me About Yourself . . . "
Skills That Get You the Job Offer
"Please come for an interview at 2 p.m. on Thursday." The next time you
those words, will you be ecstatic or will you quake in your boots?
to the chance to tell about your background and experience,
will you worry that you'll blow your chances at the job?
job seekers know a little preparation goes a long way. As soon as the
interview is set, get on the Internet and research the organizational
the demographics, and other information. Then
call and ask for
external newsletters and publications. Find out as much as you
can about the
hiring organization. Then you can anticipate their questions as
well as ask
sensible ones yourself.
In addition to electronic networking, use your people network, too.
people you know who may have an insider's view of the organization. Remember,
who you need to know, somebody you know knows somebody who knows them.
around for information on history, trends, personalities, challenges, and
reputation of the department or group you'd be working with.
If you've never been to the offices of the hiring organization you're
with, go ahead and drop by - maybe to pick up those materials
for you. That way when you go
for your interview you'll
avoid the added stress
of figuring out how to get there and where to park.
Notice how people dress and
the degree of informality and friendliness.
Watch for signs of low morale or burnout.
You can tell a lot just by keeping
your eyes open. Remember you're
And a word to the wise - don't stop your job search once you schedule an
interview! Never let this interview
be your "only hope." Take
yourself by keeping other possibilities active and continuing to pursue
The next part of your preparation involves coming up with the 10 questions
think you're most likely to be asked. You
can guess what most of them
Practice your answers. Ask a friend
or mentor to do a "dress
rehearsal" with you
or tape record your answers and listen both to how you
sound and what you say.
At the interview
Take copies of your resume. It's
hard to believe, but sometimes your
has been misplaced or a new person on the interviewee
team hasn't seen
If it's not clear where to sit, ask! Put
your purse, briefcase, coat,
off your lap so you're free to focus. If you're in a swivel
chair, watch out!
When you're nervous, it's easy to swivel without even
If you need a moment to think about your answer, say so. People will
the 6 or 7 seconds you take to organize your thoughts.
Ask for the business cards of the people who are interviewing you.
you send a thank you note, you'll be sure you have the correct spelling
titles. (Or, better yet, ask the
secretary to fax you a list of
ahead of time.)
Be yourself! If you usually talk
with your hands, don't try to squelch
in this setting. If
you have been told to be more animated, be
aware of your
eye contact, facial expression and tone of voice.
enthusiasm for the
job show in the way you talk as well as what you say.
Waymon is an expert on career and workplace issues, and she's the
author of several books. She was
the recipient of the prestigious 1998
Outstanding Speaker Award from the National Capital Speakers Association.
For information about her speaking and training programs
call 352-438-0261 e-mail [email protected]
or visit www.ExpertSpeaker.com/Speakers/waymon.htm
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