- Research the corporation first, so you can come to the interview with intelligent questions. Visit its Web site, read its promotional brochures and Google the Internet for articles. Walk through the site before the interview, if possible, noting the ambience and dress, and dress one notch above it for the interview.
- In the interview, be as warm and friendly as possible. In the end, managers hire people they like and who they believe will get along with others in the company.
"Interviewers know they are happy if they get 10 of the 18 skills they're looking for. But how we (the interviewer and you) get along is how we'll get along on the job," says Linda K. Rolie of Ashland, author of "Catch Me When I Fall: Smooth Landings for Job Seekers." Rolie adds that any reasonably qualified person can be taught skills, while his or her personality already is what it is.
When asked, "Tell me about yourself" and "What are your weaknesses?" don't take the questions literally. Use them to display your strengths in the areas of experience, temperament and skills. Then be honest about skills that aren't your forte.
For example, you might say: "My real strength and love is selling, and that's where I'd like to focus, so do you provide backup for the administrative details?" This tosses the ball in the employer's lap, shows you've done your homework, have high self-esteem and want to make your employer money.
- Consider a job interview not as a judgmental or adversarial trial, but as a strategizing conference where both parties are trying to work out an optimal scenario and are on equal ground.
- You will be asked your salary needs, but there's a saying in the career-counseling trade, says Rolie: "Whoever says a number first, loses." Ask what the pay range is and indicate where you might fall in that range — but let the company name numbers first. Keep in mind, says Rolie, if interviewers want to hire you, they can go to higher-ups to extend the pay range.
- Finally, remember that in the job interview, you are interviewing the company, too, Rolie says.
You have every right to ask questions such as, "What is your management style?" and "Why did the person who had this job leave?"