How To Stand Out From The Crowd At Job Interviews

By: Kelly Hunter

The hardest part is over - you've made it to the interview room. You have managed to capture a prospective employer's attention, and can rest assured that your academic achievements and work experience to date are what the interviewer is looking for. So, how to convince him or her that you are different from the other applicants, face to face? From here in on, it is more important than ever that you package yourself as well as possible. A natural and honestly-presented you will triumph. You now have to prepare a context for yourself in which all your best qualities will come to the fore.

Preparation pays off. The better prepared you are for the interview, the more assured you will be of success. But you my as well be sure of one thing first - is this the job for you? Your conviction on this point is one of the most influential factors. If you are in any doubt about your capacity for fulfilling the requirements of this job or its suitability for you, then you will not pull it off - which will be better in the long run for all concerned.

Once you are sure the job is right for you, little stands in your way. There are a number of tips you should follow which will help you to convey your solid conviction to the interviewer that he or she could not do better than select you -but without appearing arrogant or overbearing, ten of which we have listed here for you:

Firstly, do your homework. Be sure to research the company, it's structure, products and philosophy, even a little of the company history and immediate expansion plans, if you can. This will give the interview dialogue a genuine two-way feel and demonstrate your very real interest in the company. Displaying this knowledge is one of the most important factors in convincing the interviewer that you believe you are right for the job. It will help the questions you formulate during the interview to be specific and to the point. After all, if you don't know anything about what kind of work you will be doing, how can you give the impression that you will be good at it?

You can also rehearse for the interview, predicting questions which may arise and knowing how to answer them. Standard questions include references to your strengths and weaknesses, what you have to offer the firm, and the generic "tell me a little about yourself". You should have something natural-sounding rehearsed for these questions. It works wonders to practice dialogues with a friend - you may feel foolish doing so, but how much more foolish you will feel during an interview if you cannot come up with answers without getting flustered.

You should also prepare an "elevator speech". This is a sales pitch about yourself which should last 25-second or so - i.e. the time it takes to ride the elevator to the interview room. Do not be modest. This is your chance to shine.

References will probably be asked for so have them prepared. You should ask for collaboration from former employers or trusted members of your community. Let them know a prospective employer may want to get in touch with them, or ask for a testimonial. Many former employers like you to save them trouble and prepare this for yourself for signing by them. if you are in any doubt about how to prepare this, seek help from a professional writer. A little investment will go a long way.

You should have your documents with you on the interview day - testimonials, driving license, social security number, diplomas. Recent graduates should have college transcripts with them. Organise everything in a file so that you do not have to be rummaging around for papers when asked for them.

Plan your appearance. You clothes should be smart, clean and properly ironed. Your hair and nails should also be in order. Try to add some kind of personal touch to your look. You must schedule properly for the interview. You must know where it is to take place and have time to get there in a relaxed manner. Arriving late is a n-no and it is unlikely that you will recover from this initial failure in the eyes of the interviewer. Remember that in the U.S., being punctual means, for the majority of people, arriving ten minutes early. Interestingly, this tendency varies from culture to culture. In the U.K., for example, it is standard for both business and social meetings for both parties to arrive up to ten minutes late. For the Japanese, on the other hand, nothing is socially acceptable except arriving on the dot of the accorded time. So be sure to arrive in plenty of time, at least quarter of an hour ahead of schedule, and to give your name in at reception.

Your dealings with the receptionist will help you set the tone of the whole interview. Be confident, be bold. After all, you have nothing whatever to fear from the first person you make contact with in the firm, and conveying confidence at this point will boost your own sense of security. You may be kept waiting - a guaranteed nerve-wrecker. Find something to occupy you, and practice whatever unobtrusive relaxation techniques you know. Nervousness will not enhance your performance.

Follow up after the interview. Send an e-mail or a polite hand-written note, reaffirming you interest in the position. If a week goes by and you have not heard anything, make polite enquiries as to when they will be making a final position. Even if they have selected another candidate, this approach is likely to make them remember you if other positions arise within the company. There is more information at http://www.preparing-for-a-job-interview.com about preparing for employment interviews.

Finally, do not be disheartened by apparent failure. If the interviewer did not select you, perhaps you were not right for each other. Remember, plenty more opportunities will arise, quite probably better than the one you were going for. Every interview is a rehearsal for the next one. In fact, if you go in with this attitude, the chances are you will relax sufficiently for them to see the best side of the real you, which is the best way to be selected.

Careers and Job Hunting
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