Kamis, 02 September 2010

Interview Insights: Go Beyond the Conversation

by Doug White, Robert Half International

Acing an employment interview requires more than just answering a hiring manager's questions effectively. Sure, providing thoughtful responses that highlight your qualifications, communication skills, and personality is critical. But the subtle signals you send also factor heavily into whether or not you're offered the job.

Following are tips for making a positive impression when meeting face-to-face with prospective employers.

Be nice -- to everyone. Most managers don't make hiring decisions in a vacuum. And you never know who might play a role in the selection process. In fact, more than 90 percent of executives said they solicit the opinions of their administrative assistants as part of the hiring process, according to a survey by our company.

So, instead of impolitely yapping on your cell phone or demanding coffee (as some applicants have done while waiting for the interviewer), spend time reviewing the research you've collected on the organization. In short, be courteous and present a polished image to everyone you encounter, whether it's the CEO or the mail clerk.

Come prepared. Are you dressed to impress, or is your attire wrinkled and worn? Do you have extra copies of your resume on hand? Did you bring a pen and paper for taking notes, or do you have to ask to borrow a writing utensil? Showing up to the interview unprepared can cause a hiring manager to question your professionalism and interest in the position.

Watch more than just your words. It's critical to project an upbeat attitude by remaining mindful of negative non-verbal messages. A weak handshake, poor posture and downward gaze all convey a lack of self-assuredness. Crossing your arms can make you appear hostile, defensive or disinterested, while constant nodding or foot tapping could signify nervousness. On the flip side, wearing an enthusiastic smile and making eye contact are effective ways to ensure you come across as affable and engaged.

Offer your appreciation. You can continue to build a positive impression even after the interview concludes. Set yourself apart from the crowd by promptly sending a thank-you note to the key people you met. It's not only excellent etiquette, it's also a savvy way to reinforce your interest in the firm and recap your most valuable strengths. Even if you feel the interview went poorly, don't fail to follow up. After all, your thoughts about the meeting might be much different than the interviewer's.

The job interview is your chance to tell -- and show -- employers that you're a perfect match for their organization. Remember that hiring managers look at your behavior during the interview as a barometer of how you'd act and perform on the job. Put your best foot forward by being prepared, poised and polite.

Robert Half International is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 350 offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. For more information about our professional services, please visit www.rhi.com.

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