Catherine's Career Corner
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January 4th, 2009
Land Your Dream Job with 10 Good Interview Skills

All your weeks and months of searching for the perfect job have finally paid off. You have just been asked to attend an interview with the perfect company for a position that was tailor made for you. Your dream job is just within your reach; you can smell it, all you need to do now is ensure that you ace your interview. Do you know how to effectively sell yourself to a prospective employer? Most people do not and that is why going on a job interview can be so stressful for many. Here are some great tips for overcoming interview apprehension and improving your chances of getting the job that you really want.

  1. Punctuality – Always be sure to be on time for your interview. Ten to fifteen minutes early is a good rule of thumb. Employers do not want to hear excuses from an interviewee as the first thing out of their mouth. Double check the interview date and time and leave early to allow for traffic jams, parking issues, and anything else that could stand in your way of getting to your interview on time. If tardiness is unavoidable, be courteous enough to call and let them know, giving them the opportunity to reschedule their day.

2. Preparedness – Have everything that your prospective employer may need at hand when you arrive for the interview. Make sure you have three copies of your CV, copy of your cover letter, the job advert, skills portfolio, transcripts, licensing, or certification handy, as well as anything that the employer may have requested that you bring. In many cases, offering to “fax it tomorrow” will result in someone else landing the job today.

3. Practice – Rehearse your answers to common interview questions a few times before going to the interview. Practice in front of the mirror if you can’t do a mock interview with someone. This can help prevent “stage fright” and stumbling for an answer when a question is asked. Practice will also help you to formulate the most effective answers to common questions about experience, qualifications, and even interests without leaving anything vital out. Using a mirror as a tool will help you to practice non-verbal communication, as well. Be sure to write down popular interview questions and the best answers to the questions down, and then go through them several times until you can answer the questions correctly and fluently without referring to your written answers. See our earlier posts on interview questions.

4. Impression – The first impression you make will likely be a lasting one. Be sure that you look as professional as possible. Dress for the position and keep things somewhat conservative, without excessive jewellery and strong perfume, cologne or overdone makeup as these can be a bit distracting and bothersome to some people. Never forget to greet your potential employer with a smile, eye contact, and a firm handshake.

5. Positive attitude – As always said, “If you don’t have something nice to say, it is better to say nothing at all.” The same rings true in a job interview. No one likes a negative person and they certainly would not care to bring a negative presence into the office. Even if your last boss was a devil, it is better to point out at least one of his or her good traits, rather than going on a tirade about how awful they were to work for.

6. Specifics – Be as detailed as possible when asked questions about your experience, interests, skills and education, without going overboard. While some skills may seem a bit irrelevant to a certain position, you never know if a certain small skill will set you just that little bit higher that the next interviewee. At the same time, avoid rambling about yourself, just to have something to say.

7. Honesty – Always be honest with the person who is interviewing you. Hiding the truth about why your last job ended or “fluffing up” your educational experience can cost you the job or even result in future dismissal should your untruths come to light later. Most employers know that people make mistakes on occasion, and most try not to repeat them. However, blatant dishonesty is a bit harder to forgive.

8. Restraint – Even if you are a “talker” by nature, be sure to give the interviewer plenty of time to speak and consider their questions carefully. A few seconds pause between the end of their question and the beginning of your response can help to ensure that you have heard the entire question. Another good rule of thumb is to let the employer bring up the most sensitive topics like salary and benefits, rather than asking about them yourself.

9. Questions – Make sure that you ask pertinent questions about the position and that you are comfortable with the answers that you have received. Going through an entire interview and not having a single question about the company or the position is highly unlikely and may be looked upon as disinterest by the interviewer.

10. Follow-up – Consider sending your interviewer a thank-you note for their time and consideration. Also, a phone call to follow up and ask if there is anything else that they need from you may also show the employer just how much you want the job and help to bring you back to the forefront of the mind of the person doing the hiring. Remember not to be overbearing, though – one follow-up call will suffice.

Catherine Adenle
Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping all career-minded people worldwide to explore their career, manage change and understand how new technologies are changing and enhancing the future of work.
Catherine Adenle
Catherine Adenle

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One thought on “Land Your Dream Job with 10 Good Interview Skills

  1. I secured an interview and was offered the job today using the tips and advice from this blog. I would be an ingrate if I do not show my appreciation by leaving a comment on the blog.Thanks for the articles.

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