Career Coach: 11 Interviewing Tricks

The Career Coach offers 11 interviewing tips to help treat yourself to a new job.

Interviewing for a new job can be a bit like trick-or-treat. Here are 11 tips to help you bring home the goodies.

Unmask the company. Do your homework. Research the company by visiting its website. Search the Internet by entering the companys name in search engines like google.com and read articles about the company. Learn everything you can about the company, its mission or goals, what it does, the key players, main products, principal clients. There might be bios of people who are going to interview you. Determine how the job you are applying for fits into the future of the company. Knowing the company, the industry and the people youll work with will enable you to answer interview questions with authority and confidence.

Pick the right costume. Dress the part. Wear clothes you feel comfortable in. Make sure your outfit is clean and is appropriate to the position youre seeking. The more comfortable you feel, the better impression youll make. Avoid wearing strong cologne, perfume or after-shave.

Bewitch them. Display personality. Develop a sense of rapport with each of your interviewers. Smile, create a personal connection and make eye contact. Practice your handshake so it is firm and not clammy. Convey the sense that you are comfortable in the company environment; that you would fit in. Show flexibility, enthusiasm and a sense of humor. Collect business cards and email addresses so you can keep in touch with the interviewers.

Be an in-spectre. Have answers ready. Prepare for tough questions. Practice with a friend. Prepare anecdotes for each job on your résumé and be ready to tell what you liked best about it. Practice talking about your greatest achievement at each job and why you left each one. Have questions ready too. Ask about the companys short term and long term plans and projects, what traits and experience they most need, and how the position fits into the overall picture. Your priority is to learn about what youd be doing, how it is useful to the companys mission, and what they most value in that position. Listen carefully to their answers to determine if this job is right for you.

Dont curse your future by dredging up the past. Moaning and groaning about previous jobs and employers, even if your last boss was a demon is a sure way to drive a stake through the heart of your chances. An interview is no place to complain or gripe.

Dont disguise your skills, experience and talents. Dont undersell. A job interview is not a place for modesty. You are there to convince the employer that you are the best person for the job. Show why you would be an asset to the company. Highlight your strengths and capabilities. If you dont have the specific experience they are looking for, point out how the experience you do have relates to their needs. If you dont have the specific skills they are seeking, describe a success story showing how the skills you have are related to their needs. Stress that you learn quickly, are good with new software and that you work well both independently and as part of a team.

Dont dig your own grave by saying you can do things you cant. Dont lie. If interviewers use unfamiliar jargon, ask for a definition or an example of how it is used at that company and see if you can relate it to something in your experience. But dont pretend to be a rocket scientist if youve never taken physics. Honesty is more valuable to an employer than an inflated ego that might get you in over your head.

Cast a spell. The chief challenge of a job interview is to show that what you have to offer fits with the job you are seeking.

Show you can do the job show knowledge about the tasks you would be performing. Explain how your experience, training and qualifications are a good match for their needs and how your skills and accomplishments will help you do the job.

Show enthusiasm a willingness to do the job. Show them you are a problem solver and that you have enthusiastic interest.

Show that you would fit in. Give them a sense of why you are unique and the right choice. Make sure they can distinguish you from the other applicants. Focus on the companys needs, the job and your role on the team.

Dont kill off any interest by asking about salary and benefits right away. If an employer brings up the subject respond with, Im very interested in the position and Id like to earn as much as Im qualified to earn. How much would you offer someone with my qualifications? If the employer makes a firm offer and you want the job and offer is a good one, accept it on the spot. If youre doubtful or undecided, ask for a day to think it over. Never refuse an offer of employment until youve had time to think about it. Ask for an offer letter that spells out in writing what the company is going to pay you, as well as any other compensation that you might negotiate.

Knock them dead with great references.

Make a list of people who will say something specifically good about your performance, especially as it relates to the job you are applying for. Get permission from each reference and some idea of what they will say. List names, titles, phone numbers, email contact info and how they know you. A great recommendation letter is impressive. Find someone who is willing to say something positive and specific about your experience and achievements, whether he or she is a supervisor or a co-worker.

Haunt them by sending a thank you note right away. Ask for business cards from the people you meet. Send both a handwritten note and an email that day, while they are narrowing their choices into the callback list. Address the email note to the lead person and copy others, thanking them for the interview. Tell them you are excited about the possibilities and why you think you are the right fit for the job. Tell them you are looking forward to working with them.

Interviewing can be scary. If you dont land the job, remember, every interview gives you a chance to practice your interviewing skills and make an impression on possible employers. If it is a company that truly excites you, keep in touch with the people you met via a short email sent once a month. There may be another opening that suits you in the future and youll have a better chance of hearing about it if you have established relationships with those you met at your interview. With these 11 tips, youll find there is no trick to interviewing.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a recruiter/hiring strategist and career coach. As a career coach, she helps clients identify their goals and devise strategies to attain them. As a recruiter, she helps her clients find top quality people. She has recruited for visual effects companies such as Digital Domain and Framestore CFC as well as animation companies such as Disney and Fox and software companies such as Macromedia. On Feb. 2, 2006, Pamela will be presenting a seminar on goal setting. For details see www.womeninanimation.org.

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