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Job interview? 7 great tips

May 21, 2009 14:51 IST

A well-written CV is undoubtedly the first step to creating a positive impression about you. When you reach the interviewer's desk, however, it's not just your resume and job skills, it's your personal skills that are under focus and can influence your career prospects. Good manners and your social skills play a big role in separating you from your competition.

Let's look at the list of few such skills that can be useful for you to grab your dream job.

Time is opportunity
Punctuality is key. Take a round of the venue a day before to avoid last-minute complications. There cannot be anything worse if you land up making excuses and cursing the traffic, weather conditions etc for being late. It would give the impression of being disorganised and having no control over situations.

Etiquette Reminder
Reach the venue 30 minutes early. Punctuality is respected, but arriving too early is perceived as being overanxious.

Dressing up
At an interview, the first impression is important and can be largely dictated by what you wear. The focus should not be on your clothes and accessories. You are there to exhibit your skills and inappropriate clothes can be distracting. Try to investigate the culture at the organisation. It is advisable to dress a step above.

Etiquette Reminder
Choose conservative, blended patterns and colours with minimal accessories. Focus on your personal grooming and hygiene.

Know your employer
So you are the office at the employer of choice! You can score extra points if you are aware of their organisation. Some basic research on the company's vision and mission, their turnover and annual reports etc should be part of your preparation. Spend some time with the recruitment consultant and get to know the employer to strike a familiar cord.

Etiquette Reminder
Do some basic research by visiting the company website or through networks, and be prepared to strike up a conversation. You should never have reason to look zapped.

Handshake and introduction
A firm handshake with a smile is what's needed. Initiate a handshake as this shows your leadership qualities, and maintain eye contact. Show respect and be courteous when offered a seat. Sharpen your listening skills as an interview usually begins after a small chat.

Etiquette Reminder
Be polite. Positive non-verbal body language is often the most impactful conversation you have during your interview.

Dining right
You could be invited by your prospective employer for an interview over lunch or coffee. Don't order fried chicken, pizza etc – food items that will need you to get your hands dirty. Since you will be spending time talking during the meal, practice your social and dining skills. Ordering liquor is a big no-no.

Etiquette Reminder
Do brush up your table manners and order non-messy food in small portions. Your focus should be on the conversation not the meal.

Leave on a positive note
Take a note of the discussions and review all the action items and next steps on particular dates. Don't initiate discussion about salary on your own until asked. Offer a handshake and leave courteously. Thank the interviewer for his/her time.

Etiquette Reminder
Wait for the interviewer to close and thank them for taking the time.

Thank-you note
A formal note closes the interview process and can leave a lasting impression on the employer. This also leaves you with an open door to follow up after a week.

Etiquette Reminder
Send a thank-you note or a letter of appreciation even if you don't get the job. This indicates your positive attitude and might help you stay on the recruiter's list.

Deeksha Singh is a Managing Partner at WCH Training Solutions, a New Delhi based Training & Consulting firm. She can be reached at deeksha@wchsolutions.com

Deeksha Singh