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Interview Tips

Congratulations! You've been called in for a job interview. Don't squander your good fortune and hard work by being unprepared or making a bad impression. The first impression you make on an interviewer will determine your viability as a job candidate, so put your best foot forward as soon as you walk in the door.

During the Interview:

Listen carefully.

Answer questions directly, honestly, and enthusiastically. Embellish with examples that clarify. Don't answer simply "yes" or "no."

Exude maturity, self confidence, and leadership potential -- sell yourself by emphasizing the positive.

Use plenty of eye contact and smile often.

Remember, the interviewer's decision is based on "What can this person do for us?"

Relate past experiences to the job for which you are applying. Emphasize transferable skills.

Never:

  • Lie or exaggerate.

  • Take someone else along with you to the interview.

  • Smoke or chew gum.

  • Arrive late or hassled.

  • Criticize a former employer.

  • Wear inappropriate clothing, i.e. jeans to a bank, or suit for construction work.

After the Interview:

Send a thank you letter restating your interest and qualifications.

Analyze and learn from the interview:

  • Did I present my qualifications to the best advantage?

  • What points did I make that seemed of interest?

  • Did I miss any opportunities to sell myself?

  • Did I talk too much ... too little?

  • Was I too tense ... too aggressive ... too timid?

  • How can I improve for my next job interview?

Was some of my interview time wasted by anything that could be deleted, added, or clarified in my resume?

The following are the 15 mistakes most frequently made by interviewees:

1. Poor appearance and grooming

2. Weak speaking and listening skills

3. Lack of courtesy and friendliness

4. Lack of confidence, interest, ambition, or enthusiasm

5. Bragging or being condescending

6. Evasive or dishonest replies

7. Lack of eye contact

8. Contradictory facts and comments

9. A cold and distant attitude

10. Tactless and emotionally volatile statements

11. Lack of a sense of humor

12. Too much emphasis on money and benefits

13. High-pressure selling techniques

14. Extremely verbose, or very abrupt, answers

15. Improper grammar and use of slang expressions


MORE ON INTERVIEWING

Know yourself and review your accomplishments, so that when the occasion presents itself you can illustrate your areas of strength.

Dress appropriately, neatly, and conservatively, attending to all elements of personal grooming. Plan to be on time or slightly early so you will be relaxed, but not more than ten minutes early.

Be polite and personable to everyone you encounter. People hire people they like and whom their secretaries like.

When you are with the person you came to see, let him/her indicate where you should sit, and avoid leaning or placing anything on his/her desk.

Be careful to avoid showing signs of nervousness -- scratching, drumming fingers, playing with hair, etc. Try to relax!

Demonstrate enthusiasm, interest, confidence, because that's the way you are -- not because you need a job.

Take the positive view of things. Modesty can be seen as weakness. You should not boast, but need not be apologetic. Even mistakes can be shown to have been valuable experiences.

Never talk to an interviewer about personal problems. Your problems will weaken your case.

Avoid premature salary discussions. Don't talk money until your value has been built and understood. And do not seem concerned primarily with salary and benefits for yourself; these will be negotiated at an appropriate time.

Be an interested listener and observer. Then what you say and ask will be relevant and meaningful to the interviewer.

Always protect the confidence of a past employer, and don't talk negatively about your experience there. Be understanding of any difficulties the employer may have had, including those which caused you to leave.

Ask questions to emphasize your desire to understand the organization's expectations and be reasonably sure you will find the work challenging and appropriate to your strengths. But be careful to avoid the "what's in it for me?" attitude.

Above all, be yourself, and not what you think someone else expects.

INTERVIEW DO'S & DON'TS

Do research the company

Don't neglect appearance

Do prepare questions to ask

Don't give limp handshakes

Do practice your answers

Don't lack energy

Do bring paper and pen

Don't be rude

Do bring an extra resume

Don't be too familiar

Do be on time

Don't emphasize money

Do dress appropriately

Don't be indecisive

Do maintain eye contact

Don't be unprepared

Do wait to be seated

Don't criticize anyone

Do be positive

Don't name drop

Do be honest

Don't make excuses

Do show you're a team player

Don't be too aggressive

Do send a follow-up letter

Don't talk too much

Do ask about the next step

Don't use jargon & abbreviations

Do create a lasting impression

Don't joke to answer questions

Do learn from each interview

Don't memorize answers to questions

 

Don't know it all!

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