Friday, June 17, 2005

Interviewing Tips for Dummies

Interviewing? Here's an excerpt from Max Messmer's "Job Hunting for Dummies" with a few tips on how to separate yourself from the rest of the dummies :)

Take your time when you enter.
Make a conscious effort when you first walk into the interviewer's office not to rush things. Pause at the door to make sure the interviewer is ready for you before you walk in. Take a few seconds to look around and acclimate yourself when you enter the office. By taking things a little slower, you appear more poised and professional.

Ask the first question.
It's usually the interviewer's place to ask the first question during a job interview, but there's no law forbidding you to take the initiative. A simple question, such as "What's been the reaction to your new ad campaign?" establishes right from the start that you know something about the company.

Don't be afraid to be yourself.
Assuming for the moment that you have no blatant personality flaws that would knock you out of contention for most jobs, don't be afraid to let the "real you" shine through in interviews. Most interviewers like to come away from an interview with at least a general sense of who you really are.

Go easy on the "charm".
As important as it is to establish rapport with the person interviewing you, don't overdo a good thing. Your main task in a job interview is to draw a connection between what you have to offer in the way of skills and attributes and what the job requires. If you focus too much on winning the interviewer over, however, you begin to arouse suspicion. Your credibility suffers.

Show candor.
While it is not generally a good idea to volunteer any information that could call into question your ability to perform the job for which you are being interviewed, try not to respond too defensively to questions whose answers might bring to light certain "weaknesses" (with respect to the job at hand) in your background.

Don't over-answer.
Be focused and as brief possible.

Make your case in writing.
Even though you can assume that your interviewer has seen your resume, there's nothing stopping you after you've done some research on the job and the company from preparing a short list that spells out the specific skills and attributes you bring to this particular opportunity.

Make an offer.
If things go well in an interview and you're sure that you want the job, make the interviewer an offer. Offer to do something solve a problem, design a sample advertisement, spend two or three days on the job for no pay that will demonstrate to the interviewer you have what it takes to do the job.

Invite yourself back.
Let the interviewer know that you would like to come back and talk more about the job. The worst thing that can happen is that the interviewer will politely turn you down.

Leave behind a relevant keepsake.
Prepare ahead of time something you can leave behind (apart from your resume). It could be a copy of a piece from your portfolio that you did for your previous company (make sure, though, that you're not violating any confidentiality agreements) or even a project that you did at school.

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