How to succeed in an interview

By Joel Snyder, InfoWorld |  Career

SO YOU'RE THE total IT package, interviewing for a new job. You've got
credentials on your wall and years of experience under your belt. But how do you convey
all your strengths to the person on the other side of the desk? With more than 20 years
of experience in human resources and organizational development, Michael R. Neece --
president and CEO at Tri-Point, a builder of Web-based hiring automation tools in
Hopkinton, Mass. -- suggests several ways to spruce up your delivery.

1. Make the first impression count

First impressions are vexing because you only get to make one. "[Bad first
impressions] are very hard to overcome, and you need a savvy interviewer to overcome
[them]," Neece says. When you greet an interviewer, make eye contact, smile, and shake
hands. Maintain an air of confidence and enthusiasm, but let the interviewer set the
tone.

2. Get over yourself

A candidate who exudes an aura of arrogance won't impress a prospective employer,
Neece says. "People don't want to hire arrogance. Arrogance implies aggravation," he
says. Talk about your achievements in detail. "You can appear confident simply by
citing specific examples of problems you had to solve, and the measurable results that
were achieved."

3. Stay silent, stay wise

When you're collecting your thoughts, you can say "um" to fill those pregnant
pauses, or you can ponder silently. According to Neece, silence is
golden. "[Saying] 'um' is saying, 'Let me think here, just give me a couple of
minutes.' [If] you replace your 'um' with silence, you actually seem much more
intelligent," he says.

4. Embody confidence

Poor body language can be distracting and suggest a lack of self-confidence. "If
you're really slouched down, it does not leave a good impression," Neece says. Although
eye contact is a sign of respect, you do not need to keep your eyes locked on your
interviewer's. "[Use] just the amount of eye contact you're naturally comfortable
with."

5. Share the spotlight

Don't just revel in the opportunity to talk about yourself. "An interview is not an
interrogation. It really is a two-way exchange of information," Neece says. "Be
detailed, but make sure you're not boring your listener." Take advantage of your
opportunity to ask questions at the end.

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