June 2, 2006, Newsletter Issue #48: The Interview Top Five

Tip of the Week

Sometimes the amount of information thrown at you to prepare for an interview can literally be overwhelming. These top five job-interview manners are the cream of the crop. Pay attention to these five potential deal-breakers, and you will significantly increase your chances that you’ll get the job.
1. Don’t be late. Late means late, even if you’re just one minute late. Travel to the site of the interview the day before to be sure you know how long it takes to get there. Then add an extra ten to twenty minutes to your schedule as a margin for error.
2. Be prepared. Some interview questions you can anticipate, others you can’t. The best way to stay calm is to recognize what you can control and prepare for that. Be sure to read up on the company through sources like their annual report and website; know your résumé and professional strengths by heart; and practice answering potential questions—out loud.
3. Dress one notch up. Visit the company’s reception area to check out how people dress. If you can’t make a pre-interview visit, call and ask someone in human resources what the office dress code is. Then dress in a conservative version of what you would wear if your job level were one notch above the position you’re applying for. Remember, this isn’t the time for pink patterned hose or gold chains.
4. Smile, speak clearly, and look your interviewer in the eye. Engage the interviewer, and let your personality shine through. You are showing her that you will represent her company well, and that you are a confident, can-do person. Be sure to answer questions in a clear confident manner—but be careful not to come off as a know-it-all. Ask pertinent questions about the company and the key responsibilities of the position you’re applying for.
5. Thank them twice. The first thank-you comes at the end of the job interview, along with a firm handshake and a clear statement of your appreciation for the time to meet. Then, that night at home, word-process your second thank-you on executive or standard 8.5x11” paper. Recap strong points from the interview, answer any questions that may have arisen, and provide any extra info you may have promised. Finally, thank the interviewer, express your hope for a positive outcome—and proofread your letter before sending it.

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