Interviewing 101

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Lynn Hazan & Associates, Inc. is an executive recruitment and consulting firm in
Chicago specializing in communications and marketing. Lynn Hazan, a seventeen-year industry veteran, focuses on national searches in communications, marketing and consulting, and represents clients in hi-tech, consulting, telecommunications, insurance, health care, financial and professional services, advertising, public relations and publishing. The following is a list of interview do's and don'ts that Hazan shares with all her candidates:

1. Arrive on time.

2. Establish rapport to be called back for a second interview.

3. Demonstrate by word and deed your fit for the position.

4. Project a professional image. Dress appropriately.
In these more conservative times, it's better to dress more conservatively, at least for the first interview.

5. Go in prepared. Do your background research, including internet, newspaper, etc. about the company, products, services and the person you are meeting with.

6. Reflect on ways you could contribute to the company. Be concrete and use examples based on past history and contributions to current/previous company.

7. Be engaging. Let your enthusiasm and interest for the job shine through. Clients don't hire wooden boxes.

8. Use action verbs and appeal to the senses.

9. If you were part of a team effort, acknowledge the team's contribution. If your achievement was your contribution, let the interviewer know (without bragging).

10. Have fun and relax.
If you are tense, you'll be seen as rigid and uncomfortable. Breath deeply before you start the interview and center yourself.

11. Debrief immediately with your recruiter (if you are being represented). Your thoughts and feedback will be helpful to the recruiter in his/her communications with the client, and can help influence decisions.

12. Send a thank you letter within 24 hours. This demonstrates your interest, attention to detail and another opportunity to market yourself. Reference key points covered during the interview and why you would be the perfect fit.

13. Be a role model for your profession.

1. Oversell yourself.
There's a time to sell yourself and your credentials, including presenting samples/portfolio. Watch for cues and clues. The conversation should shift to then discussing the job opening and its challenges/opportunities.

2. Undersell yourself. This is not the place to be modest. Make sure you can draw attention to specific accomplishments, and quantify and qualify them.

3. Go to an interview hungry. You will not be as alert. Make sure you eat beforehand. Likewise, eat lite. You don't want to appear sluggish.

4. Ask to go to lunch or get a snack with your interviewer/hiring manager. The focus of the first interview is to get to know each other. The food and eating can be a distraction. If the hiring manager asks the candidate to interview over a meal, that projects a different, more informal message. Beware, however. It's still an interview -- you are being watched and evaluated.

5. Use jest or humor to joke about your potential employer's products, services or employees. The hiring manager is an extension of the company's brand. He/she is proud to work for the company. Why take pot shots? In addition, no swearing or off color jokes. You want to rise to the top, not stoop to the lowest denominator.

6. Be arrogant or haughty.

7. Talk badly of previous employers, employees or companies.
It will come back to haunt you.

8. Tell lies. Be honest. It's the best policy. If you have something to hide, the future employer will find out.

9. Interview in a monotone voice. It's boring and puts people to sleep. Modulate your voice, use inflection. Smiling helps too. Practice in front of a mirror. Would you want interview yourself?

10. Take anything for granted or make assumptions. You have to earn the trust of the interviewer to be asked back.


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