Common Interview Questions And How to Answer Them

Interviews can send shivers of terror down your back – but they don’t have to. With some preparation and practice ahead of time you can reduce the anxiety and even enjoy (maybe?) the interview process.

Employers really are looking at three categories when they interview you:

  1. Can you do the job?
  2. Do you want the job?
  3. Are you a fit for the job and company?

Let’s look at each of these in detail

Can you do the job?

A common questions employers may ask is, “What are your strengths?” Be careful with this question. If they ask you to tell them about three of your strengths – answer with three strengths, not two or four. This demonstrates you can listen and follow directions.

So, how do you answer this question? Provide strengths and then back them up with examples.

For example, “One of my strengths is I’m creative and always looking for ways to maximize productivity. In my last role I was under-resourced so I reached out to another department and solicited their help –during their quiet period. The manager was more than happy to lend me one of her staff as it was a slow time and she wanted to ensure she didn’t lose her staff member. Win-win for both departments.”

Another common question is “What is your weakness?” This can be a tricky one to answer, as it’s natural not to want to point out your faults during an interview. You want to show how you are working on the weakness – but not how you have solved it, as then it isn’t a weakness anymore.

For example, “My weakness is that I get so involved in my client’s issues that I have a hard time turning off after I leave work. I now use my transit time between work and home to debrief and make some notes about my client’s so that when I get home I’ve cleared my mind and am ready for my family and me time.”

Talk about what you have learned in the process. You might even try a little humour by answering “chocolate” as your weakness, but be prepared with a serious answer to back it up as well.

Do you want the job?

Employers hire people that want to work for them. When there are several candidates with the same qualifications often employers will select the one that is most enthusiastic about working in their company.

In order to genuinely show your interest in the company you are interviewing with, it’s a good idea to do some research on the company prior to the interview. That way you can demonstrate that knowledge around some of the projects, expansion plans or other things the company might be doing.

A common question in this category is, “Why do you want to work here?

Answering with, “I have the skills and qualifications for the job” is not an answer that will land you the job. Instead, try something like,

“With over 10 years experience as a construction super intendant specializing in major commercial, I’m ready to take on projects like your recently completed Massey Bridge. From my research I understand you are now expanding your business into Asia. My ability to speak Mandarin and excellent knowledge of Chinese culture (having lived in China for 5 years) makes me an ideal candidate for this job.  I’m really excited to join your offshore team and contribute to the ongoing success of RAM Construction.”

Are you a fit for the job?

The final category is probably the most subjective for the employer. They want to understand if your character, values and interests fit within their organization’s culture and the team you will be working with.

Do you work well on a team?” may be a question under this category. You might also be asked, “What are your interests?”  The employer wants to understand if you will get along well with other members of their team and their company culture. Learning about your interests offers insight into who you are as a person and how you might handle stress. Interests can be a connection point with the interviewer too.

More tips for acing your interview

No matter what interview questions are thrown your way increase your chances of success by doing the following:

Bob* never had an interview. After being in the same frontline role for over 15 years he decided he wanted to move into a leadership role. After being told he was one of the shortlisted applicants he needed to prepare for the interviews. He had no idea how to do this. He hired me to coach him through the process. We started out by looking at his values and strengths and what he personally could bring to the role. After three sessions he was ready for the interview process and three interviews later the organization offered him the job, which he happily accepted!

If you need a little help nailing that interview, email me at [email protected] to learn more about my interview skills package.

*Name changed to protect confidentiality.

Originally posted on Noomii Career Blog.


The Complete Job Search Toolkit for Coaches


It’s been quite a crazy few months…of some extreme ups and downs. The downs – crashed website, crashed computer, broken hot water tank, 5 weeks of pneumonia and a root canal to top things off! Honestly, some days I just felt like crawling under the covers and hiding from the world.

As life would have it there was also some blessings in all of this. I managed to get my crashed computer to start long enough to download an external hard drive with all my documents. Phew! That was definitely a God-moment. And with my birthday around the corner my husband bought me a new laptop (well actually I bought it and told him it could be his present to me – he was relieved he didn’t have to go shopping!).

The highlight though of this rather dismal few months was hosting my webinar: How to Help Your Job Search Clients Get Their Dream Job Fast AND Make You the Most Popular Coach Ever! The webinar proved what a global community we live in. I had people register from England, Costa Rica, Germany, Canada and the US. I was thrilled. Here’s what one attendee said:

I wanted to say thank you and also mention how grateful I am for all you have done for my clients. You give some great, informative, and useful webinars. You’re awesome, Mary!

And during the webinar I introduced my program,The Complete Job Search Toolkit for Coaches. This Toolkit is more than just a toolkit. It’s based on my over 20 years of training facilitators, coaches and job seekers in proven job search strategies, and includes direct access to me, 5 days a week! In fact if you register for the program by midnight Friday, March 2, you will receive extra support and bonuses from me, worth $1,000, including a one hour strategy call to ask anything you want.

The Complete Job Search Toolkit includes 66 ready made worksheets and checklists!!! Each document can be easily customized with your own company branding.

You can use these tools over and over again – there’s no limit! The work is done for you! You can take advantage of my working with over 1200 people in many career areas and levels, without having to do the work and learning yourself.

Modules cover important Job Search topics such as:

  • Tapping into the Hidden Job Market (help your clients avoid all their competition)
  • Nailing the job interview and getting the job
  • Negotiating the best salary with better perks
  • Resumes that will get you the interview
  • Using LinkedIN to get to the decision makers
  • And more!

Plus you’ll receive ongoing support from me (Noomii’s #1 career expert with over 20 years experience). You will have ample opportunity to connect with me to discuss your unique client questions, and get answers to assist your clients obtain the job they want and deserve.

All of this for $1395 USD or 3 payments of $499.

For the full details of The Complete Job Search Toolkit for Coaches go here:

Hurry as the bonuses are for a limited time!

You can also contact me at [email protected] or 604.729.6595 with any questions.

Here’s to your success as a career coach!


6 Common Myths About Job Interviews

Interviewing can be uncomfortable and for some terrifying. Let’s look at 6 interview myths that might be stopping you from putting your best self forward.

  1. I can’t prepare for an interview

Prior to going for an interview you not only CAN prepare for the interview – you can practice. Think of an interview like an exam. You can study ahead of time so that when the interview happens you will be prepared. Here’s some tips:

  • Consider the type of questions you might be asked by the interviewer. These include general interview questions such as, “Why are you the best candidate for the job?” to industry-specific questions, “In your role as a Construction Safety Officer, what do you think is your main priority?”, to behavioural-type questions, “What would you do in the case of….” Or “Tell me a time when you disagreed with your boss – what did you do?”
  • Now make a list of the common questions you may be asked. Job search sites can help out with this (e.g. Glassdoor, Workopolis, Indeed), or if it’s a prominent company then search on the internet for common interview questions such as “common interview questions asked at Amazon”. Consider hiring a career coach that specializing in job search skills.
  • Once you have your list of questions, sit down and write out the answers to your questions. Write out by hand? Yes! The brain uses a different part when you write something by hand. Writing will help you retain the information and be more confident.
  • Now practice. Recruit your family or friends and have them do mock interviews with you. This will help build your confidence level further. One client of mine, Carol* used to have her family quiz her at the dinner table every night, for the week leading up to her interview.
  1. Everyone else is more qualified than I am.

Ask yourself, how do you know this? Are these assumptions you are making? What makes you think this? If you go into an interview with this perspective, how far do you think you will get in the interview process? What would be a more helpful perspective to have? How about “I am qualified for this role because….”  If you doubt yourself, ask yourself why you got the interview in the first place. Yes! Because you are qualified.  Try some affirmative statements like: “I’m being interviewed because I am worthy of this job.” Or “Company “X” is lucky to have me.” What will work for you?

  1. I just need to talk generally about my experience – everything is on my resume.

As a career coach one of the most common mistakes I see is when people are too general or broad with their answers. Provide specific examples. For example how successful do you think you will be by answering the question, “Why should I hire you?” with “I have the experience and skills that you require to do this job well.” Sound familiar? At first glance it’s obvious you have the experience or you wouldn’t be in front of the interviewer BUT the interviewer wants to hear more.  Generalizations like this won’t get you hired, and it is a very common mistake of jobseekers!

Avoid thinking your resume speaks for you and that the interviewer will read everything on your resume. In some cases the person conducting the interview may have had less than a minute to scan your resume.  Other times they may never have seen your resume. Don’t laugh – I’ve been asked to join an interview and participate without seeing the candidate’s resume ahead of time, on several occasions. AND the interviewer (s) may not have the resume at the meeting. For these reasons I suggest you bring extra copies of your resume to the interview. Always ask ahead of time how many people will be interviewing you – and then bring that many resume copies + a few extras.

Review your resume and prepare answers that include results and specific facts and figures wherever possible.

  1. There is no need to do any research ahead of time – the interviewer will tell me everything I need to know.

I recently spoke with a manager Dawn*, who was hiring for a management level role. At the end of the interview Dawn asked the interviewee if they had any questions. Their answer? No.  Dawn was not impressed. She felt that having no questions prepared, showed a lack of preparation and interest in the company. Even if you feel the interviewer answered all of your questions, come prepared with a few of your own to ask. And it’s ok to write them down and bring out your notes at the end of the interview. Do your research so you can ask intelligent questions that are not addressed on the company website.

  1. They know I’m interested in the job because I’m here.

Although you got the interview, the interviewer still wants to hear you say how interested you are in the job – unless of course you realize when you learn more about the role/company  – you aren’t interested! Employers hire people that want to work for them. They LOVE to hear that you are really interested in the company. Prepare by thinking about why you are drawn to this role, and the company/organization, and then talk about it at the beginning of the interview and just before you leave the interview. You want one of the last things you will be remembered by to be a genuine, “I’m really interested in this role and would love the opportunity to work for you!”

  1. If I follow-up after an interview I will just look needy or desperate.

Actually just the opposite is true. Following up with the decision makers demonstrates you are interested in the role and excited about joining the company. It helps you control the job search process more. And if you mention you will follow up at the end of the interview – you are demonstrating you are good to your word – a skill employers like to see. Drop off or mail a thank you card. This will differentiate you from the other interviewees as they most likely won’t follow up or will email a follow-up thank you.

Differentiating yourself from the average jobseeker is what successful interviewing is all about. Try a few of these steps and see the results. Your next job is just around the corner.

*Names changed to protect confidentiality

(Originally posted on Noomii Career Blog)


Holiday Party Etiquette 101


At this time of year holiday parties and events are all around us. Whether you are a job seeker or already working at a company, navigating holiday parties can be tricky at times. After all, you don’t want to make a fool of yourself after one too many cups of punch or stand out like a sore thumb in your best ugly Christmas sweater at a black tie affair.

Here are some tips that might ease the way…

Dress appropriately

‘Tis the festive season but that does not give you a license to dress however you wish. My advice? Dress professionally. It’s great to roll out that party dress or Christmas tie. However, avoid anything too low-cut, with too much skin showing or that’s outlandish, and leave the denim for the weekend. After all, it’s the holidays and a great excuse to get dressed up! And, of course, if they have a set a specific dress code or theme, dress accordingly.

To drink (alcohol) or not to drink?

Here’s where your mom’s advice can come in handy. If you do drink, drink in moderation. Years ago a colleague of mine got so drunk he rode down the stairs on the ice-sculpture (a Santa on a motorcycle) at the company party. Sadly, to this day (he no longer works for the company), he is remembered most for this antic. Don’t be that person. You want to be remembered for your sparkling personality and your good conversation, not for any holiday stunts or drunk infused stupor.

Dancing anyone?

If you feel like hitting the dance floor, do it! But, again the rule of thumb I recommend is to keep it tasteful. Dancing a little too close with the CEO might not be appropriate and may cause some water cooler conversations come Monday. However, dancing in general is definitely a good thing. Time to enjoy some festive activities.

What are some conversation starters?

This time of year is a great time to be curious about others, whether they are your co-workers or other attendees of a colleague’s party or networking event. Ask questions and really listen. It’s not often we do this and especially this time of year when everyone is so busy. Try to take a moment to really listen to what someone is saying. You might try asking them what their holiday traditions are – keeping in mind everyone is different and there are many different holidays celebrated at this time of year. Avoid conversations around politics or religion. Try asking if they have time off and, if so, what they might be doing. Or if they have plans for the New Year. Being curious about others is a great way to start the conversation.


It’s a great time of year to network. In December, people are in a good mood and are often more generous with their time. I’ve had clients presented with job offers at this time of year – so networking could bring you some great leads and maybe even a job offer. Remember when networking, it is a two-way street. Ask how you can help the other person with their networking. Maybe there is someone you can connect them with. If you are job searching, a great tip is to mention companies/organizations you are interested in working for. Be open, thank people for their help and remember to follow-up. Having business cards with you is also appropriate.

‘Tis the season for giving, so bring a giving mind-set to the events or parties you attend. See just what happens. There just might be a Christmas miracle out there…

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

(Originally posted on Noomii Career Blog)


Why Informational Interviews Are Essential to Your Career Change

Have you ever thought about changing your career, but wondered how to even begin?

Information Interviews are one of the best ways to discover what careers are available in your communities and how they may (or may not!) work for you. The information you can gain from information interviews can provide you with so much more than what you can get from social media or the internet.

Why would someone take the time to talk or meet with me?

People are often hesitant about approaching employers to conduct an information meeting. Having done over 20 information interviews over 3 career transitions I can tell you that employers are willing to give you the time, and more often that not welcome the interactions.

Here are 4 reasons why:

  1. People like to talk about themselves – think about the common question you are often asked when you meet someone at a party or event – what do you do?
  2. Proactive employers are always looking for new employees (even when there are no openings). There is always turnover in companies and so it makes sense to have people in mind in case openings happen. Smart employers know this.
  3. Employers may be looking to move to another industry, company or transition to a new career themselves, so they will be open to networking opportunities.
  4. Most employers also like to help people out – it’s human nature to want to help others. And by meeting people in person employers can learn a lot more about them, than can be found on a resume, application, or the web.

Pitfalls of approaching employers

When contacting employers to meet for an information interview avoid these pitfalls:

  • Asking for time – but not being specific.

Ideally you want to ask for 15-20 minutes of their time (conveniently a coffee break). This helps address the objection: “I’m too busy.” Honour the time you have asked for – making sure you wrap up when you said you would. Often employers will give you more time – but ensure you honour the time asked first.

  • Making it all about you!

Yes you want the employer to understand about your qualifications, but remember this meeting is about research – you are researching the company, the person you are meeting with and their role. It’s not about you monopolizing the conversation about how great you are!

  • Not asking for referrals

Always end your meeting with, “Do you know someone I could speak to further about _______ (particular career, industry, role)?

  • Being unprepared.

I’ve also conducted many information interviews from the employer’s side and seen my fill of too many unprepared jobseekers. Take the time to do a little research on the company prior to your meeting so you avoid asking obvious questions that can be answered by your research.

Compile a list of questions you plan to ask so use the employer’s time wisely. This also shows you are organized and can manage time – both skills employers are looking for in new employees.

  • Lack of follow-up

Always follow up with a written thank you card after your meeting. Not an email that is easily deleted.

Continue to check in once a month with the person you met with, with a short note, email or call. Keep your new contacts in the loop as to how your research is going. If they do refer you to someone else to meet, ensure you thank them and let them know once you’ve met their referral how the meeting went.

Becoming a Therapist: Physical Therapy vs. Occupational Therapy

Progressus Therapy illustrates in this great infographic the knowledge that can be gained from an information interview. It demonstrates the differences between a career as an Occupational Therapist and as a Physical or Physio Therapist. Progressus Therapy is a national company that partners with school districts and early intervention programs to match therapy candidates with careers. They’re focused on placing professionals in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology, but they also offer a wide variety of careers on their site ( *

So why not try doing an information interview. It just might be the start to a new career! Reach out to me or another coach if you need the support to begin doing these meetings!

*Thanks to Samantha Trejo, Straight North for providing this infographic.

(This article was originally posted on Noomii Career Blog)


Intention + Focus = Results

Have you ever noticed that when you get a dog or a new car that all of a sudden you notice them more? When we bought our Golden Retriever suddenly everywhere I went I saw Golden Retrievers. Where were these Goldens before? Was there suddenly a huge increase in the breeding of Golden Retrievers, and everyone had one? Of course not, it was just now my attention was pulled to that type of dog. Looking to buy a new car? Maybe it’s a Volkswagon bug. Your attention will refocus and you will start to notice all the other cute bugs out there.  Just became pregnant? Bingo you will now notice all the other pregnant women around you. You start to notice the things you put your attention on. These things were there all the time, but you just didn’t see them.

I call this “putting it on the radar”. There’s a part of our brains called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS filters through our subconscious brain millions –actually about 11 million data bits – of information every second! And yet our conscious brain can only process about 40 bits of info per second.

Everything we hear, see, feel and experience daily goes into our subconscious. The RAS tells us to focus on particular information. Part of its job is to filter all this information from our subconscious. Where we choose to focus can change our thinking, intentions and results, and affect all areas of our life.

So what can this knowledge do for us? If you are a coach and you make a conscious choice to focus on one aspect of your coaching business, your brain will get that message. Say for instance you want to have 5 new clients in the next month. By writing down your goal where you can see it every day, your brain starts to believe it is a reality and results will happen. My business coach likes to call it “Measure what you treasure.” All of a sudden your intention is on growing your business, and you are tracking specific goals to see the results.  You are telling the RAS in your brain that these goals are important. Your RAS tells your unconscious mind to filter the info – in this case your goals – and move the info to your conscious mind.

One way activate your conscious mind is to choose a goal or two, write them down and then look at them at least once a day. I actually recommend looking at them twice a day – first thing in the morning, and last thing at night. Say it out loud – don’t just read it. Then track where you are with your goal. For instance as a coach you might choose to track your client base and the growth you want.  You could record:  “5 clients in the next month.” Then track your progress and record your growing clientele beside the “5”. Now watch the results. Business owners – what’s important for you to focus on?

Job seekers can apply the same principals. For example, by focussing on wanting a job in the hospitality industry, all of a sudden you will see help wanted signs everywhere, articles about that new hotel being built, or maybe a newscast with expansion plans for a restaurant chain. All this information can help you move forward with your goal of  working in that industry. Your radar is now alerted to everything in the hospitality industry and your brain will register that and lead you there.

So what do you want your brain to filter; what’s on your radar? Whether you are a coach, jobseeker, business owner, or someone wanting change in your life, try this out. Purposely focus on what you really want, then watch as you achieve results you’ve only dreamed of.

For more details on how to set your intention and focus on the companies you really want to work for contact Mary via email: [email protected]


Tapping into the Hidden Job Market – a Targeted Job Search

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”  –  Henry Ford

So how do you look for work? Most people involved in a career/job search look at websites, social media and even the old classified ads for jobs. Because most people conduct their job search this way the competition is fierce and results are not always that great.

What if there was a better way to increase your results and get those job interviews?

What if instead of the ads dictating where the jobs were, you targeted where you want to work and stood out from the competition?

There is a better way! Check out these steps below:

Where Do you Want to Work? Consider where you want to work. How do you do that? Do your research. Think about the industry you would like to work in. Are you a corporate gal, or more of a grassroots person, or do you want to give back – maybe a non-profit? Talk to people in places you would like to work or even begin your career.

Start Your Leads List. What’s that? It’s a list of companies/organisations that you are interested in. Along with contact information of the decision makers. Hint: that’s not the HR department.

Time for Research. Head to the web and yes, even the library. Check out the business section of the library and look at their databases, publications – Business in Vancouver is a great resource, so are the business sections in the newspapers, check out annual reports – if the company publicly trades, and even the yellow pages. Look at what companies are expanding, what’s the latest and greatest.

Build That List. Now that you have company names, do your research – take a look at what the company is about, see if you can find a decision-maker’s name.

Reach out to Employers. From your leads list start to make calls. Talk to the people who make the decisions – that’s the CEO’s, Executive Directors and Managers.

Ask for the Interview! The goal is to get face-to-face with the decision-maker.

For more details on how to tap the hidden job market and focus on the companies you really want to work for contact Mary via email: [email protected]


The Significant Benefits of Journaling in your Life and Career

Keeping a journal on a regular basis can change your life and work in a very positive way. There are different types of journals and different ways to journal. Let’s examine them.

Journal types

Journaling is often done with paper and pen. Some people prefer this, as they find they are freer and more creative when actually writing. There are some great journal books available (such as the highly popular Bullet Journal). Journals come in various forms including hardcover books, with simple blank pages inside, to allow for writing and sketching or doodling. Other journals are simply lined books. Still, other journals have prompts where they ask questions or inquiries.

Examples of questions could include:

  • What are you grateful for today?
  • What are your intentions today?
  • What are you avoiding?
  • How might you increase your happiness today?

Journaling can also be done online and is a popular option. Some of my clients find this a more convenient way to journal, as they just need access to a journaling app or program. With a cloud based-app/program you can journal on your laptop, tablet, phone or computer. Online journals/diaries are used for travel, tracking food or exercise, self-reflection and personal growth. Penzu, DearDiary and JRNL are a few popular journal programs available.

Whichever form you choose to journal – it’s a personal decision. My client Cheryl*, a busy executive and Mom of two boys, loves to use Penzu to journal. Penzu is a free app that allows Cheryl to log in from anywhere and record her thoughts. It is password protected, so your journal entries are kept private and cannot be read by others.

Four Benefits of Journaling

1. Accountability to yourself and your career/life goals

Journaling can provide clarity in both your career and life. It can show you what you’ve accomplished in the past and speak to your future goals. It’s also a great place to visualize what you really want in all aspects of your career and life, capture your goals and celebrate when you achieve them! Journaling is useful to reflect on your challenges and to help look at different solutions that you might not have thought of previously.

Cheryl* says, “For me, journaling has helped me remain grounded and accountable to both my personal and career development goals. It is my safe place to explore what’s working; what needs improvement and what I am proud of! If too much time has lapsed between my journaling that’s when I know I am not practicing life balance… it’s my cue to “get back to myself” so I can be a better colleague, parent, spouse etc. For me journaling is a personal investment that pays big time in terms of a more meaningful and fulfilling life!”

2. Focusing on the positive – gratitude journals

Studies show that when we are grateful on a daily basis our lives can benefit. Keeping a gratitude journal is one way to express your gratitude. It can be as simple as recording one or two things you are grateful for every day. When we focus on the positive, other areas of our life and career often benefit as well.

3. Reducing overwhelm

When my clients are overwhelmed in their work and family life I often recommend they do “brain dumps.” This is where they write down everything they are thinking about to clear all the messages from their head. It’s like taking the mental to-do list and getting it out and onto paper so to speak. First thing in the morning or before bed are good times to practice this. Often the result is relief that what they imagined was so overwhelming in fact is not as bad as they initially thought.

My client Jennifer* says, “Journaling is a way for me to tap into the sub-conscious. It’s a way for me to put pen to paper and pour my soul out, not exactly knowing where it will take me and often surprises me on what comes out. It’s also the best way for me to release something, for once it’s put on paper, it doesn’t have to take space up in my brain.”

Writing “morning pages” is similar to a brain dump. Conceived by author Julia Cameron, and discussed in her book The Artist’s Way.

Julia insists to do your morning pages correctly, you must write three pages a day (on paper) when you first awake in the morning – thus the morning pages. In a recent blog post she suggested, maybe her morning pages should be called mourning pages, since you are emptying your head of every conscious thought – both negative and positive.

What’s the benefit of doing this? By developing the habit of morning pages you clear your mind and get it all out on paper, you’re freeing up valuable brain space for other things and giving your productivity a boost. Deep-seated thoughts will come out, which frees up your brain to become more creative and you can begin to view things from different perspectives.

4. Health benefits

According to research from the American Psychological Association, journaling can help improve your immune system and reduce the symptoms of even life-threatening diseases. I think my friend, Barb*, whose husband and herself suffered from cancer says it best how journaling impacted her life:

“I need to write and write and write. Journaling is one of the ways I grow, one of the ways I heal and one of the ways I make room fro laughter and fun in my daily life. I couldn’t laugh and joke and skip and play if I didn’t journal. Journaling has let me talk to my dearest friends to loved ones that are no longer here. Journaling has helped me heal daily from the onslaught of medical problems. I can look back at the past __ years and recognize my own growth, like the height markings on the kitchen wall.”

University of Texas psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker believes that regular journaling strengthens our immune cells. Other research indicates that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Pennebaker contends that writing about stressful events in your life can help you come to terms with them and accept them, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on your physical health and well-being.

Whether you prefer traditional journaling in a book or like the convenience of online, why not try journaling? Make the time today and see what the impact will be!

*Names changed to protect confidentiality

(Originally posted on Noomii Career Blog)


What Training do Career Coaches Have?

“Career coach training is as varied as coaches themselves.”

The coaching industry is not regulated. So what does that mean to someone looking to hire a career coach? It means that anyone can throw their hat into the ring and call themselves a career coach. Whether someone has taken a one-year course, a weekend online course or no training at all, they can legally call themselves a career, business or life coach.

In order to get a qualified professional career coach, ask the coach about their experience, training and credentials. A safe bet is if the coach has a coaching accreditation from the International Coaching Federation (ICF). The ICF grants accreditation based on the courses you have taken from an accredited school, the number of hours you have coached, and a final written and oral exam.

When coaches get listed on Noomii, the company verifies which coaches have ICF accreditation. Then once the credential is verified, Noomii prominently displays the relevant ICF accreditation on the coach’s profile. When choosing a coach, you may want to ask them if they have an ICF designation. This guarantees that you are dealing with a certified coach that adheres to ICF standards and ethical guidelines.

The ICF has three designations:

  • Associate Certified Coach (ACC) – 60 training hours + 100 hours of experience
  • Professional Certified Coach (PCC) – 125 training + 750 hours of experience
  • Master Certified Coach (MCC) – 200 training hours + 2500 hours of experience

Career Coach Training

When looking at a career coach’s training find out where they obtained their coach’s training, how many coaching hours were involved and if they have ICF certification.

ICF accredited schools

The ICF lists approximately 100 accredited coach training schools. Here are some of the biggest ones:


In Canada, UBC, SFU and Royal Rhodes are all universities that offer accredited coaching programs.

The US also has many options, such as:

What else is there to consider with career coach training? This depends on the type of career coaching you want and where you are in the process. Let’s take a look at some of the different services and tools used by career coaches at different stages in the career process.

Career Exploration

If you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up and lack focus, you may benefit from a career coach that has a career exploration background. This type of coach may offer assessment tools to supplement their coaching. Most assessments create awareness around your personal values and beliefs and where your blind spots might be. Alternatively great results can also happen with a coach who listens deeply, is curious and asks powerful questions – It’s really up to you.

Let’s take a look at a few of the many assessment tools that a career coach may be trained in.

Career & Personality Assessment Tools

Strong Interest Inventory (SII)

A questionnaire that analyzes your interests in general areas and specific occupations. Your results indicate where your interests fit in six areas: social (helping, instructing), conventional (accounting, processing data), artistic (creating or enjoying art), investigative (research, analyzing), enterprising (selling, managing) and realistic (building, repairing).

The Leadership Circle Profile (TLCP)

It’s a competency based 360 degree assessment that measures leadership types and is rooted in Appreciative Inquiry.

O*NET Interest Provider

This is based on the Holland Codes. It helps people discover their interests through a 60-question assessment that looks at various work activities. This information can lead to career types people may wish to explore further under the guidance of a career coach.


This tool describes your strengths, priorities and challenges of your behavioural style primarily in one of four areas:

D= Dominance; I=Influence; S=Steadiness; C=Conscientiousness

Kolbe Index

A strength-based assessment that measures the actions you take based on your natural instincts.


As the title indicates it is a self assessment to identify your strengths. Once you do the assessment your coach unpacks the learning and how it relates to you and your potential careers

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

Myers Briggs is one of the most popular and well-known personality assessments. The tool based on Carl Jung’s work was developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and her Mother, Katharine Briggs. It describes your personality type based on how you perceive the world and make decisions. You are assigned a 4 digit code such as INFP that describes your personality type.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator - Career Coach Training/Assessment Tool

Personality Dimensions

Personality Dimensions is another type of personality assessment. It is also based on the work Carl Jung, as well as David Keirsey and Linda Berens. It incorporates the Introvert/Extrovert piece. Rather than letters, the assessment uses four colours to describe which personality temperament dominates. (Inquiring Green, Organized Gold, Authentic Blue and Resourceful Orange). Of course people are more rainbow or plaid, in other words a combination of colours.

True Colors

True Colors was the first to use four colours (Green, Gold, Blue and Orange) to describe someone’s personality temperament. Founded by Don Lowry in 1978, some say this is derived from theory found with Hippocrates and Plato around character and personality.

Insights Discovery

Also based on 4 colours (not related to Personality Dimensions or True Colors). It also provides insight into your personality, interpersonal skills, communication and relationships.

Job Search Techniques

If you know what career you are interested in, but don’t know where to look or how to proceed, a career coach that has a background in job search techniques may be a good fit. They can assist you with everything from developing a strong marketing package (resume, cover letter, career portfolio) to providing the nuts and bolts of a successful interview.  This type of career coach can help you with the mechanics of job search and even enable you to receive a better salary.

Darleen* was a client of mine who was a new immigrant and had very little Canadian work experience. As a result she thought she couldn’t ask for a competitive wage when it came time to negotiate her salary in a new job. We worked together and Darleen saw the value she offered to employers. When it came to salary negotiation, Darleen did her research and countered with a wage that was $2 per hour higher than what the employer originally offered. And what happened? Darleen got the wage she asked for!

Career Designations

Other qualifications a career coach may possess are designations:

  • Job Club Leadership Training Certification (JCLT)

Now what to do with all this information?

As you can see, the training a career coach can have is widespread and varied. When choosing a career coach first determine if you have sufficient focus and want to work with a coach that specializes in career exploration, or one that focuses on job search techniques, or possibly one that has experience in both areas. Next, ask the coach what credentials and experience they possess. Don’t rule out their overall experience, because it might be the deal breaker.

Whether you choose a career coach who has a portfolio full of assessments, or a coach that has accredited coach training and extensive experience, the choice is ultimately yours. By being informed you can make the right choice for you. And lastly, no matter what qualifications and experience a career coach has, it is up to you to find a career coach that is the right fit for you. One that you can trust, feel comfortably with and relate to. Many career coach’s offer a sample session, which is a great place to determine if the coach is a match for you!

*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality

(Originally posted on Noomii Career Blog)


How to Re-enter the Workforce With Confidence After 10 Years

What is it like to re-enter the workforce after 5, 10 or even 15 years?

Are you scared, excited, worried, lacking confidence, stuck or unsure where to begin? These might be some of the feelings you are experiencing when thinking about returning to the workforce after a significant time away. However, if you take a look at what you’ve been doing while you’ve been off work and take an inventory of the skills you’ve learned, you’ll be able to re-enter the workforce with confidence no matter how long you’ve been away.

Highlight what you were doing while not working

It’s important to first identify what you were doing during your time away from traditional work. Were you looking after a parent or an in-law? Or were you raising a family? Or maybe you took a sabbatical. Whatever the reason, it is valuable to include this information in your resume as it will account for any time gaps.

When looking for candidates to hire, human resources executive Roberta Fidalgo said that she is looking for someone with transferable skills and the willingness to learn.

“There are many skills that are transferable, such as leadership, sales, project management and problem solving. For example, these skills can be gained during the time you were providing child or elder care, volunteering in your community, leading the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) at school or managing a renovation. These are absolutely invaluable and can help you in returning to the workforce.”

Take a skills inventory

Next, I recommend doing a skills inventory. So what exactly does that mean? It means taking a full inventory of what you have done during your time out of the workforce. People often discount valuable experience they have gained while doing other things that are not considered traditional “work”.

Here’s an example: my client Donna* was asked to consult on what colours the church she attended should be repainted. Donna had an eye for colour and design and was a great asset when the church decided to redecorate. These are transferable skills that can be used in a new career like interior design.

Bobby*, another client and stay-at-home mom, has volunteered to do catering events at her church. She purchased food and beverages, organized volunteers, ensured the food was prepared according to health standards and arranged the food in a pleasing manner – all skills that could be used in event planning, catering, restaurant management or maybe running a business. Work does not need to be paid to be valuable to employers.

List volunteer work/community service

People often discount the value of doing volunteer work or community service. Employers want to see volunteering on a resume. Why? It shows that you want to give back to the community, as well as that you have been developing skills while away from “traditional paid work.” Again, the skills you have learned here can be invaluable in getting your next job. Just think of that time you organized a parent-teacher fundraiser or your child’s After Grad. There are some great skills here that you can contribute to your next job.

Identify transferable skills

Now that you have done an inventory of your skills it will be helpful to look at how they might transfer into your next job. Whether you are doing a career transition into something completely different or returning to an old job, every skill acts as a stepping stone towards your new job.

Let’s take a look at the example again of Bobby*, who has been homeschooling her three sons for over 10 years. Any thoughts on what some of her skills may be? Well, Bobby deals with whining and grumpy children almost daily. She also encourages them to learn new things and uses different methods to appeal to their learning style. And on a regular basis they do art, math and social studies. So how does that transfer into skills for the workforce? Check it out!

  • Handling complaints, client (your kids) or customer (teachers, volunteering)
  • Motivating people, groups (again your kids or maybe even looking after another mom’s kids)
  • Using various methods to present information to appeal to different learning styles – sketching diagrams, pictures, charts (homeschooling)

There are many more skills that come out of homeschooling but these are just a few to get you thinking.

Re-enter the workforce with a career coach

Now you may be wondering how you can uncover all those great skills you’ve learned and gathered during your time off. Working with a career coach can help you identify those transferable skills and more. A career coach offers you an unbiased perspective, and can really draw out those experiences, personal qualities and attributes that make you unique and valuable to an employer. A career coach will provide structure, help you increase your confidence and set up a plan to re-enter the workforce in a position that you love!

*Names have been changed to protect confidentiality

(Originally posted on Noomii Career Blog)