In many ways, the job interview amounts to a sales call, a parallel that probably explains the anxiety many job candidates feel.
Learning to overcome this discomfort and manage the communication process can help make a more positive impression on hiring managers.
"Good interviewing skills can translate into multiple job offers, allowing candidates to control their career options," says Dave Dunkel, CEO of Kforce, a professional staffing company. "Homework and effective communication can spell the difference between a successful interview and a poor impression."
As such, the experts at Kforce are offering some interview tips to boost the confidence of job seekers:
Research both the company and the prospective supervisor. Review the company's Web site, do an online search or review a brochure. Ask whoever is setting up the interview for insights about the interviewer, including personality and managerial style.
On the day of the interview, arrive 10 minutes early, energetic, well rested and dressed professionally. Extend a firm, friendly handshake and express appreciation for the interviewer's time.
During the interview, use your research to strengthen your case. Interviewers like to know that you've done your homework, so drop details from your research as appropriate.
Always maintain good eye contact and express yourself clearly using proper diction and grammar.
Anticipate questions the interviewer may ask and be prepared with concise responses. Give direct responses to questions, and answer tough questions with a question to clarify and gain time to think.
Describe past experiences positively. Compliment past employers or minimize negative details.
Ask questions to demonstrate interest in the position, the company and its industry. Prepare questions in advance to minimize the need to "think on your feet."
De-emphasize money and benefits. Remain open on salary during the interview.
Exhibit confidence and poise, and convey an assertive attitude without being overly aggressive.
Be prepared to describe your past experience as a creative problem solver, a decisive person and a strong team member.
Express a purpose and goal for a career move, but also emphasize your willingness to "earn your stripes." Show interest in long-term opportunities.
Display high moral standards, avoid prejudicial comments and show broad interests in both work and play.
Take criticism in a professional and non-defensive manner. Do not leave any negatives or weaknesses unaddressed or without restating one of your positives.
Identify your "key messages" (what differentiates you and makes you a good choice) in advance, and be prepared to summarize these at the conclusion of the interview.
"By leaving a solid impression upon the hiring manager and earning an offer, candidates gain control of their job search and have the ability to choose the most desirable career path," says Dunkel.