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- Think of the interview as a relay game in which you and the manager pass a “baton” back and forth with the common goal of figuring out if you and the employer’s organization are a winning combination.
- Research the company. By knowing as much as possible about the organization you’re interviewing with, you’ll be able to speak about topics that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
- Learn about your interviewer. Try to dig up one or two things about her accomplishments, history with the organization, outside interests—anything that will help you break the ice and speak to her about things she’s interested in.
- Create a portfolio of your work. If you have samples of projects you want to show the interviewer, organize them in a folder or briefcase and bring them with you.
- Make a list of questions you want to ask in order to decide if you want to accept a job offer.
- Get clear directions to the interview site and arrive on time—or early—for your meeting.
- A professional-looking outfit is bound to impress most employers, even if you wouldn’t usually dress up that much everyday on the job. Here’s a rule of thumb: Dress one notch above what you’d wear to a typical day at work. Women should be sure to dress modestly and should not wear perfume, bulky jewelry, or excessive makeup. Guys, stay away from the cologne… although a little deodorant is good.
- When you pack your bag for the interview, be sure to put in a few copies of your resume, a pen, note pad, and that list of questions you want to ask. Also bring your work portfolio -- samples of your work, if you have any (such as a brochure you wrote or a design your created), that's relevant to the job you're applying for.
- Your interview starts the minute you walk in the company's front door and lasts until you exit that door. So, keep your best foot forward from start to finish.
- Smile, especially when you first meet the interviewer. That first impression will stick in the manager’s mind for a long time.
- There’s nothing like a confident handshake! The right amount of tension in your grip is important—not too tight, not too limp.
- Eye contact is actually a form of communication and it has a magical ability to build rapport. So, make eye contact with your interviewer, both when you’re talking and when he’s talking.
- Try to have good posture that shows you’re alert and focused. Avoid negative body language. In other words, don’t cross your arms over your chest, don’t clench your fists, don’t clutch your purse or briefcase tightly, or do anything that might indicate insecurity, hostility, or resistance to change.
- Listen carefully to everything the interviewer says, and ask questions when you don’t understand something. Understanding each question will help you give the best response.
- Answer questions with an appropriate balance of confidence and modesty.
- Respond with answers based on PAR (Problem, Action, Result): What was a problem you faced? What action did you take to solve it? What was the result?
- Occasionally finish your answers with a relevant leading question. This will shift your interview from an interrogation to a dialog.
- Once in awhile, answer a question by saying what somebody else has said about you. Something like: “My supervisor always used to say, 'Bob’s the one you want around when it’s time to launch a product.'”
- It’s OK to be quiet for a minute before you answer a question. It’ll help you gather your ideas and give a good answer. The employer will appreciate the fact that you’re thoughtful.
- Be honest, even if that means saying you don’t know something or you don’t have a particular experience. At some point, you may need to say something like: “No, I’ve never done that, but here’s why I know I can do it, or why I think I’d be very good at it.”
- Be prepared to tell stories that demonstrate how you work with people, as the interviewer is undoubtedly curious as to how you'll fit in with his staff. Remember to weave your stories into the answers of pertinent questions.
- A great way to build rapport is to use your interviewer’s name when you answer a question. So learn his name, and, if it’s a tricky one, practice the pronunciation beforehand so it’ll roll off your tongue during your interview.
- Delay talking about salary history and expectations until you fully understand what is entailed in the job and you've had time to think about what is fair. (More about salary negotiations coming up.)
- When introduced to potential co-workers, be friendly. Your interviewer may be watching to see how you interact with his staff and may later ask employees how they liked you.
- Close the interview with "thank you".
- Send a thank you letter as soon as your interview is completed. After all, the employer took a chunk out of his day to give you a chance to win a job, so this is the time for you to say “thanks” —in writing.
Interview/Job Search Coach
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