One of the biggest decisions job seekers make is to seek professional assistance to help find a job.  Many will turn to an interview coach, others may choose a career coach.  So, what are the differences between an interview coach and a career coach?

There’s a clear distinction between an interview coach and a career coach.  They offer very different services for different requirements.

There are also different reasons for hiring either a career coach or interview coach.  Of course, there are coaches that can help you with both your interview skills and career goals.

Here is some useful information that will explain the differences in their respective roles.

Interview Coach

differences between an interview coach and a career coach


Typically, an interview coach is working with individuals who recognise they need further support to handle the interview process.  Usually an interview coach is contacted by individuals who already have an important interview to attend.

There’s some urgency for these individuals to seek out professional support and guidance.  It’s often a job they really want to land.  These clients don’t want to take the risk of not being as prepared as they can.

This type of coaching session will be very specific to the job and company they have applied.  Although, the skills learnt will be highly relevant for future interviews.

A good interview coach will share the tools, techniques and tips on preparing for any type of interview.

Reasons people hire interview coaches:

  • Keep getting rejections (even if they know they can do the job)
  • Lack confidence or get nervous during interviews 
  • An important interview scheduled (possibly progression or promotion)
  • It’s been a while since they’ve attended an interview: Same job or company for years
  • School, college or university student: Never had an interview and don’t know what to expect and therefore, what or how to prepare

Here are some of the benefits of hiring an interview coach:

  • Learn about interview strategies and techniques
  • Understand the types of questions asked during an interview
  • What and how to prepare for any type of interview
  • Mock interview: A chance to practice and receive quality feedback
  • Insights on how hiring managers and recruiters make decisions
  • An understanding of the information gathered and used to assess competence

Career Coach

differences between an interview coach and a career coach


Career coaches will be looking at your entire career.  They may start by understanding your main career goals.

A Career Coach will want to understand your short, medium and longer-term goal and help you to map out a plan of action to get there.  Or they may be hired by individuals that don’t know their next step or want to change their career completely.

Reasons people hire career coaches:

  • Change career direction
  • Transition into a new sector (Public to Private)
  • Crossroads in their career and considering options
  • Unhappy or dissatisfied in their current job
  • No promotion or progression in current company
  • At risk of redundancy
  • No idea what they want to do

Here are some of the tools a career coach may use:

  • Conduct a full skills and knowledge audit: A SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)
  • Research the jobs market and factors affecting the market: Conduct a PESTLE Analysis (Political, Economic, Social, Technology, Legal and Environmental factors)
  • Create and design a continuous development plan and action steps towards the goal – to include, networking on and off line.


Interview Coach Career Coach
Interview formats and questions Supports career goals
Interview skills and techniques Information, Advice and Guidance
Build confidence and help you prepare Support accountability for action plan
Opportunity to practice skills (Mock Interview) Sounding board for ideas
Typically, 1 or 2 sessions 1-6 sessions depending on goals

The Importance Of The Relationship Between An Interview Coach And Their Client

All coaching regardless of topic should be bespoke to your requirements and needs.  Personally, I’d be wary of the “off the shelf” packages.

Everyone is starting from a different point.  Some of my previous clients have never attended an interview.  And even these clients come from different stages of their career.

Some have little work experience and others have decades of work experience.  I’ve coached clients for their first job interview to clients that are heads of department.

It’s important for both the coach and the client to make full use of the free consultation.  If you don’t get to talk to your coach – let that be a red flag.

You need to understand if they get what you need.  You need to be confident they can help you prepare and get you ready to face the next interview with confidence.

The consultation is also hugely beneficial to the coach.  I wouldn’t work with anyone without talking to them first.

I need to understand their previous experience and any feedback they may have received from past interviewers.  I want to be sure I understand the possible reasons why a client isn’t getting through the interview process.

I want to understand I can help them and there’s a chemistry that works well.