- Do your homework before the interview. Gather information on the company (company reports, information through the Chamber of Commerce, Internet, library, etc.) to increase your awareness of company philosophies, operations and expansions. Be educated and knowledgeable when the employer asks you pointed questions.
- Arrive early for the interview! This makes a positive first impression and communicates your interest in the position. If you are unsure of the company's location, find it the day before to ensure your promptness the day of the interview.
- Dress neat, clean and professionally. Dress is somewhat more leisurely in the last few years, but a dress shirt, slacks and tie for men and a skirt or blouse for women are still appropriate, unless the position is labor intensive (welding, heavy equipment operation, production, etc.). Consider driving to the interview location the day before and seeing what people are wearing as they enter the building.
- Carry a notebook with blank paper to the interview. Taking notes while an employer is speaking communicates that you are an effective listener, a skill employer's hold in the highest regard.
- When greeting the employer, shake hands firmly. Establish eye contact. Smile warmly, thanking him/her for taking the time to interview you. Remember, employers hire "positive" individuals.
- When sitting in the employer's office, position yourself in the chair so that you appear to be attentive and interested in what is being said. Find a balance between leaning forward (appearing aggressive) and slouching or leaning back (appearing lazy).
- Employers have different personality styles. You may be interviewed by a Type "A" individual one day and a laid-back individual the next. Gear your responses to the temperament of the interviewer. Fast, decisive answers impress a Type "A" and thoughtful, slower answers impress a more relaxed individual.
- Continue to make eye contact during the interview, inter-mixing warmth, honesty, sincerity and a sense of humor if appropriate.
- Communicate experience in any of the following areas (specific skills employers are looking for in today's job market): management; learning ability; analysis skills; judgment; initiative; planning; emotional stability; adaptability/flexibility; empathy; negotiation; team building; creativity; motivation/drive; independence/self motivation and enthusiasm.
- Ask the interviewer questions. Examples: Who would I be working with on a daily basis? Would you please explain the job description in greater detail? What are the possibilities of advancement based on performance? What are the long-term goals of the company?
- You may be asked what your salary requirements are for this position. An excellent answer would be: "I am extremely interested in this position and I am more than willing to negotiate salary. What would your normal salary range be for this position? Research salaries at Salary.com.
- When exiting the interview, shake hands firmly, make eye contact and thank the employer again for the interview.
- Send a thank-you letter within 24 hours to thank the employer for interviewing you and restating your interest in the position.
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