Interview cum Best Impression

Do some research. Make sure you are familiar with the prospective employer's job requirements, company history, and industry.

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Interview to Get the job
The employment picture is rosy. But before they hire you, companies would like to have a conversation with you to decide you're the best person for the job. This is especially critical when you are up against someone with similar credentials and background, or when the qualification for the job have more to do with interpersonal and communication skills than with technical qualifications. Here are some strategies to help you do the best job of selling yourself while being interviewed by a prospective employer.

Preparing for the Interview
You probably wouldn't give a presentation without advance preparation. Similarly, you would not want to go for an interview without having done some investigation work:

Do some research. Make sure you are familiar with the prospective employer's job requirements, company history, and industry. If possible, try to find out a little more about the person conducting the interview. You'll make a much better impression during your meeting if you have done your homework.

Clarify your objectives. Before pitching yourself for a position, be sure your own interests and career goals are clear to you. Be prepared to explain why you want the job and why you think you would be a good fit. Your goals should be to convince the interviewer you have what it takes to do the job.

Don't forget the "small" things. Other things to consider as you posture, making eye contact, pacing your answers (not talking too fast), and avoiding any distracting mannerisms such as foot tapping or running your hands through your hair. These things may sound trivial, but you want the interviewer to focus on what you are saying? Not what you are doing.

During the Interview
Your first meeting with the hiring manager is likely to make the most vivid impression. This is your chance to make sure you get a favorable review. There are many things you shouldn't do in an interview, but here are some basic guidelines you can follow to start off on the right foot.

Dress smart. Don't underestimate the power of your professional appearance. This is the first time the interviewer will see you and, like it or not, what you wear could affect you chances of proceeding to the next round of interviews. Your goal should be to blend in. Whether you're applying for a position at a bank or as a merchandiser for a fashion house, dress appropriately for the job you want.

Make your first impression the best. The interview begins as soon as you arrive at the company. Most businesses have a reception area where you'll wait to meet the person conducting your interview, and this is when many job seekers let their guard down. Keep in mind that you may be evaluated just as much in the waiting area as in the interview itself. Make sure your are friendly to the receptionist, office assistant, or anyone else who may greet you before and after the interview. In a recent survey commissioned by Robert Half International, 91 percent of the executives said they consider their administrative assistant's opinion of job candidates as important part of the selection process for positions at all levels. If you are discourteous to a receptionist or anyone else in the company, it will have a negative impact on your chances of getting the job.

Asking and fielding questions. Know your resume thoroughly and be able to cite specific examples that verify the information listed. Come to the meeting prepared to defend any weaknesses in your job history. Do your best to respond to questions in an open, direct way. When the executives in a survey commissioned by Robert Half International were asked to name a candidate during a job interview, 32 percent said that honesty and integrity were the most important. Enthusiasm and verbal skills were next in their list.

Keep in mind that interviews are a two-way street. Just as the interviewer wants to know if your are right for the job, you want to know if the position is right for you. It's your opportunity to find out as many specifics about the job, the company, the culture. and the hiring manager as you can.

Closing the Interview
If you' ve made a good impression up to this point, you want to make sure you end on a positive note. If you decide you want the job, be prepared to say so in a clear, convincing manner.

Say thank you, Regardless of whether you feel things went well or poorly, remain friendly and courteous to the interviewer and thank him or her for taking time to meet you.

Ask when a decision will be made. Without giving an ultimatum about other job offers or deadlines you may have, politely ask when the hiring manager will make the final decision about the position for which you are applying.

Write a follow-up letter. Send a thank-you note as soon as possible after our meeting. In a survey commissioned by Robert Half International, seventy-six percent hiring managers noted the importance of sending a thank-you note following an interview. Your letter should express gratitude for the meeting, reinforcement your interest in the job, and recap the strongest points recommending you for the position.

Like all skills, giving a good interview takes practice. But the more you prepare for the part, the better impression you'll make on the people you meet-- and the more you'll increase your chances of securing the job offered.

"Interview Blunders" or How NOT to Make a Good First Impression

The employment interview is a critical step in the job search process, but it's not always smooth sailing. Robert Half International recently asked its managers to describe the most unusual occurrences in interviews they had ever heard of from clients and colleagues. The findings reveal just how important first impressions can be job seekers.

Managers were asked: "What is the most unusual thing you have ever heard of happening in a job interview?" Here are some of their responses:
- When asked how he liked working with customers in his past position, the interviewee replied, "I don't like it when people hassle me."
- When asked about her proficiency with software programs, the candidate pulled out a photo of her standing next to a computer and said, " This shows my familiarity with today's office equipment."
- While discussing why the candidate had been fired from several jobs, he said his previous employer had conspired to place a curse on him, and he was conducting his own secret investigation.
- When asked about formal education, the candidate replied. "I don't need any. I'm certified by the school of real life."

In other cases, the candidates' actions spoke louder than words:
- A candidate waiting in the lobby opened a large bag of cheese crunchies and began to eat them. When the interviewer greeted him, he extended a hand covered with orange dust.
- A candidate titled his chair back and put his feet on top of the interviewer's desk.
- An entry-level candidate became so animated during an interview that his clip on tie fell off.
- The candidate walked into the hiring manager's office with a brown bag and proceeded to eat lunch during the interview, saying she was " multitasking" during a long day of interviews.

2010-12-01 | Prabin Raj Gautam

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Prabin Raj Gautam

Prabin Raj Gautam is a lecturer of Management and economics.

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