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Interview & Resume Tips

The Importance of The Interview

 Dated: 01-22-2010

Finding a job in today's market is tough. Competition is high, the economy is in a downswing and the future is uncertain. Employers have dozens of applicants for each job available, and prospective employees seem to be competing with a myriad of other qualified people for each position.

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It is time, then, to make every interview count. Stupid mistakes have to go; job interview etiquette is mandatory. A good interview goes far beyond dressing right and answering all the questions correctly. Placing yourself in the best possible position to be hired is largely a matter of learning how to interview correctly and putting those skills to work for you.

There are some basics to keep in mind. Google the company and read the ''about me” page. This will give you a fair idea of what the company does and its philosophy and stated objectives. Approach the interview with confidence, thinking ahead of time about the information you have gleaned from your research, anticipating questions that may be asked of you and thinking about what you might contribute to the company. Dress conservatively for the first interview. And, because you have no way of knowing how long the interview will last or how long you'll be waiting before you even get to start, eat before the interview. The last thing you want to happen as the big boss asks the all-important question is for your stomach to rumble like a freight train.

Once you are in the door, sitting in the interviewee chair, remember this: the interview is not about you or your needs. They don't care that the job is perfect for you, that if you don't get something soon you will lose your apartment or that their site is within walking distance of your bus. They want to know that YOU are perfect for the JOB. They want to know what you will offer the company and be assured that at no time in the future will you become a liability. Approach the interview from that perspective, be prepared to respond to those types of questions and you will start off on the right foot.

Be honest during the interview. Lying, either on the application, in your resume or in the interview is a temptation that must be avoided. I remember a scene from a long-ago sit-com in which an assistant confessed to her employer that she lied on her application, knowing that references would never be checked. ''I'd never walked into a camera shop before,” she told her photographer boss. ''But I'm a quick learner and I read a lot.” That is fine for a TV show, but not a good idea in real life. If the interviewer asks you something you don't know, tell them so. If you are required to use a system that is unfamiliar to you, tell them that. Being a quick learner is a plus in any job and you can assure the employer that you will learn what you don't know, but never lie about your ability to perform a task you have never done. Many interviewers know when prospective employees are lying (there are tell-tell signs they are trained to look for), and will boot your application immediately if they catch you.


Stay calm and confident during the interview. This will come largely from good preparation and knowing your skills with respect to the company and the job. Shy away form trying to sound witty and fresh; it may come off as stupid or immature. Answer questions concisely, but with enough information that interviewers see your ability to converse and communicate. While a joke at the beginning of a speech may be appropriate, a joke at the beginning of an interview is not, unless it is told by the interviewer.

A tricky question that many interviewees face is why they left (or want to leave) a previous job. Answer honestly, but leave the bashing at home. Never bad-mouth an old or current boss to your potential employer. While it is acceptable to state that there were differences of opinion between you and a previous supervisor, telling the interviewer what a lame-brained loser your old employer was is a bad idea. It reflects poorly on your character, and makes the interviewer wonder if you are really right to work under him or her.

The last rule is, for many of us, the most difficult. Pay attention during the interview, not just to your answers, but also to the questions and atmosphere around you. You are planning to spend a considerable amount of time and devote attention and skills to the company you are interviewing for. Check them out as they interview you; do you want to work for the people you are speaking with? Did anything asked of you spark an intelligent question you can ask at the end of the interview? Could you work there without giving yourself an ulcer or living on anti-depression medication?

The best job interview is not just the one that results in a hire for you, but also the one that results in a career in which you can be content and satisfied for several years to come. By investigating the company ahead of time, presenting yourself well in the interview and making an informed, clear-cut decision when the job is offered to you, you will find it easier to achieve that goal, even in today's job market.


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