Job Search & Readiness Training

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Interviewing is a skill. Like all skills, the more you practice, the better you get.

If you want to be successful when you are interviewed, then you need to work on your interviewing skills, and work to get better every time.

In addition to practicing how to answer questions, you need to practice other things that can either save or ruin your interview:

1. Appearance:
Make sure your hair is washed and combed. You need to smell good, so make sure you showered and brushed your teeth. Wear deodorant and only light perfume, if any. Your clothes need to be clean, ironed, and appropriate for an interview. Overall, you need to look and smell professional. Men – shave your hair. Women – wear small earrings and conservative make-up.

2. Hand Shake:
You need to shake hands when you enter the interview and when you leave it. Your hand shake needs to be firm and confident and you need to look the person in the eye while you do this. You will be judged by the way you shake hands. So, try to avoid some of the following mistakes: don't use two hands – that is too friendly and inappropriate for a professional environment; don't let your hand be limp or weak – the interviewer will think that you are either lazy or a weak, self-conscious person; don't shake too strong and overpowering – the interviewer will think that you are trying to intimidate or control him/her. Any time you have more than one person in the room where you are being interviewed, make sure you shake hands with every person in the room, both when you enter, and when you leave. Practice with your friends and family to get a good, firm hand shake.

3. Eye Contact:
You need to look the interviewer in the eye while you are answering the questions. Most employers will not trust you if you don't look them in the eye, and if they don't trust you, they will not give you a job. Some things to avoid doing are: looking around the room, looking down at your hands or your feet, looking at a female interviewer's chest, or focusing on a spot on the person's forehead. Sometimes there will be more than one person in the interview. In a situation like that, start out answering your question by looking straight in the eyes of the person who asked the question. Then, as you continue answering, make sure you get eye contact with each other person in the room. Make sure you end the answer of the question by regaining eye contact with the person who asked it.

4. Smile:
You need to smile throughout the interview. People are more willing to forgive bad answers or other problems if you are smiling and friendly. Practice this in the mirror on your own: ask yourself interview questions and answer yourself – watch the mirror to make sure you are smiling throughout each answer. If you don't, then try again. If you can only master one aspect of interviewing – make sure it is smiling.

5. Posture:
Sit up straight, and don't slouch. A good way to do this is by placing both feet flat on the floor in front of you and make sure they are side by side. People who slouch are often judged to be lazy or that they have no self-esteem.

6. Body Language:
You should sit with your hands down to your sides, fully facing the interviewer. This is important because it doesn't matter what words are coming out of your mouth when your body is communicating self-doubt, boredom or other negative emotions. So, you have to be aware of your body language, and try to avoid doing these things:

  • Crossing or folding arms in front of you
  • Hold your hands together in your lap
  • Turning your body or face away from the interviewer
  • Playing with your hair, clothes, jewelry, fingers, or anything else you brought with you.
  • Swinging or rotating in your chair
  • Drumming your fingers or other objects
  • Tapping your feet
  • Clicking a pen
  • Crossing your legs
  • Sitting slumped down in your chair
  • Getting too comfortable
  • Laughing or saying "uh"

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