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How to nail your next job interview .

Updated on November 19, 2010

The Do's and Don'ts to a successful job interview.

Even the absolute most out-going, self confident, motivated professional can become intimidated when facing a job interview. It doesn't matter if it's your first or even tenth interview this year, if you are not prepared, you may lose an opportunity of a lifetime, or atleast thats what your thinking.

The first thing you need to keep in mind is to be yourself. If you have to pretend to be something you are not in order to get the job, then the job is likely not a good fit for you. Whether your prospective employer sees right through your act before you even leave your interview, or if it's three months into the job, it will come out. Pretending to be something you are not will likely affect your work ethics and cause a significant amount of strain on your work environment, holding you back from other opportunities that suit you more. This job leads to no where and ultimately you will wind up searching job search engines yet again. Remember that its important to be in a job that suits your personality, otherwise you will just be unhappy and job searching again.

Dress for the part.....If you are attending job interviews for an Executive Assistant you wouldn't want to show up in khaki's and a polo. Likewise, if the job is for a Sales Clerk position at your local drug store, a suit and tie or dress and heels may be inappropriate. You want to dress a little bit better than what your work attire would be, but make sure your appearance is neat and clean. Guys should never wear a hat to an interview and should always be neatly shaved or trimmed and have their shirts tucked in. Women should be modest, always wear closed toe shoes and remember, no large earrings or hands and arms full of flashy jewelry, keep it simple. Unless you're applying to a tattoo parlor, visible tattoos and body piercings should be covered when attending job interviews, it simply looks more professional.

Know who you are and what you've accomplished.......Since any interview can seem like you're in an interrogation room it is very important that you have your facts straight. Although an interviewer has a copy of your resume and may have read it six times, they want to hear it in your own words. You can write large words that sound intelligent in a resume all day long, but if you can't sit face to face with your interviewer and have the understanding of what you wrote then you are doomed to fail. You need to be able to tell your interviewer about your previous work experience, your skills, your achievements and your education. Don't exaggerate any of this information as this should all be verifiable information.

Your interviewer will ask you to elaborate on your abilities and past experience. Such questions may be : " What do you think is your greatest asset?" or " Can you tell me something you've done in a previous job that was creative?" or " Why should I hire you, what do you have to offer this company?" Before you go to an interview, make a list of all of your pro and con qualitites. Think about how you contributed to the success of a company and what vital assets you have that made you a necessary component to the company. Keep your answers short and to the point. Do not go off topic as this may lead to questions that you have not prepared yourself to answer. Remember to be positive with your words, enthusiastic when speaking, maintain eye contact and keep a smile.

Interviewers like to know how you respond to different situations. They may ask questions like, "How would you handle an irate customer who was overcharged?" or "How would you handle a situation where you know a fellow employee is stealing from the company?" or " How would go about handling an employee who is a good worker but is consistently late for work?" or " What factors would you consider when a layoff of 40 people is necessary?" You will need to explain how you've handled instances like these in the past or how you would handle them in the future. Stress questions are designed to evaluate your attitudes while you are under pressure. Since confrontational questions tend to put you in a defensive position, you need to remember to relax and give carefully considered answers to themand most importantly be confident when you answer them. If you are not confident with the question you surely wouldn't be in the actual situation.

Do your homework.....Before going to a job interview you should do your own personal investigation of the company you may potentially be working for. You want to find out some key factors that you can mention during your interview that will let your prospective employer know you are serious about taking on their opportunities. Knowing about what you are walking into before you walk into it will also help to relax you. Some key facts that you may want to know are: -how long has the company been in business -what are the advancement opportunities -does the company offer a medical plan -is there travel or relocating involved -will there be costs incurred before starting this job -what hours does the company operate -what education is required for the job -do you need a special licensing for the job -how many employees are employed with the company.

Show your general interest......Candidate questions are pertinent to a successful interview because they help clarify your understanding of the company and the responsibilities it requires. These questions will also challenge your prospective employer and reveal his or her own knowledge and commitment to the company. Your questions should always show interest and understanding of the companies needs'. After all, would you even be having this interview if the company didn't have a 'piece of it's puzzle' missing? Some questions you may want to ask are: -what's the most important issue the company is facing right now -how can I be a necessary component to help overcome this issue -what have you done to try to fix this issue so far -have you involved your current staff in this issue, if so, what was the result Asking questions like these will not only show your prospective employer your general concern and interest in being an asset to the company, but will help you to better understand the needs to be met with the company.

Whatever you do, do not talk about what a long drawn out process of finding a job has been. If you make it known that you've been to various different interviews and still haven't been hired, your prospective new employer is not going to want to be your prospective new employer anymore. Try to concentrate on how many interesting things you have been doing to explain any gap in your work history. Whether you've been caring for an eldery family member, a volunteer at your child's school, continuing your education or even making money selling things on eBay. Your motive is make your prospective employer know how happy and motivated you are, these are the kind of people emloyers are looking for.

My final thoughts/tips to you are about discussion of salary. When being pressured with the money question it is always best not to answer directly. An employer knows that if they ask how much you want or are expecting, and you answer, they will have the upper hand. Don't sell yourself short, if you throw out a number without asking what the salary range for this particular position is you may get just what you asked for and it may be significantly lower than what they were willing to give you. If you feel that you need give them a range that you would like, tell them a number higher than what you are willing to accept. If it is too high, they will tell you. If they question you on what your salary was with previous employers, make them understand that it is irrelevant because they were different jobs entirely from the one you are applying for. An employer will respect this answer and again, know that you are serious about the job you are applying for.



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    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 9 years ago

      very good advice