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Source: NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, March 6, 2006

Acing Your Job Interview
By Lore Croghan

Keep it simple. That’s the advice of career counselors when you face a tough question during your job interview.

If you’ve prepared answers to the tougher questions that show you could succeed in the job, you’re less likely to blow the interview.

Before you walk in, you should make a list of questions you plan to ask – so you can gather info to help you decide whether you should take the job if it’s offered.

“Do practice interviews, with a friend or family member playing the role of interviewer,” said David Bowman, chairman of TTG Consultants, a career and workplace expert. “Videotape your practice session, study the tape and do it again – until you aren’t nervous, or rambling.”

  • Maintain eye contact
  • Sit up straight in your chair
  • Use animated facial expressions
  • Consider taking notes
  • DON'T:
  • Be too nonchalant
  • Forget to wear a jacket
  • Cross you arms (it could look hostile)
  • Invade your interviewer’s space


    Q. Tell me about yourself. “This question’s hard because it seems easy. You’ve been asked it on every first date you’ve ever been on. This isn’t an opportunity to be colorful. The question really means, ‘What can you do for me?’” said David Bowman of TTG Consultants.
    A. “Describe your strengths and skills as they relate to work,” Bowman said. “Then hand the interviewer your resume and say, ‘I’ve done these jobs at these companies. Which would you like to talk about first?’”

    Q. Why did you leave your last job? “If you bad-mouth your former employer, it shows you have no loyalty, you’re negative – and you might act that way at a new job,” Bowman said. Don’t dish – no matter how much you hated your last job.

    A. “We had some philosophical differences, and I wanted to move on.” Don’t say anything else – unless the interviewer presses you by asking, “Were you fired?” Then, if you lost your job because of circumstances beyond your control – like a merger – say so. If your departure was ugly, say something like, “I prefer not to talk about the people there – it wouldn’t be fair to them.”

    Q. What are your short-term and long-term goals? “The interviewer wants to know if you’re planning on staying long enough to make hiring you worthwhile,” Bowman said.

    A. Be sure you have five-year and 10-year plans you can briefly describe. Then ask, “Would these goals be realistic for me at this company?”

    Q. Are you a competitive person? “This is a trap – it means, ‘Are you a hotshot? Will you try to go after my job?’” Bowman said.

    A. You need to put the interviewer at ease. Say something like, “I compete against myself – I try to do better and better work all the time, and exceed my own goals.” If the interviewer actually wants to know if you compete hard against other companies in your industry, he’ll say so.


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