In Control - Inside Tips on Interview Success


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No, you can’t control how the interview will be conducted, nor can you control the outcome. But you can influence it greatly by the way you present your personality and your skills.

Part of acing an interview, is preparation. Do your homework on the company you’re applying to. Read their stock performance if they’re listed. Surf for their web site, and be sure to read the About Us page as well as any news or press releases. Check out any trade-related publications, or annual reports. Being able to comment knowledgeably on subjects the recruiter may bring up, is a plus on your side.

Dress to impress, but not to blind them with your fashion statement. If you have submitted an application in person, and have some idea of what the company staff wears, then pick a middle of the road outfit between any extremes you may have noted. Understated is always better.

Before you leave home, make sure you have copies of your resume, letters of reference, and work samples if applicable. Taking more than you anticipate needing, provides a cushion against surprises, and shows that you know how to prepare for the unexpected.

Make sure you’re out the door with time to spare for traffic problems or unforeseen delays. Time is money to a company, and punctuality can be the key that opens their door to you. Show that you appreciate the opportunity of applying for the position by arriving a few minutes early, and thanking the interviewer, when you are admitted to their office.

Never hog the interview by jumping on a topic and running away with it. Answer questions succinctly and truthfully. Be prepared to answer in the most positive way, questions that touch on negative areas of your resume, such as a gap in employment, or lack of experience in a particular area.

Always finish your interview with an upbeat attitude. As the recruiter prepares to wind up your session, this is an opportunity to mention your USP (unique selling position), that skill or experience that some background work has told you they value, or may need in the position that is open. For example, you might be asked if you have any questions, and can then respond “No, thank you. I think the two years spent in managing human resources with Company X has allowed me to understand the needs of _(the interviewer’s business) better. "

Then thank your interviewer, and ask what the next step in their selection process, is. A courtesy note by email or surface post, thanking them for the opportunity of interviewing for the position can also be a plus, indicating attention to the courtesies of doing business.

Joel Vance is an Human Resources expert who has been in HR for 17 years and interviewed 3,159 people. He has also taught at 4 major universities around the country and currently has a best selling book on interviewing entitled The Perfect Interview at


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