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Interviews: Top 10 Tips

  1. Be Prepared: Don't even think of "winging" it. Know the company: research its history, products, and reputation. Know yourself: have ready a 5 minute presentation pointing out the highlights of your career. Prepare answers to likely questions. Bring extra copies of your resume: you may interview with several people.
  2. Look Good: A first impression is a lasting impression. It is better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. Your appearance will demonstrate that you are taking the initiative. Even if you never wear a suit to work, the interviewer will be pleased by your effort to impress.
  3. Be Early: You cannot recover from being late, so play it safe and be early. Remember that it takes time to sign in and to complete any other paperwork. Make sure you know exactly where you have to be for the interview. If you are in unfamiliar territory, take a practice drive to the company the day before the interview.
  4. Be Attentive: Interviewers rely a lot on body language to determine your level of interest. Sit straight, make eye contact, and avoid crossing your arms or legs. Listen carefully to what the interviewer says. They don't have time to waste: assume that what they are saying really is important.
  5. Show Interest: Be enthusiastic. People love to hire individuals excited about their company. Present a positive attitude: companies seek pleasant people. Don't overdo the cool routine; we all appreciate humble people. Don't make the interviewer guess if you really do want the job.
  6. Sell Yourself: That interviewer doesn't know the real you: it is up to you to get that across. Don't be afraid to brag a little about your experience and talents, and how they will benefit the company. Substitute strengths for weaknesses; transition the negative into a positive (this takes a little practice but is doable). Be honest.
  7. Be Cool: Be calm. Most people get nervous during a job interview. Practice with a friend, or interview often enough to defuse the fear. No matter what happens, don't overreact to obstacles such as salary, location, or other issues. It is always possible to solve these things later if you leave the issue open.
  8. Relax about the Money: Do not talk about money in an initial interview or at the beginning of any interview. Most people are turned off by those who focus too much on money. Convince the company you can do the job and that you want the job before discussing money and benefits. Ideally, only talk about it after the company has made you an offer.
  9. Don't Drink or Smoke: If you go to lunch with an interviewer, don't drink alcholic beverages, even if the interviewer does drink during the meal. If you are a smoker, abstain for a while. Even smoking before an interview can leave an odor that can be offensive to the interviewer.
  10. Follow Up: Write a personal thank-you note (or email) to the interviewer. Keep the note brief and to the point. Thank them for their time; describe what was most helpful to you; and state that you would like to keep in touch. Also, you can attach an updated copy of your resume.

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