Nail that Interview

Published Tuesday, December 21, 2010 5:22 PM

Acing a job interview is a matter of style meeting substance: sound smart, look polished and you'll enjoy better odds of landing the position. Even if a job hunt isn't currently on your to-do list, you never know when opportunity will come knocking so read on for tips for conducting winning interviews.

Style Matters

First impressions are the only impressions that matter on a job interview. Rare is the candidate who gets a second chance to correct a bad impression. With that in mind, here are a few style pointers:

  • Be on time
  • Turn off your cell phone
  • Dress for success in a professional outfit and have pristine grooming
  • Body language talks. Be sure to exude confidence and poise.
  • Make eye-contact and demonstrate good listening skills by leaning in and nodding affirmatively

Substance Seals the Deal

Employers want to make good hires: convey the impression that you are trustworthy and have something to contribute to the company bottom-line and you will be that much closer to joining the team.

  • Look for opportunities to create affinity with your interviewer. Mirror their body language and try to build common ground in conversation.
  • Commonality should be more than "we-like-the-same-sports-team" chit chat. Look for similarities in work styles: are you leaders, list makers, consensus builders, detail oriented or big picture visionaries?
  • Come equipped with ideas of how you can move the company forward, not merely with descriptions of what you've done at your old job. Paint a picture as to why you can be relevant on their team.
  • Be prepared with a story about a failure or challenge you've overcome. These are typical interview questions and you want to be prepared, just be sure to make the lesson you learned the star of the story.


Finally, recognize that acing the first interview means you'll be facing a second or possibly third round of interviews. Don't make the mistake of phoning it in, prepare for each subsequent interview diligently. The more interview rounds, the greater the odds of a job offer, so carefully prepare, giving each interview your full energy and attention. The useful What to Expect on Second and Third Interview  offers additional insight.

How do you prepare for an interview? Share your thoughts here by leaving us a comment!

by Candie Harris


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Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization.  Believing in  "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.

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