I had recently worked with an accountant who’d been to 17 (yes, seventeen!) interviews in the last several weeks, yet she still hadn’t secured a job offer. Her interview technique was very poor though, and I was very pleased that after our session, she secured a job offer after her next interview.

I’ve also worked with a senior manager who got through to the final interview stage 4 times in recent weeks – he was obviously pretty strong already, so we only had to tweak his interview technique and delivery style a little bit for him to succeed within a short time frame.

I’d also spoken to someone else, let’s call her Kate. Kate has been looking for a new job for 7 months now. We had a conversation, and she’s told me about all the negative interview feedback she’d been receiving. I knew I could help her having dealt with hundreds of similar clients before. Yet Kate didn’t want to spend any money as she wasn’t working right now.

That got me thinking about a lot of other people I come across who are just like Kate. They view investing in their career as a cost, not an investment.

They don’t realize that looking for a job is like running a business. 

I know you’ve probably heard this before. But let’s get real with it. When a business hires a consultant, it is viewed as an investment not a cost. ROI is determined. Need is greater than cost. And a decision is made. (plus consultants are tax deductable)

I find it strange that job seekers don’t see their career coaches as a similar investment.

Instead most people make the mistake of only looking at the price tag. And that is bad business.

After all, your career or interview coach may be able to shave months off of your job search (if they are any good, that is). There are plenty of average ones out there.

So how do you determine your investment?

First, think about how much you used to earn. Let’s say that is £3,000 per month.

Therefore, the opportunity cost of not having a job is £3,000 per month minus unemployment benefits (if you have any).

You lose £3,000 every month. 

Kate I’ve mentioned before used to be on £56k per year in her previous job. Even if her new job was only going to be £50k per year, she’s already lost out on close to £30k by not working and not getting any support that would get her the result she is looking for.

A good interview/career coach or some kind of job search program will cost you between £200 (if you only need one session) and £1500 in total. An interview coaching session will cost you £150-£300.

I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve seen who have been out of work for months (in one case 2 years!) and who got a job within several weeks (sometimes within a week!) of working with me. The same clients who thought spending £200 on getting some support was ‘too expensive’ ended up losing out on £10k, £20, £50k by not getting the support they needed and wasting months on unsuccessful interviewing.

What Questions Should I Ask?

When deciding on a career/interview coach or job seeking program, you only really need to know if they can help you get a result. So ask them:
• What is the average number of months your clients take to get a job?
• How many job interviews do you think you can help me get per week?
• What is your success rate?
• What is your recruitment/interviewing experience? (There are a lot of consultants out there who’ve never worked in recruitment, they probably can’t find jobs themselves and so they pretend to help others find employment)

Where to Start

If you don’t know what you want to do or want a complete career change, you really need to see a career change expert. Someone who can help you with self-assessments and personality matching. I don’t specialize in career change myself but I could recommend someone if you were interested.

If you happen to like my advice and think that I can shave some months off of your job search, please answer a few questions at www.talkwithmargaret.com and I’ll contact you to find out more about your situation.

Remember, never think of a consultant, coach or training program as a cost. Think of it as an investment. Calculate the benefits of that investment intelligently. And you could be back to work or in a new, great job sooner that you think. 


Margaret Buj is an Interview Coach who’s helped hundreds of professionals across Europe and the US to get the jobs and promotions they really wanted. Margaret also has 9 years of experience recruiting for a variety of positions at all levels across Europe and in the US, primarily in technology and e-commerce sectors. If you want to find out how recruiters read resumes, why you are not getting hired, how to sell yourself successfully in a job interview, and how to negotiate your best salary yet, you can download her FREE “You’re HIRED!” video course.




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