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During the Interview

First impressions - First impressions take only thirty seconds. Establishing rapport, direct and sustained eye contact, a firm handshake, a warm smile, good posture, and introducing yourself in a confident manner are important ingredients. A well-groomed, professional appearance is critical. Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake, whether it is a woman or a man. (No one likes a weak handshake.) Always maintain eye contact while shaking hands.

Smile - A smile denotes confidence in a candidate. Try to smile often. Also, don't be afraid to use some hand animation while answering questions. This suggests enthusiasm in a candidate.

Listen Before Answering - Allow the employer to begin the interview, but be prepared with some opening statements or questions such as, "I understand that this position involves…," or "What are you looking for in a job candidate?" Make sure you understand the question. If not, ask the interviewer to clarify it. Don't be afraid to take some time to think before answering. Interviewers are impressed with someone who thinks out an answer before speaking.

Give Brief Answers - Make your answer concise and to the point. Rambling tends to suggest that you really don't have the answer to the question(s) asked.

Previous Employers - Never, ever say anything negative about your present or previous employers. No matter how much you may have disliked someone, find a way to give your experiences a positive spin.

Be Truthful - Don't lie when asked about something you haven't done. The next
question will be "tell us about it."

Know Your Resume - Be prepared to talk about every fact that is on your resume. Many people embellish their accomplishments on their resumes. Avoid this, since the only point of reference an interviewer has about you is the resume you provide to him/her beforehand.

Keep things at a professional level - Sometimes near the end of an interview, the two parties start feeling comfortable with each other. Don't let this comfortable feeling lead you to telling them something about yourself that they really shouldn't know. Always keep things at a professional level.

Look for Something in Common - This is something that has given us an edge in the past. Try to find a common bond between yourself and your interviewer. If you are being interviewed in an office, look at how the office is decorated. Look for something you can identify with. Is his/her college diploma hanging on the wall? Did you attend a nearby school, or perhaps one in the same Division? If so, make a quick comment about it: "Did you attend Penn State? I attended the University of Michigan. What a great football conference." Interviewers sometimes feel more comfortable with people with whom they have something in common. This approach has helped several candidates obtain a position over other qualified candidates. Above all, be sincere.

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