it?"
  • "What would be your priorities if you were offered the job?"
  • Technical questions about the job itself which he felt he could handle competently.

I sent him two links for us to use as a guide as we talked:

The page on Sample Answers We worked through Question 1 'Tell Me About Yourself?' using the example given on the page.

We then worked through the Interview Preparation Master Plan and worked on matching the needs of the job to Graham's skills, experience, knowledge, background and personality.

Finally we had a few minitues to talk through his approach to the job should he be offered it.

At the end of our 60 minute session Graham was in a much better position to give good answers to the predicted interview questions and felt much more confident.

By this time it was 9pm in the evening with the interview at 10am next day. It was going to be a long night of interview preparation ahead.

TIP If you have an interview at short notice make sure you can answer these common interview questions.

"Tell me about yourself?"


"Why do you want this job?"

And take as much time as you can spare to complete our

Interview Preparation Master Plan.

The links are here:-

Tell Me About Yourself - Example Answer

Interview Preparation Master Plan

I've only worked for one company and haven't had an interview for years

Sarah had recently lost her job but wanted to get back into employment quickly. Conscious of not having had an interview for many years she was wisely taking steps to prepare herself. Armed with a redesigned CV from the CV Centre she booked a coaching session to discuss whether interviewing techniques had changed and to help with some top interview tips.

I was able to direct her to some valuable information on this site including an Interview Preparation Master Sheet and our page Three Steps to Interview Success
I was also able to suggest a book by Susan Hodgson Brilliant Answers to Tough Interview Questions' which I thought was the most appropriate for her situation.

Apart from giving her a start point in her interview preparation our conversation took only 30 of the 60 minutes she had booked. She was able to 'bank' the remainder so we could do some interview practice when she had an actual job interview coming up.

Pleased that she now had something to work from it shouldn't be too long before an interview comes along.

Learning: Just because you have been out of the job market for some doesn't mean that you are at a disadvantage.

Remember. Most applicants' CVs are poorly targetted and badly presented.

If yours has been written using the best advice around or even better, professionally designed by the CV Centre you are already ahead of the crowd and stand a great chance of being shortlisted.

Many interviewees then go on to perform poorly at the interview, mainly due to lack of know-how or preparation.

By following the guidance on this site and by using our Interview Coaching Services if you need that extra confidence boost you can very easily stand out from the competition.

Help! I've only got a day to prepare. Sally

Sally had been invited to an interview in global sales with only 2 days to prepare. Things were made complicated as the company has requested in its interview information that candidates should research the company and be preared to discuss some of the issues with the interviewrs.

Sally had spent a lot of time doing this research but as it emerged hardly any on preparing herself for the interview. Using the person specification and job description provided by the company we identified her top 6 selling points, a combination of skills, experience, knowledge, background and personality.

Although she needed to complete the Interview Preparation Master Sheet provided on this site she was running short of time.

She said that these 6 bullet points were really helpful and had shifted her focus from concentrating on the company's website and more towards how the job needs matched her experience.


If you are short on time identify what you believe are your 6 key selling points that match exactly to the post you are going for. It is not effective to tell the interviewer about experience you have but they don't need. The idea is to stay focused and describe to the interviewer exactly how you match the job specification using examples from your own experience.

Click here to download our Interview Preparation Master Sheet

Manager to Director: Joseph

Joseph was aiming to make the transition from Manager to Director and wanted to know how to approach the interview at such a senior level.

Joseph had prepared for his future role and was clear on the responsibilities of the director as leader. But he talked as though he was asking for the job not making a case as to how and why he was ready for it. He knew the role in theory but was convinced he didn’t have the actual work experience. I discussed with him that in his present role he had much of the director experience already and he was actually well suited to the job.


At senior level it is important that you act and talk as though you ‘are the director’ not, ‘you are hoping to be the director’. It is a subtle difference but it is the air of confidence and authority you need to exude at this level that will persuade and reassure the recruiters.

Joseph found this insight very helpful and is going to return for a mock interview when he has an actual interview lined up.

"I thank you for all the help-it was a great help! I’ll keep in mind what you told me, and the point you refer as “getting the job, is not to ask to be, is to be the director…!

I have already read the document you scanned, and it was, and will be useful. I found some questions I didn't think of

I also will try to buy the book."

Be yourself - Angela

Angela had an interview for a Christian organisation which was going to enable her to work within her faith and use her considerable event management and PR experience. She had ordered a mock interview so she could practice her answers.

We had talked before and it was apparent that she had put a lot of effort into preparing for the top 10 questions. However her answers sounded a bit flat, and her sunny personality wasn’t coming through.

We discussed the fact that Angela, her personality and her passion for her faith needed to shine through as well as a description of her skills and experience. The ‘real’ Angela needed to go to the interview. We discussed her passion, why she wanted the job and what to wear to give her the extra confidence boost.


We decided that this job was ‘hers’. She knew the organation and had been invited to this interview having missed out on a job previously. The job was hers for the taking but in order to make sure of getting it she had to let her spirit and faith come through. I am pleased to say she got the job.

"Thanks Julie. I will remember your coaching during my long trip to Falmouth for my interview. I will also echo your words of encouragement as I get to the interview room. Many thanks for everything."

Are jobs interviews different in the UK: Ian

Ian, an Australian was experienced in all aspects of IT Support and very well qualified. He had applied for many jobs in the UK and so far had not made it to interview. Was it he wondered because recruitment is different in the UK from Australia?

Ian had a successful career in Australia but not in the UK. Wisely he had sought advice from the CV Centre and was having his CV re-designed as it was apparent that his emphasis on qualifications should be replaced for his new target market by describing his vast experience meaning he could turn his hand to more or less any job in IT Support.

It became apparent during our discussions that in Australia it was quite common to be asked to talk about your varied and sometimes exciting hobbies outside work. Leisure activities are an important part of Australian working life. Not so in the UK.

Whilst is it possible the interviewer might ask you about yourself it is always safest to ere on the side of caution mentioning your interests that relate in some way to the job, are fairly ‘safe’ in that they don’t encourage certain prejudices and most importantly that they are not going to distract you from or take you away from the job.

Everyone has hobbies outside work but in the main our advice is to play it safe, not to impress anyone with dangerous or unusual pursuits until you are absolutely sure of your ground.

We went through the ‘tell me about yourself?’ question and I showed Ian the link to the site which provides a model of how to answer that question talking about yourself but only in a way that relates to the job.

Ian realised he was in danger of becoming over familiar in the interview and talking about himself in the wider sense rather than relating his experience to the job. He took away a couple of model answers to build on plus some advice on salary questions and safe questions to ask the interviewer.


Talk about your skills, experience, background, qualifications and knowledge that relates directly to the needs of the job. Use our sample answers and model answers as a guide.

Click here to go to our interview answers page

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