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Interview Tips

 

Have You Tried These Interview Tips?

 Dress professionally Make eye contact 
   
 Research the company Have a firm handshake
   
 Get to know some of the company's employees  
  

Any of these pointers sound familiar? They should, because you've heard them thousands of times. While the above suggestions are great (and valid), the truth is that this kind of advice can get a bit generic.

We decided to turn the tables and make you -- the job seeker -- the expert. After all, you're the ones out there interviewing, so really, it's not too much of a stretch. We asked you to share what you've found to be successful during your interviews.

Check out these interview tips from real job seekers around the country. Have you tried any of them yet?

 

Ask the important questions

"One thing I always ask at the end of the interview is, 'Have I said anything that would lead you to believe I'm not the best person for this position?' This gives me an opportunity to clear up any misunderstandings and it also gives me a chance to redeem myself or explain where I am coming from on something. It also shows that if there's a problem, I am capable of fixing it." - Brooke Kelley, magazine editor

"During an interview, you are always told to have a set of questions to ask. A question that is helpful, that they do not expect -- 'I know you are interviewing a lot of candidates for this position and I'd like to leave this interview feeling like I've done my absolute best. Where do I stand in comparison to the other candidates so far?' – shows boldness and that you are aggressive in your job search." - Jeannie Lee, PR manager

It's not all about you

"The interview is not about the candidate, it's about the job. No matter how great you are as a person or employee, the interviewer is trying to fill a position. Hence, talk about the job as much as possible. Ask what a perfect candidate would be like. Only occasionally talk about yourself and only to show how you suit their requirements.

 

Research the company -- and the interviewer

 

"Find out some information about your interviewer(s). See if you share anything in common and understand that they're a person, too, with interests, background and hobbies. Whether or not you know who will interview you, you'd better make sure you know as much as possible about the company and don't be afraid to let them know what you know." - Josh Bob, regional manager

Can you take the heat?

I've found that saying that I can take constructive criticism has a big impact on employers. They need to know that you are not going to fold under scrutiny. Especially with the younger generation, where we have been coddled quite a bit with excessive praise and self-esteem boasters, you need to show you are resilient.

 

Make a list

 

List five things you've accomplished during your previous job and concentrate on those items during your interview. "Each time I prepared for an interview, I was reminded of five things that I had accomplished under my last employer. That gave me a boost of confidence when going to the interview. It helped me to decide how I wanted to frame the answers that I gave to the interviewer." - Sue Chehrenegar

 

Make it personal

 

"One thing that I do that has gotten positive feedback is I send a handwritten thank-you note. I have had numerous people comment and thank me for doing this." - Danny Kofke

 

Show your research

 

Print out a couple pages of the Web site from the company you're interviewing with and bring it with you to the interview. Keep it on top of your résumé ... when you open up your notebook or binder to take notes or pull out your résumé, the interviewer will see the printed company materials and assume you've done your research. Of course, ideally you have actually researched the company ... in which case you're showcasing that fact.

 

Know the job description

 

Reviewing the job description will help you customize your answers by addressing the specific needs of the organization and requirements of the position to your skill set. Many people have no idea what the job entails or how their skill set makes them better qualified.

 

Keep your answers to questions short and to the point

 

Don't volunteer extra information. In my case, I talked about my children. We discussed that I had been a stay-at-home mom. Even though I had impressive writing credentials, he told me that I wasn't a 'corporate person.' (His exact words.) Of course, I never learned if this was why a job offer wasn't forthcoming but I'm 99.9 percent sure I said too much.

 

Be gracious

 

Be polite to absolutely everybody. If someone gets you a cup of coffee, thank them; hold the door for someone else -- that kind of thing. Give the receptionist or the last person you see a cheery goodbye. You want to leave a good impression.

 

Speak as if you have the job

 

Steal a page from the presidential candidates and talk if as if you already have the job. Say 'I will," not 'I would.' 'I can,' not 'I could.' This will remove doubt instead of inject it. Bosses like someone confident and proactive.

 

Use social networks

 

You can get lots of my job interviews through social networks. You can get  get recommended through others and it is significantly better than applying and actually interviewing. They basically feel like they interviewed you already!

 

Want That Job? 6 Body Language Tips

 

Reading and understanding body language is critical to your success in a job interview.  Nonverbal communication equips you to understand what interviewers are thinking, helping you tweak your body language to get them to like you ... and offer you the job!

 

1.  The wet fish versus the bone crusher

 

The handshake tells a story about each of us. Do you shake hands softly? Do you come in from the top and deliver a "bone crusher"?  Aggressive people have firm handshakes; those with low self-esteem have limp, "wet fish" handshakes. 

A great handshake is a three-step process:

    Make sure your hands are clean and adequately manicured.

    Ensure hands are warm but free of perspiration.

   Execute your handshake professionally and politely, with a firm grip and a warm smile.

 

2.  The eyes have it

 

What's considered an appropriate amount of eye contact may vary in different countries.  In North America, 60 percent eye contact is a safe figure -- one that can give hiring managers a feeling of comfort about you.  More eye contact than this and you may seem too intense; any less and you risk appearing uninterested.

Eye-contact tips:

• When you meet the interviewer, look her right in the eyes, then think to yourself, "Wow, so great to finally meet you!"  This will make you smile, and she'll pick up on your positive mood.  When we look at someone we find interesting, our pupils dilate, a phenomenon the other person instinctively picks up on.

• During a job interview, keep your eye contact in the upside-down triangle area of your interviewer's face: from the left eyebrow, to the nose, back up to the right eyebrow.

Warning: Staring at a person's lips is considered sexual, while looking at their forehead is considered condescending.

 

3.  Get it straight

 

Posture is an important thing to master on an interview: Get your posture straight and your confidence will rise with it.  Next time you notice you are feeling a bit down, pay attention to how you are sitting or standing.  Chances are you'll be slouched over with your shoulders drooping down and inward.  This collapses the chest and inhibits breathing, which can make you feel nervous or uncomfortable. 

 

4.  Get a "head" of the game

 

When you want to feel confident and self-assured during an interview, keep your head level, both horizontally and vertically.  Also assume this position when your goal is to be taken seriously.  Conversely, when you want to be friendly and in the listening, receptive mode, tilt your head just a little to one side or the other.

 

5.  Arms lend a hand, too

 

Arms offer clues as to how open and receptive we are, so keep your arms to the side of your body.  This shows you are not scared to take on whatever comes your way.

Quieter people tend to move their arms away from their body less often than outgoing people, who use their arms with big movements.  Keep gestures within the frame of your body, or you'll risk being seen as out of control.  Avoid the negative action of crossing your arms during the interview.

Here are two common perceptions of hand gestures:

         Palms slightly up and outward: open and friendly

         Palm-down gestures: dominant and possibly aggressive

 

6.  Get a leg up on the competition

 

Our legs tend to move around a lot more than normal when we are nervous, stressed or being deceptive.  As a result, try to keep them as still as possible during the interview.  You should not cross your legs during a job interview, as it creates a barrier between you and the interviewer and may lead to fidgeting.  When you cross your ankle at the knee, this is known as the "figure four," and is generally perceived as the most defensive leg cross.

 

No one has a problem telling applicants to do this or that -- but no one tells job hunters what they really need to know: what employers are looking for in a candidate.

 

Most job seekers assume companies are looking for the contender with the best education, the most experience and a well-written cover letter. They think their résumé will speak for itself. While these things are important, none of them is at the top of an employer's list.

 

Fit, above all else, is what piques (and keeps) an employer's interest.

 

"It's not strictly within the position, as many candidates have sufficient technical skills to perform within the job. Rather, fit within the corporate culture and within the business as a whole. Those 'soft' interpersonal skills are very important.

 

Employers are also looking for a skill set match, says Jack Manning, president of Manning Associates, an executive recruiting firm. Candidates should expect to be asked pointed questions concerning their skills and their applicability to the position being interviewed for.

 

The biggest setback job seekers face is not articulating exactly what they bring to the table. They can't clearly express their value and what sets them apart from other candidates. If the job seeker doesn't seem interested, or there's no "spark," many times the candidate won't be offered the job.


 

Now that you know what employers are looking for when you interview and what's been holding you back this far, here are 10 ways to score a job offer

 

1. Sell yourself

 

You've worked hard in school and in your career; don't be afraid to share your accomplishments. A great way to sell yourself is in your cover letter, at the end of your cover letter, Why? The "P.S." always gets read. The trick is including one so intriguing, employers won't have any choice but to call you to learn more.

 

2. Have a goal before you apply

Always have a clear job search goal in mind, preferably, a specific job title at a specific company. Embarking on your search without a specific destination is like going to the airport without a ticket, walking up to the gate agent and saying, 'I'd like to take a vacation, please.' You won't get far that way.

 

3. Put a figure to it

Figure out how much you're worth by looking into salary resources like www.CBSalary.com. You'll be able to negotiate pay, benefits and other perks much better if you know what others in your field earn.

 

4. Prove the claims in your résumé

Testimonials are incredibly effective sales tools. In your résumé, include two or three brief quotes from clients or managers. For extra credibility, include the year each comment was made -- the more recent, the better.

 

5. Know the company

With all the information available on the Internet today, no job seeker should go into an interview without a thorough understanding of the company. If you know nothing, it will show in the interview.

 

6. Give employers a reason to hire you

When you follow up after the interview, include something that shows the employer how great you are for the job. For example, one of Donlin's clients researched the company's Web site and found a press release announcing the hiring of a new employee for the same job she wanted. His client wrote a letter referencing the release, pointing out the ways in which she was similar to the type of person they had hired before. Not only did it keep her name fresh in the employers' minds, it was another reason to hire her.

 

7. Be prepared

Bring a résumé and a list of references. Be early, be bright, be professionally aggressive and thankful for the interview.

 

8. Think for the employer 

Never assume the employer will know what job is best suited for you, the specific value of what you've done before or how much salary you're worth. You have to figure that out for them.

 

9. Use an angle

If the company is a competitor to a company you worked for, try to get an insider to recommend you to the hiring manager. If you know someone there, use your knowledge to open a door. Having someone else champion your candidacy is the hook that is needed to get you the job.

 

10. Plan for a disaster

If you're prepared for disaster -- such as a job loss -- you're in a much better position to get a new job quickly. Make sure your résumé is up-to-date and that you can reach your network of contacts as soon as possible. Then, have a draft of speaking points that outline your accomplishments and the kind of opportunity for which you're in the market.

 

 

Anyone who's ever spent time in a job search has probably walked away from at least one interview knowing right away that he botched it. Quite often, people who do feel confident about their last interview know they still could have answered one or two questions much better than they did.

The problem behind such scenarios is that too often; job seekers misunderstand or underestimate what they're being asked during an interview Inside Secrets of Finding a Teaching Job. A question such as, "Do you have any more questions for me?" may seem innocent and simple enough to answer, but candidates who give a weak response are usually the ones screened out of consideration for the job.

Job seekers should be aware that every question an interviewer asks is an opportunity to sell themselves as the most outstanding, must-have candidate for the job.

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