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Making the Best Presentation
FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT
It is here that all of your advance preparation will pay off. Your appearance, handshake, eye contact, confidence and ability to both answer and ask questions will set the tone for a successful interview.

Arrive early, but not too early. Look over company publications while waiting. Stop on the way to use the restroom facilities, if necessary.

When you meet your interviewer, smile, and greet him or her with a firm handshake. It is at this moment that your evaluation has begun. An air of self-confidence will help convince the interviewer that you can handle the stress of this first meeting. Be observant, and quickly try to establish good rapport.


LISTEN CAREFULLY and BE RESPONSIVE
LISTEN more than TALK during interview. Get as much information as possible about the interviewer's needs and desires before asking or answering questions. Let the interviewer sell you on the opportunity.

The old adage that God gave us one mouth and two ears so we should listen twice as much as we speak is a good one to apply here!

When asked a question you don't understand, seek clarification and respond accordingly. The skills in your "personal inventory" -- the responses which you prepared before this interview -- will allow you to answer with confidence and sincerity.

Remember, your interview time may be short, so you must get your point across quickly and concisely. Be both factual and sincere when stressing your achievements. While each interview is different, there are some questions which you are almost certain to be asked. Your potential employer may want to know more about your education and previous work history, why you are considering a change, how you'd carry out the duties of the position, and how willing you'd be to relocate.

Sometimes, broad questions may be asked. Focus the questions and your answers on specifics. It will make your responses much more meaningful and makes the interview smoother and more successful. For example:
    Q: What can you do for the company?
    Ask the interviewer about plans for the company over the next six months, what the most pressing issues are, what they would like you to accomplish, etc. Then share similar experiences in your background which relate directly to the needs of the company.

    Q: Tell me about your background.
    Relate your professional experience and employment history, most recent or current first, concentrating on accomplishments rather than areas of responsibility.
BE POSITIVE and PROFESSIONAL
Interviewers are likely to ask pointed or potentially negative questions such as why you left your prior companies. Answer honestly, but in doing so try to respond positively. For example, if asked why you had changed jobs three times in five years, you might explain that each position offered a higher degree of challenge and fulfillment, and cite the accomplishments in each of the positions.

You should not be critical of your current or previous employers. To do so suggests disloyalty and unprofessionalism. Your entire demeanor throughout the interview should be professional and positive. It is possible to be assertive and yet be tactful.

Body language and eye contact are important, but don't overdo it. Sell yourself - concentrate on what you can do for the interviewer, not what he can do for you. It will become apparent what the benefits of employment with the firm. If you are successful in this position, the rewards will come.

Treat each interview as though it were the only one. You will undoubtedly meet several different company representatives during the interview process. All are of equal importance to you in the interview process. DON'T stop asking questions just because they have been answered previously. Asking questions of all parties involved...
  • shows your interest in the company and the position to each and every interviewer
  • gives you the opportunity to sell yourself to each interviewer
  • allows you to get different perspectives from different current employees.
CLOSING THE INTERVIEW
Close the interview just as it began -- with a smile and handshake. Remember to thank the interviewer for the time and consideration which you have been given.

Before the conclusion of the interview, you should ...
  • Express your understanding of the position which was discussed.
  • Enthusiastically indicate to the interviewer your interest in the position and ask about the next step.
If you are uncertain, remember that there will probably be additional interviews that will give you the opportunity to form a judgment about the company and your prospects with it.

Continue on to "Follow Up After the Interview ..."
Return to "A Successful Interview ..."

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