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September 17, 2007

7 Job Interview Tips

By Jennifer Towers

The job interview leaves many women feeling nervous for good
reason. It’s hard to know what to expect and what the interviewer’s experience with other candidates has been thus far. And if they haven’t read these job interview tips, you’re in luck.

A job interview does not have to be much different than a first date, minus the dinner and sexual tension, of course. If you can master the following seven job interview tips in your interview, then I’m confident that the only thing that will make or break your landing the gig is your credentials.

So check out these easy job interview tips and, before you know it, you’ll be starting on Monday.

Job interview tips

1- Show up on time
Everyone thinks of their time as valuable, and this rings even truer at an establishment where time is money. For every minute you’re late, you’re wasting the interviewer’s time.

That said, however, don’t show up 40 minutes early, either. There’s nothing more awkward than sitting around waiting for the interviewer to finish up with the candidate before you and then having to make nice when they’re on their way out.

Show up 5 to 10 minutes early, go to the bathroom to get yourself together and freshen up, and show them what you’re all about.

2- Dress in a professional manner
Even if it’s summertime and the temperature is hovering in the 100s, do not dress like you’re heading out for cocktails. The last thing you want is for anyone to dismiss you because you don’t look professional.

The smartest wardrobe choices include at-the-knee skirts, button down shirts and blazers. As well, keep your hair, accessories and makeup looking neat, minimal and sharp.

3- Be firm with your handshake
There’s nothing more irritating than a wimpy, damp handshake. That’s not to imply that you need to crack the interviewer’s knuckles when you shake her hand, but you definitely need to leave a good impression with a firm handshake. If you have sweaty palms, make sure to wipe them on your pants or skirt beforehand.

The following describes the ideal handshake:

- Always use your right hand
- Make steady eye contact
- Face the person directly
- Interlace the space between your thumb and index finger with hers
- Close your hand so that your fingers and thumb wrap around her hand (not her fingers)
- Apply comfortable pressure (if your hand is very small, you may need to adjust the amount of pressure applied)
- Pump no more than twice

Note that a handshake is appropriate in North America but may not be customary in other parts of the world.

4- Show your positive traits
When you’re asked to describe yourself, don’t say generic things like “I’m trustworthy and independent,” give solid examples to follow up your description. Tell the interviewer how you figured out a problem at your last company that saved your boss thousands of dollars. Or that you are so trustworthy that you were given the keys to the company safe. Back up any good qualities you have by furnishing examples from your prior work experiences.

5- Be thankful for their time
Without sounding ridiculously grateful (remember: They need an employee, that’s why you’re there), one of the most important job interview tips includes thanking the interviewer for her time when you initially sit down for the interview, and then again after you leave. This gives the impression that you understand how valuable time is in a business environment.

6- Make sure you’ve done your research
You have to look up the company or the employer you’re interviewing for. Googling someone has become commonplace (I’ve Googled everyone I know… and their dog) and doing some research beforehand will leave you with the ability to make suggestions about the company. As well, it always bodes well on you to sound like you’re resourceful and don’t need to be led around by someone if you’re hired.

7- Speak well of everyone
Make sure that you never speak ill of anyone. Even if your last boss was a sexist pig who didn’t promote you simply because you were a woman, and you’re asked why you left your last job, say something along the lines of “I felt that I had achieved what I wanted at the company and seek a new challenge.”

You shouldn’t lie outright and say you quit if you were fired, but you don’t have to go into detail about why you were let go or left the company.

If you are pressed about why you left the company, tell her what happened and what you learned about the experience. Don’t leave her with a bad taste in her mouth: Make sure you explicitly turn the experience into a positive thing.

Perfect job interview tips

And there it is; easy ways to make sure you leave your interviewer with the right impression about you and all the wonderful things you can bring to her company.

Remember that you were called in because you looked good on paper; the only thing left to do is make the right physical impression. And with these job interview tips, you’ll nail it, no doubt.

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