C. Winchell Agency

Interview Tips

How to make the best impression.

1. Please dress appropriately: We realize most companies are now dressing "business casual"; however, the gentlemen should wear a sports jacket, tie and nice slacks, although a business suit is preferable. Ladies, a nice pants suit or dress. Come in holding a small notebook and a nice pen and you'll automatically appear to be a serious candidate who really wants the job and is ready to get to work. 75% of the decision to hire is made in three minutes or less!

2. Handshake: Offer a firm handshake when you meet with a prospective employer. It conveys confidence and initiative.

3. Choose your seat carefully: If offered a choice between straight back chair and a comfortable armchair, go for the hard one. The cushioned seats may be comfortable, but your body will sink into them and you'll have to struggle to get up; moves that subliminally make you appear disorganized.

4. Not keeping your hands in your lap: Using hand gestures (especially ones in which your palms are up) signals enthusiasm and trustworthiness. Just don't overdo them; that can make you seem aggressive!.

5. Eye Contact: Keep eye contact at all times during your face-to-face interview. A candidate who glances out the window conveys a lack of interest.

6. Do research: Gather and analyze information about each company and its competition. Learn its products, customers, culture, mission, growth patterns, and future plans. Your knowledge will add to your self-confidence and demonstrate your sincere interest to hiring managers.

7. Know your past achievements: When interviewing and hiring, managers look for strong, concrete examples that demonstrate the applicant's ability to perform the specific job. Select examples that highlight achievements that gave you feelings of pride, excitement and enjoyment.

8. Relate your past experience to the company's needs: Be prepared to demonstrate how your experience and skills are allied with a company's goals. For instance, tell a story about how you consistently met customer needs, or offer examples of an effective management style

9. Focus on what you can do for the Employer: Candidates must display an intuitive understanding of the crucial elements of the job; they must be able to sense what is needed. Asking thoughtful questions is often the best way to demonstrate your understanding of the company and the position. Don't have a personal agenda. Companies are looking for team players; try to show the company that you are a team player.

10. Answer all questions directly: Clarity is essential for landing a job in this competitive job market. The best way to ensure that you'll respond directly is to research the company thoroughly, listen to the interviewer's questions, then determine how your skills, achievements, values and personal qualities apply to the organization and its needs. When answering, don't be long-winded or go off on unrelated tangents. Busy decision-makers don't have time to listen to rambling replies. Interviewing gives you a chance to demonstrate an effective, practical, solution-oriented work style.

11. Be prepared to reveal yourself: Candidates must take risks when the waters seem most unsafe. This includes allowing others to get to know you. Don't hesitate to show a little of your personal side, but keep it to a minimum. Continue to show professional character. Be motivated and upbeat! Leave the "blahs" at home.

12. Balance listening with telling your story: Be attentive when the interviewer is talking. Don't interrupt, slouch, or be overly familiar. When it is your turn to respond, be brief. Be enthusiastic when discussing the employer and the available position. Show genuine enthusiasm for the job and share their perspectives. Try to show good time management skills and be prepared to provide an example.

13. State your interest in the position: Employers hire candidates who know what they want and why. In many cases, interviewers won't be prepared as you are. If you come to the meeting well prepared, you can say you're attracted to the company and available position. Be somewhat submissive without appearing whimpish. Show that you value this company's procedures, philosophy, etc. Show that you can work in their environment.

14. Be confident not arrogant: There is a fine line between these two. A confident person says he can handle the job, while someone who is arrogant feels they can handle the position better than anyone else. Occasionally it's okay to think "outside the box", however, present ideas, thoughts and opinions in a diplomatic way.

15. Be positive: No derogatory remarks of ex-employers/supervisors, etc. Be diplomatic with regard to your opinions of others. "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." This absolutely holds true in the industry also.

16. Let employers raise the issue of Salary: Remember the Golden Rule: "The person who mentions money first, loses"! If you're asked to state a salary, reply " I'd like you to make me an offer." The employer's response will give you more information to use when negotiating. If pressed, offer a range that begins with your current salary requirements, then move higher. In most cases, you probably will already be aware of the salary range the company is offering for the particular position you are interviewing for; you will have discussed this with your Recruiter before the actual interview.

17. Make yourself available: Although we all get exasperated with telemarketers calling our house, having a caller ID or block on your home telephone number is not utilizing good judgement while seeking employment. As a potential new employer attempts to contact you, they may be "turned off" by not being able to leave a message or get ahold of you, discarding your resume in the process.

18. Expand your options: "Don't chill the champagne" until you've received a verbal and/or written job offer and reported for your first day of work. Continue to schedule interviews even when you think you're close to an offer. Employers are unpredictable; they lose valuable contracts or suddenly notice internal candidates, which puts you out of the running. Having other options will make you a stronger negotiator if your first choice comes through.

Putting your best foot forward will always lead to success!

Best of Luck in your future endeavors!

C. Winchell Agency looks forward to assisting you!

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