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Finding a job or breaking into a new career these days can be very difficult. The employment rate is rising or stagnant giving you a narrow window to acquire that position you have wanted for so long. An employer can be very particular in their choices since there is an abundance of talent looking to be hired, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a chance. After sending out dozens of resumes, you finally get that call for an interview.

The interview is the only challenge standing between you and employment. Now is the time to get yourself prepared. Dress codes are very lax today, but you need to make a good first impression, and I suggest that you are cleaned and pressed in business casual unless the position dictates otherwise, i.e. suit & tie. Keep in mind that the person conducting the interview is looking for skills that will increase the company revenue. In order to accomplish this, they will want to see confidence, a positive attitude, drive, dedication, determination, cooperation, and a willingness to go above and beyond the scope of the position.

The first inquiry you will hear is “Tell me a little about yourself.” Take a minute to show that you are giving it some thought and not spitting out a canned statement even though you have it memorized. Be creative when starting your explanation. Use statements such as, “your philosophy is” or “people who know me would say”. The next question will probably involve your qualifications for the position. This is the time to give the employer a picture of what you know and how well you know it. Give examples of past successes or education references. You may then be asked if you are familiar with their company. Take the time to do the research. Be sure you are able to speak intelligently about the company.

After you have answered all the questions ask of you, you will be presented with the opportunity to ask your questions. Have your questions committed to memory. This will usually start a dialog between yourself and the person conducting the interview. You will want to know if they are filling a new position or replacing someone. Inquire about the requirements, expectations, and/or limitations of the position. You will want to know if there will be a second interview and how soon they are expecting to hire someone. Leave the question of salary off the table until you are sure which interview is the final one. If the salary is too low, find out their salary increase history and how raises are determined.

Sit yourself down in front of a mirror and practice. Go through all the stages of the interview and visualize the entire procedure in your mind. Watch your body language and correct your posture when needed. The more you practice the more confidence you will have, which will give them a great first impression. This will be your full-time job until you change employment through having a great interview.

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