College to Career Special Report


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Seven Secrets to Interview Success

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College to Career Special Report

  1. 1. Seven secrets to interview success by Eric SnyderYou’re getting ready so you can land your first big job. All roads that lead to thatpot of gold begin with an interview. Knowing what you’re up against is a goodstart.It’s been said many times that an interviewer can make a hiring decision basedon first impressions. Studies concluded that when two people meet for the firsttime, the first 30 seconds make or break the connection. That’s not much time atall. That’s just about as much time as you’ve spent reading this article.But, think about that for another second. All of the skills, job or internshipexperience and your GPA may not be as important as when you first meet. Whatcan you do to make the most of your first impression? There are seven secretsyou might want to consider:1. Your clothes are not your resumeWhat you wear says a lot, sometimes too much. You want them to rememberwhat you said not what you wore.If there’s a time to be simple, this is it. Nix the trendiest look, you can wear thatlater. Clothes, like art, are in the eyes of the beholder. That tie you like so muchmight look like an eye sore to someone else. That outfit you like to wear to thebest new club in town is best left for a night out.Wear a suit. It can be in navy or gray. A white shirt or blouse is best. For guys, asimple design on a tie in a complementary color can complete the look. All ofyour clothes must be clean and pressed. That tie with the soup stain on it is not agood choice. Last, but not least, your shoes also look best if they’re polished.2. A handshake can be an insight into your strengthsI do mean your character strengths. Yes, you shake someone’s hand all the time.Now, that handshake forms one of those critical first impressions.When you meet your interviewer, look them in the eyes, say, “it’s good to meetyou and shake their hand firmly, but not in a death grip. If you’re not sure,practice with a few friends. Ask them for feedback. Is it too strong, sweaty or tooweak? Adjust as necessary.Copyright © 2011, ES Resources, Inc.
  2. 2. 3. Keep your eyes on the road or in this case, the person in front of youYou engage people when you make eye contact. If you look away or not at them,people begin to wonder what’s going on. They begin to follow where your eyesgo. You want to engage with the interviewer.Maintain eye contact at all times when you speak. And stay focused whenthey’re speaking as well. If you have to look away, keep it short. It never hurts tonod as the interviewer is speaking. It lets them know you’re hearing what they’resaying.If you’re not good at eye contact, practice with a mirror. I know it sounds weird,but carry on a conversation in front of the mirror and see how long you can keepeye contact. The mirror will not lie. It will help you become comfortable stayingfocused while speaking.4. Don’t bad-mouth anyoneSix degrees of separation can haunt you in an interview. If you’re asked aboutyour least favorite professor or your least favorite boss, talk about them in thethird person.By all means, never, ever say their names. That person sitting across from youmay be the neighbor of the sister-in-law of the cousin of the person you mention.You would hate to trash someone who may have a connection (no matter howfar removed) to your interviewer.5. Pause on purposeWhen you’re asked a really tough question or one that you’ve never been asked,pause for a brief second. Or, you can pause and say, “That’s a question I haven’tbeen asked.” That short amount of time will give you some time to think andhelp you answer the question.These are better things to do than to do merely not say anything at all. You’rejust buying some time here, not a lot of time, just enough to get your brain going.6. Practice can make perfect if you do itPracticing is the best thing you can do before the interview. There are books outthere full of commonly asked interview questions and appropriate-type answers.Buy one of them and read it. Get yourself used to the language and the style withwhich to respond to interview questions. The interview conversation is not youreveryday conversation and it takes practice to prepare for the dialogue.Copyright © 2011, ES Resources, Inc.
  3. 3. Take one of the books and as if your practicing for an on-stage production, havea friend ask you questions and you practice your answers. I know it soundsscripted. But, remember you’re getting prepared for a talk you don’t have everyday. Better to be prepared than not.I hate to use the old sports analogy here, but it fits. Football players getting readyfor the Super Bowl don’t just go out on the field and play. They practice, theystudy videotape after videotape and they practice some more. You need topractice as if that interview is your Super Bowl.7. Formal vs. casualNo matter how comfortable you may get in an interview, don’t get casual. Evenif the interviewer acts casually (by sitting in a cushy, upholstered chair or sittingback leisurely), it’s your job to stay poised and professional.Picture this: you and the interviewer strike a good rapport and you sense a goodconnection. The conversation is easy, your answers seem on target and theinterviewer appears to loosen up a bit. The conversation becomes moreconversational. What do you do? This is not the time to mirror what’s in front ofyou. Be polite, engaging and stay focused. Don’t get stiff, but maintain yourinterview face no matter how casual your interviewer might get.This thinking extends to your voice mail message. The message that sounds goodto your friends may not be so good for the person calling to set up an interviewwith you. It might be time to change that outgoing message. No hip-hop in thebackground or funny jokes. Listen to it and ask yourself, “Does this soundprofessional?” Or, does my message make a good first impression? It can be assimple as, “Hi, this is Bob, please leave me a message.”There you have it…seven secrets that are really seven tips to a successfulinterview. Now that wasnt so bad, was it? Makes sense, right? But, they onlywork if you follow them, all of them.YOU can make that first impression in an interview a positive one.--------------------------Eric Snyder is a professional interview coach. He helps college graduates justembarking into the work world to gain confidence and better understand how tosucceed at job interviews. He launched College to Career,, to help young people make a successful transitionfrom graduation.What sets him apart from other resources available to new graduates areexperience and trust. His many years of experience as a recruiter, interviewer,Copyright © 2011, ES Resources, Inc.
  4. 4. trainer, and coach provide a valuable perspective from the "other side of thedesk" about common interviewing pitfalls and how to overcome them. Ericspends one-on-one time with each graduate to create a customized experience.If you are preparing for a job interview, or youve been interviewing without theresults you hoped for, or even if you just need help figuring out what field youwish to enter, Eric is ready and eager to help you realize your full potential.To learn more, visit or call 415.793.5292 now toschedule a free consultation to get started right away.Copyright © 2011, ES Resources, Inc.