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Job Interview Tips From a Human Resources Director

What The Interviewer Expects:

The following transcript is from our "Effective Interview Techniques" (CD-2) and offers insightful observations by a Director of Human Resources for a major international company. Her outlook from "the other side of the desk" helps job seekers plan and prepare for their interviews. Here's what she has to say:

"Often, the biggest challenge is the ability to sell yourself. You must demonstrate on personal and professional levels why you're the best person for the job.

"Those candidates who do not invest the necessary time to prepare for the interview are most likely to present themselves poorly. It really surfaces when you ask them what special skills they bring to the job, or why they're interested in the position.

"Candidates who are confident, prepared, and relaxed tend to be the most successful. Again, it's taking the time before the interview that really makes the difference. Make certain you know everything you can about the job, the organization, and your respective part in it.

"An interview really is a two-way conversation. It's a chance for the candidate to tell the potential employer why he or she is the best person for the job - and, to find out if the organization is a good fit for him or her. Regardless of whether it's your first interview or your 100th, approach it positively, enthusiastically, and confidently.

"For me, the key word is 'process.' It's easy to get overwhelmed by everything that goes into preparing for, and undergoing, an interview. I believe by breaking the process down into steps, it's easier to organize, and manage, and not let yourself become overwhelmed. Of course, the quality you exhibit as you proceed through the various phases often depends on the upfront work you do researching the organization.

"One of the most important things a candidate can do is research the company, institution, or organization. Take the time to find out what the primary service or product is, check out financial stability, and know the culture. This helps you determine if this is a place where you want to work.

"Secondly, know yourself. Remember, the product you're selling is you, and every good sales person knows the product inside and out.

"And, third, dress the part. First impressions are everything. A study by UCLA a few years ago revealed that 55 percent of communication is non-verbal. That means a significant part of your performance during the interview is not going to be based on how you respond to the questions.

"The culture of a company is based on the structure, values, behavior, and social norms that are supported by the organization. Every organization has its own internal culture, and you need to penetrate that. Researching the organization is necessary to ensure the prospective job is a good fit for you. Also, you need to know specifically who has the hiring authority in the department or area in which you're interested. This is the person who will receive your personalized and targeted communications. Additionally, you'll need this kind of information for your subsequent interview.

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