Ace the Interview

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You have thirty seconds to make a great first impression. However, your mouth is dry, your hands are sweaty, and you have butterflies in your stomach. You are sure that you are about to flub up your interview. What can you do to turn this situation into the job of your dreams? Use the following “power” tips and ace the interview:

Sell Yourself From the First Moment

Walk in, offer your hand first and allow the other person to release first. This effort balances the handshake. Make sure you give a firm handshake because you will be judged by it. As you offer your hand, make eye contact with the other person. Now for the real power tip: you should break eye contact first to have the power. Make sure you break eye contact for only a second and then go back to eye contact. Bring several copies of your resume with you to your interview. Typically, employers use teams for interviewing and you can give them each an original of your resume. It is also helpful to bring copies of your personal and work references, letters of reference and your last three performance appraisals. If you are offered coffee or anything else to drink, turn it down graciously. The interviewer is just being nice and trying to make you feel at ease, but he will hold it against you if you spill a drink. Interviewing is nerve wracking; so don’t add any stress to the moment.

Do your homework before the interview. The library is filled with information on many companies. Find out their products, services, annual sales, company philosophy, management style, and benefits package. The more you know about the employer, the better prepared you will be when it comes time to negotiate.

Mirror and Match the Interviewer

After you are offered a seat and you get comfortable in your chair, begin the mirroring and matching. If it is a team interview, match the person who seems to be the leader. Sit the way she sits and use the same tone in your voice. Listen for the verbs that the other person uses in her questions. Use the same type of verbs back to her. For instance, she asks, “In your last position, could you see how you fit into the big picture?” You should respond with, “I could see that my job was very important to the company.” Don’t be exactly like the other person, just subtly like her. Matching will help you gain rapport. Once you have rapport, it is much easier for you to be trusted and accepted.

Should You Ask Questions?

In your first round of interviewing for a position, it is best to avoid asking questions that might sound inappropriate or immature. After they have completed their questions for you, they will ask if you have any questions. It is a good idea to ask a couple of questions, but avoid asking about any of the following: · Salary · Vacation Time · Health Benefits · Expense Reimbursement It is better to ask questions to follow up on something mentioned during the interview; this shows you were paying attention. You can ask for a timeframe when they will be making a decision. You can also use this time to strengthen one of your earlier answers.

After the Interview

When you are finished, shake hands with everyone again and thank them for their time. When you get back to your car, handwrite a thank you note to the decision maker. Mail it on your way home so they will receive it within thirty-six hours. Most job seekers don’t bother with thank you notes so yours will get noticed immediately.

Practice Makes Perfect

To be calm in an interview takes practice. When you are really serious about getting a job or changing careers, get yourself as many interviews as you possibly can. The more you do, the calmer you will be when the right one comes along. If you are really nervous before the interview, take a few deep breathes before the interview and focus on your answers. Answer all the questions honestly and you will worry less. When you take the time to follow these steps, you will be dealt a winning hand.

Cheri Swales is the author of ‘Revolutionize Yourself’ and ‘The High Performance Success System’.  A contributor to various industry publications, Cheri was a regular writer on

This article was written in 2002 for the launch of by Cheri L Swales. Cheri is the mother of Chris Kidd (owner of

Cheri passed away in 2010 but her impact on is still felt today.

Chris Kidd is the owner of,,, and

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