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How To Manage A Job Interview For Maximum Impact

Ramon Greenwood -- It's a cardinal sin to go into a job interview without planning and preparing to manage the opportunity for maximum impact.

First of all, be aware of the six criteria by which most interviewers will rate your interview skills and qualifications for the job.

1. Personal impression you make: neatness in dress and manner; self-confidence; and maturity.

2. Preparation for the interview: knowledge about the business of the potential employer; list of questions to ask the interviewer.

3. Communication skills, written, and oral.

4. Attitude: enthusiasm, sincerity, and interest in the opportunity.

5. Competence: education and experience.

6. Personal chemistry: suitability and "fit" with the culture of the organization.

By way of preparation, learn as much as you can about the kind of interviews the company usually conducts. Are they formal or informal? Are they deliberately stressful? Should you expect "tricky" questions? How long do the sessions last? Are you likely to be interviewed by more than one person?

Get a fix on the people who will be conducting the interview. You can develop this kind of information by reviewing the history of the company and its current activities as reported in the media. Seek out others who have been interviewed by the company, as well as those who work there or do business with the firm.

What is the environment like? How do people dress?

Use negative thinking in your planning

Negative thinking has an important role to play. Ask yourself what could ruin your chance to get the job?

1. Being late for the appointment.

2. Making a negative physical appearance in dress, neatness, and posture; reflecting low energy or a lackadaisical attitude.

3. Being too informal and familiar; trying to be humorous.

4. Letting attention and eye contact wander.

5. Being unprepared, indifferent, and unresponsive.

6. Dropping names and relating irrelevant life experiences.

7. Being overly concern with benefits and compensation.

8. Talking too much; interrupting; not listening.

9. Being evasive; unable to explain voids in file.

10. Criticizing past employers.

11. Failing to ask intelligent questions about the job.

12. Being overconfident or under confident.

Interviewing is a two-way process

Be guided by the fact that interviewing is like any other form of communications process. It's a two-way process: sending and receiving messages. Unfortunately, a great many people spend too much time with the former and too little with the latter.

Here are five tips that will help you improve your listening skills:

1. Be aware that waiting your turn to speak is not listening.

2. Focus like a laser beam on what the interviewer is saying. Listen to the words as well as the spaces of silence.

3. Assure the interviewer you are interested and that you are listening by maintaining eye contact, nodding your head and occasionally acknowledging you understand.

4. Concentrate on the facts. Collect them carefully. Take notes. Don't get diverted by looking for hidden meanings. You'll have time to analyze what you hear and see later.

5. Don't get sidetracked by the interviewer's personal appearance and mannerisms. Overlook any biased or irritating statements.

To get more common sense career advice on how to protect and advance your career during tough times, sign up at for a free subscription to Ramon Greenwood's widely read e-newsletter and participate in his blog. He coaches from a successful career as Senior VP at American Express, author of career-related books, and a senior executive/consultant in Fortune 500 companies.

© 2010 Ramon Greenwood

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The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal, financial, or medical professional.