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Career Corner
How To Make The Most of A Job Interview

Ramon Greenwood -- Consider the interview as the pivotal point in the job search process. Here's what to anticipate and how to prepare so that you can tip the scales in your favor and land that job.

Planning and preparation are absolutely essential to managing a job interview 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. Informal and overly familiar behavior; 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. Not asking well-informed questions about the position.
12. Being overconfident or under confident.

Interviewing is a two-way process

Be guided that interviewing is like any other form of communications process. It's two-way: sending and receiving messages. It is unfortunate that many people spend too much time sending and too little time listening. There are five ways you can 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 let the interviewer's mannerisms and personal appearance sidetrack you. Ignore statements that are biased or irritating.

To get Ramon Greenwood’s common sense advice on how to accelerate your career during tough times and achieve your career goals, go to Common Sense At Work Blog. His published ebook, How To Get The Pay Raise You've Earned, available for download from Amazon.com, sets out comprehensive guidelines that will help you work your way through the challenge of negotiating the sensitive issues of why you deserve a raise. It also provides tips for how to avoid shooting yourself in the foot when you get an answer. Case histories of how not to campaign for a raise are included. Ramon has written this timely ebook based on a wide-ranging career, including serving as senior vice president of American Express; a professional of a number of companies; entrepreneur; author; and career coach. He is currently The Career Coach at Common Sense At Work. For further information, contact Ramon Greenwood at ramon@commonsenseatwork.com

© 2013 Ramon Greenwood

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