How to nail a job interview

It's essential that you prepare thoroughly for your job interview. 'Winging it', as one HR person described it, is not appreciated.

Take the time to ensure that you know what you are talking, that you are committed to getting the job and that you are a person with professional polish that companies want to hire.

Here are three areas to work on:

1. Your Attitude:
Prepare the answers to these questions and read them out loud. Being specific about your intentions helps focus and will reflect in your voice quality when answering questions.

•    List three of your greatest strengths.
•    List three of your weaknesses & how you improve on them.
•    List three attributes of a job that excites you.
•    List three things that you can bring to the job that others can't.
•    List three reasons you want to work for this company.

2. Your body language:
In the hiring process studies show that 65-70% of a hiring decision may be based on nonverbal communication. 55% of our inner thoughts and feelings are revealed through body language and we are not always conscious of what our body is saying, therefore the interviewer can observe and interpret nonverbal communication.

Consider the interviewer's observations as you do the following:

•    As you are waiting. Are you pacing back and forth? Relaxed or tense? Reading, fidgeting, or smoking? How do you shake their hand? So you smile and make eye contact?
•    How do you walk? A confident prospect walks in with head up, a firm step, and shoulders back and arms swinging.
•    Where do you sit when offered a choice? Near the interviewer? As far away as possible? How is your sitting posture? Facing toward or away from interviewer?

3. Your voice:
Your voice completes the image that you want to project. Make sure that you convey interest and enthusiasm. Do not take it for granted that what you say and how you say it will not matter. Being congruent with your appearance, body language, and voice equates with trust.

Voice practice and preparation.

With the questions in number 1 above (attitude), practice your answers out loud using the guideline below.

1. Project your voice loudly enough to be heard
2. Articulate clearly
3. Use pauses for emphasis
4. Watch your speed and pace
5. Avoid talking too fast or too slow
6. Monitor voice quality: avoid mumbling or having too high a pitch
7. Let your natural personality come through

Be in the moment.
The other half of being interviewed is about not talking, but reacting. In other words, when the interviewer speaks, you should:

1. Focus your attention on the interviewer and what is being said.
2. Listen to the content of what is being said.
3. Do not be distracted by mannerisms or words that the interviewer is using.
4. Listen for information to be evaluated later. Do not evaluate while listening.
5. Give positive nonverbal feedback like nodding and smiling.
6. Consider questions that you may want to ask at the end of the interview.

Still feeling unprepared? Here's a list of the questions the interviewer is likely to ask.

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