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Building a Better Job Interview

With a job interview comes a great amount of hope. If you don't hear back after an interview, an inevitable let-down follows as you begin the job search again. Don't let that unhappy ending happen to you. The following tips show you how to make your interview performance earn rich reviews:

  • Be a storyteller: An interview is a conversation. Don't fall into an answers-only rut. That's why you've spent time learning to tell stories that highlight your accomplishments. Remember, a conversation is really a series of questions and answers. As soon as you answer a question, try following up with a question of your own.
  • Know your purpose: A large percentage of candidates don't understand that their purpose in an interview is to do infinitely more than ask for a job. Your goal is two-fold: First, to demonstrate that you are a good fit for the organization; second, to find out whether the position is really something you want to invest your life in.
  • Leave the begging to others: Neediness is one of the all-time deal killers in the job market. Whisper in your own ear before walking in the door: "I don't need this job. I do need air, food, and water." Keep things in perspective. Employers don't hire because they feel sorry for you; they hire because they want you to solve their problems.
  • Avoid ad libbing ad infinitum: Although you should always do your share to keep the conversational flow going, droning on loses your audience. Telling your interviewer more than he or she needs to know could be fatal. Your stories should be no longer than 60 to 90 seconds, and they must make a relevant point related to your topic.
  • Don't expect to make a new friend: Don't make the mistake of being overly familiar. A good interviewer is skilled enough to put you at ease within the first 10 minutes of the interview. That doesn't mean that the interviewer has become your best friend. From start to finish, treat this encounter as the professional business meeting that it is.
  • Keep emotions out of the interview: Put all your personal problems behind you before an interview. Here's why: The interviewer may at times consciously attempt to provoke you into a temperamental outburst. Don't fall for it or take it personally. This may be only a part of the interviewing process.
  • Ask questions that show you care where you go: You want to be sure you're getting the true picture of what this job is really about and whether you want it. Arrive with a list of several prepared questions about the company, the position, and the people who work there, avoiding simple "yes" or "no" questions. Most interviewers are unimpressed by a candidate who has no questions.
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