Margaret Buj | Founder of Interview Coach
Success leaves clues
Finance Strategists sat down with Margaret Buj, founder of Interview Coach. She discussed the past, present, and future of the company, as well as the insight she gained from running the business.
Who is Margaret Buj?
Q: Who are you and what’s your background?
I have 15 years of experience of recruiting mostly for global technology companies such as Microsoft or Expedia across Europe & the US, and in the last 14 years, I’ve successfully coached thousands of job seekers to get the jobs and promotions they really wanted.
I’ve spoken at career events & conferences and I’ve done training sessions or workshops in London, Monaco, Athens & Saudi Arabia. My blog has been included in many “Best Career Blogs” rankings and my advice has been featured in Financial Times, Cosmopolitan, Total Jobs, and Management Today among others. I also publish YouTube videos related to job search and interviewing.
I am originally from Poland and have lived in London for 20 years.
Q: Who has been your biggest influence, and why did they have such a significant effect on you?
There hasn’t been just one person. There were lots of people who’ve inspired me – either through their books or online programs, as well as people I’ve learnt from during courses I’ve paid for or 1-1 coaching from business coaches.
It’s almost impossible to build a successful business by yourself, so even if you’re a solo entrepreneur like myself, there will be mentors, coaches or peers alongside you helping you achieve your long-term vision. I’ve worked with a few business coaches who’ve really helped me to progress my business.
I’ve also learnt from my mentors that no matter how much you know or how much you prepare, there will always be some things that won’t work – whether it’s individual strategies and campaigns that crash and burn or ideas that fizzle out entirely. Facing failure with the realization that it is, in some contexts, unavoidable, makes it easier to accept. I’ve also learnt that perfection is the enemy of progress and you’re never going to get it perfect on the first try. But be sure to balance your initiative’s “readiness” with agility and speed.
Q: Knowing what you know now, what would you have told yourself when you were in your twenties?
Just to keep going, as building a business and acquiring clients takes longer than most people expect it to. It’s important to have a tightly focused target market/niche and be consistent in taking the action steps to grow your business, such as creating content and posting on social media.
Q: What is Interview Coach?
Interview-Coach.co.uk helps professionals get hired, promoted, and paid more. I do mostly 1-1 coaching for job seekers to help them prepare for job interviews, but also corporate training e.g. interview training for managers and next month I am running a self-promotion webinar for a women’s network at an international investment bank.
I have extensive international experience in interviewing professionals at all levels, from students to senior executives across a number of industries, both in the private and public sectors. I am also experienced in working with prospective MBA students. Crucially, I understand how HR and Talent Departments work, what they’re looking for, and what turns them off.
Apart from mastering my clients’ interviewing skills, I help them in discovering their unique selling points and in creating a self-marketing strategy that enhances their reputation with a consistent online and offline brand presence.
I also help them to develop confidence and the attitude that will make it easier for them to get any job they want.
Q: What makes your company different from its competitors?
A lot of job coaches out there have never worked in recruitment and it’s really hard to be good at this job if you haven’t had first-hand experience of dealing with hundreds of job seekers and hiring managers. In my career, I’ve recruited in most countries in Europe, as well as in the US; across all functions and this has helped me to understand a variety of roles and be able to give my clients really specific advice.
Because of everything I’ve done, it’s often enough to speak to my client for 15 minutes to know exactly what needs to be improved. I’ve had a huge amount of client success stories including them getting offers on the day of the interview (sometimes just 10 minutes later!); or clients getting a job offer after 40 unsuccessful interviews the day after our session.
Q: What led you to start Interview Coach?
It happened a little bit by accident. I was already working in recruitment for almost 2 years, and I was looking for something I could start doing as a side hustle, but I wasn’t sure what it might be. One day, a friend of a friend who has been looking for a job for 8 months after losing his job contacted me as he knew I was working in recruitment and asked for my help as he didn’t know why he was failing all his interviews.
We spoke on the phone, worked on his confidence and interview technique and he started getting second interviews with good tech companies. We did one more session and not only did he get the job, but he’s been getting every job since then!
I thought there must be other people who’d need similar help and I decided to become an interview coach. I’ve already had 2 years of recruitment training and experience and later got my coaching qualifications, but extensive recruitment experience is really more important here than qualifications.
I was busy in my full-time job at the time, so one Sunday I did my research; another week I wrote content for my first ever (very basic!) website; then I created that first website from templates (the current one has been created professionally). A friend helped me with Google Ads and I had my first two clients in my first week.
Q: What has the experience of building the business taught you?
There were lots of lessons but one of them was to always invest in yourself. Whatever personal issues you have (e.g. procrastination, self-doubt) they will become major business problems if you don’t get a handle on them. And these issues, left unchecked, will have a direct impact on your bank account. To overcome this, invest in yourself, work on yourself and be willing to make the adjustments. Hire the right coach/mentor/advisor and IMPLEMENT what you learn. You will always, guaranteed, make your money back & your business will be more successful as a result.
Also, starting any business is a marathon, not a sprint. The first year is just about figuring out what you are doing. Don’t try to get everything right at once, things change and you just need to keep moving forward and adjusting as you go along.
Q: Where do you see things headed for you in the next 5 years?
For me personally I’d like to be happily married and purchase a property in London. In terms of business, I want to help even more people through my online course, articles, videos and 1-1 coaching and to get more involved in corporate training.