(Columbia) - Try these "Ten Tips for A Successful Interview," and see if they don't work for you.
- Research the company first; advance preparation will not only give you the right questions to ask, but it will also show you are taking this interview seriously.
- Rehearse. Preparation builds confidence. If you want to get comfortable with the interview process, find someone to "role play" the interview with you -- an objective and knowledgeable business associate, perhaps, with whom you feel comfortable.
- Try to ease up on cologne or perfume. You want the interviewer to remember you, not Old Spice or Chanel.
- Look the part. If you're in line for some kind of outside work -- say, as a roofer or construction worker -- casual clothes may be perfectly appropriate. Besides, you don't want to look like someone worried about wrinkling his pants.
The rules change, of course, if you're looking at a professional position. By all means get that suit pressed, the shoes shined and the nails cleaned. Many personnel directors say these are the first things they notice.
- Take along extra copies of your resume.
- Get there early. Try to arrive 10 to 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Give yourself time to find a restroom so you can check your appearance.
- Never ask about salary first. Your first order of business is showing the employer what you can do for him -- not the other way around.
- Sit up straight, lean slightly forward, and make frequent eye contact. This is known as "positive body language."
- Don't flinch if the interviewer brings up low points in your school transcript or work history. Seize the opportunity to show that you are a problem-solver who learns from mistakes. You can also present your weaknesses as the overuse of a strength: "Sometimes I'm more concerned about doing things perfectly than doing them on time."
- When you get home, dash off a note to the interviewer and mail it the same day. This keeps your name fresh in mind.
Another tip: don't get discouraged. Twenty interviews probably won't mean twenty job offers. But all you need is one.
Also, you may want to mentally prepare responses to those tough questions interviewers ask. Some examples:
- "Why should we hire you?" Point out how your background will help the company.
- "What is your weakest point?" Present your weakness as the overuse of a strength: "I'm a tough manager" or "I'm something of a perfectionist."
- "Why do you want to make a change now?" You can say that you want to develop your potential, or that there are limited opportunities in your present job.