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Katherine Spencer LeeTips for a Successful Job Interview
by Katherine Spencer Lee
Contributed by RHIConsulting

Read more articles by Katherine Spencer Lee

While experience with job interviews gradually makes them easier, meeting a prospective employer or client for the first time can be a little nerve-racking. To put things in perspective, it helps to view the interview as simply a conversation to exchange information, mainly about you and a particular job or consulting assignment. The following tips can help set the stage for a successful interview.

Arrive on time. Showing up late for an interview can eliminate you entirely from contention. Likewise, avoid arriving too early.

Maintain professionalism. From the receptionist at the front desk to administrative assistants and other personnel, treat everyone you meet with politeness and respect. Every first impression you make is a lasting one. It’s not unusual for a hiring manager to ask the receptionist what he or she thought of you.

Be prepared. Bring extra copies of relevant materials, including resumes and project samples. Even if you mailed these to the firm in advance of the interview, you never know if others will want to see them or if your information has been misplaced.

Exude confidence. Upon meeting the person interviewing you, shake hands firmly, smile and make eye contact. Do not sit down until you’re offered a chair in a specific office.

When the interview begins, try to settle into a conversational mode that is focused yet relaxed. While your goal is to showcase your achievements and information technology expertise, it’s vital that you convey this information in the appropriate manner. Listen carefully to the way the hiring manager describes the department’s culture, the job’s responsibilities and other business issues. When you’re speaking, link your answers to topics he or she has raised: "The point you made earlier about your firm’s utilization of Web-based applications reminds me of an e-commerce project I worked on last year…" Keep your responses concise, answering with honesty, accuracy and brevity. At the same time, however, avoid simple "yes" or "no" responses.

Most of all, stay focused on the big picture. While the interviewer is certainly interested in your ambitions, his or her primary objective is to determine whether you can do the job at hand. By preparing thoroughly and tailoring your answers to the company’s needs, you’ll create the best possible first impression.

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Katherine Spencer Lee is the executive director of RHI Consulting, a division of Robert Half International and the industry’s leading provider of project and full-time technical talent for the Internet economy.


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