August 4th, 2010

    Congratulations. You GOT a job interview. In this day and age, pat yourself on the back. Now what?  It’s not just about getting in the door. You have some homework to do and some know-how to muster.  Make no mistake, being specifically and fully prepared for an interview ups the ante for your getting the job. The more you know about the position AND the organization for which you’re interviewing, the more confident and informed you’ll be. And whether it’s the recruiter, HR, or the manager – you need to establish an individual rapport with each of them and show what you can bring to the job.

    Here are some useful suggestions for being super-prepared and on your toes:

    • Believe in yourself.  You got this far for a reason. Because they are genuinely interested in you. And guess what? When you walk in the room, they WANT you to be the right person for the job. It’s not an adversarial situation. Knowing this should also help with your nerves. Breathe (inhale and exhale). And be able to articulate what is your value, your talent and your skill as it relates to THIS position.  If you don’t know, don’t expect them to.
    • Create a relationship and have a dialogue. Take the time to get to know who is interviewing you.  Be aware of their body language and “mirror” that level of openness. Bring some enthusiasm into the room and find some common interest in the person on the other side of the table.  Have a real conversation. Tell a story and/or an anecdote about you that relates to the situation – make it personal but relate it to your professional desirability and skills. Have an arsenal of what you can bring to them at your fingertips as well as a genuine investment in them. And a little charm never hurts. People like to be charmed, if it’s sincere.
    • Be prepared and punctual. Of course. Be on time with a little to spare. Don’t come rushing in at the last minute. That just feeds the nerves monster. Create your list of what they might ask you and then practice until you’re comfortable with your responses (bullet points in order of importance are useful). In addition, generate the list of what you genuinely want to know of them. Impress them with the fact that you did your homework not only about the organization, but the position, as well. And reinforce how you are a match and an asset. When you ask your questions of your interviewer, LISTEN to the answer. Remember, dialogue and conversation help to form a more memorable relationship. If you don’t know something, be honest and say you don’t without losing your cool. Trust that you are enough.

    Enjoy your new job!

    Wendy Scharfman is a professional speaker, communication coach and trainer. She is the founder of Coaching for Effective Communication, a business she created to help her clients become dynamic, confident speakers who can inspire action by delivering a message that matters. Wendy specializes in Leadership Training and Team Building, Public Speaking Competencies, Message Refinement and Media Training.

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