Interview Tips - Part One

Interview TipsInterviewing for Success

Research tells us that most hiring decisions are made at the first interview. How the prospective employer perceives you can be as important as your experience and job talents. Here are some interviewing tips that will help you get the job you want.

Before the Interview

Do your homework! Learn everything you can about the company and the position. Review your experience, and construct responses to potential interview questions about how your background will be of benefit to the prospective employer. Plan ahead! Have your outfit and accessories assembled at least the day before the interview. Dress for the job - don't over-dress, or look too casual. Collect and review all the materials you intend to bring to the interview.

This could include another copy of your resume, writing or presentation samples, or your professional portfolio.

The Interview

 Always go to the interview alone. Arrange for baby-sitters, transportation to anticipate pitfalls so that you can be on time and relaxed in the interview.

 Find common ground with the employer. Pictures, books, plants, etc. in the employer's office can be conversation starting points.

 Express your interest in the job and the company using information you gathered to prepare for the interview.

 Let the interviewer direct the conversation.

 Answer questions in a clear and positive manner. Show how your experience and training will make you productive in the shortest time with minimal supervision.

 Speak positively of former employers and coworkers no matter why you left even if you were fired from you last job.

 Let the employer lead into conversations about benefits. Your focus on these items can be a turn off. But don't be afraid to ask questions about things that you really need to know.

When discussing salary, be flexible about naming a specific salary. If you're too high, you risk not getting the job. If you're too low, you under-sell yourself. Answer questions about salary requirements with responses such as, "I'm interested in the job as a career opportunity so I'm negotiable on the starting salary." Negotiate, but don't sell yourself short.

Closing the Interview

If the employer does not offer you a job or say when you will hear about it, ask when you may call to find out about the decision.

If the employer asks you to call or return for another interview, make a written note of the time, date and place.

Thank the employer for the interview and reaffirm your interest and qualifications for the job.

After the Interview

Make each interview a learning experience. After it is over, ask yourself these questions:

 What points did I make that seemed to interest the employer?

 Did I present my qualifications well? Did I overlook qualifications that were important for the job?

 Did I learn all I needed to know about the job?

 Did I ask questions I had about the job?

 Did I talk too much? Too little?

 Was I too tense? Too relaxed?

 Was I too aggressive? Not aggressive enough?

 Was I dressed appropriately?

 Did I effectively close the interview?

Make a list of specific ways you can improve your next interview.

Remember, practice makes perfect - the more you interview the better you become at it.

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