By Peter Newfield - President, Career Resumes Inc.
Arrive on time, if not a few minutes early, for your interview. If you show up to a job interview late, ill prepared, or dressed inappropriately, you could be sealing your own fate. It may sound old fashioned, but a neat, professional appearance is always apropos for a job interview. Walk tall, smile, make eye contact, and present a firm handshake -- this goes for men and women. Bring at least two flat copies of your resume to the interview. Rehearse with a friend, relative, or co-worker a day or two before the interview to sharpen your communication skills. (See Interview Questions)
Answer questions clearly and concisely. Don't get long winded or meander into personal details that are just not appropriate to discuss. Try to keep the interview on target and focused on you. Be prepared to sell yourself in person by highlighting your strengths, your accomplishments on your present or previous jobs, and your eagerness to work for this potential employer. No need to apologize for anything, just accentuate the positive, relevant information instead.
Display an attitude of "humble egotism". Psyche yourself up into creating the impression that "I'm great, I know I'm great, but I know I have more to learn" and "I want this job more than anything else in the world and if I don't get a job offer, I'm just going to lay down and die". Show your enthusiasm, dedication, and ambition through your words and body language. If you come in with an attitude of "show me why I should work for this company" and halfway through the interview you think you might want to, it's too late. The most important goal of the job interview is to get a job offer. You can always think it over and turn it down later, but the name of the game is to get that job offer above all other candidates!
Try not to fidget in your chair, pick at your cuticles, hum, chew gum, tap your foot or do anything else that might give the impression that you are a nervous, neurotic mess. If the interviewer asks an open-ended question, "How do you feel about status reports?" try to narrow down the focus by asking a more specific question in return, "Would you like to know how I handle deadlines and maintain an organized data base"? An interview is not the appropriate place to haggle over money -- it's best to conduct salary negotiations only when you actually get the job offer as well as ask questions about benefits, personal days, or vacation time.
When the job interview is concluded, stand up and extend your hand, and thank the interviewer for his/her time and consideration of you as a qualified candidate for this position. Leave gracefully -- you may ask when the decision is anticipated but don't offer to call back or give your cell phone and pager numbers -- just walk out as confidently as you entered.
Peter Newfield is President of Career Resumes, one of the premier resume writing services, providing cover letters, professional resumes, and Internet posting in all fields and industries. Career Resumes is a member of both the National Resume Writers' Association and the Professional Association of Resume Writers. www.career-resumes.com