Subtle tips for standout job interviews

By Dave Willmer, Computerworld |  Career, career advice, interviewing

Listen. A genuine two-way conversation makes a more memorable ? and usually more favorable ? impression than a recitation of speaking points. Demonstrate that your communication skills include the ability to respond thoughtfully to questions and follow the interviewer's train of thought. On a similar note, when asking questions at the end of the interview, focus them on the company's needs, not your own.

Be confident, but not arrogant. When selling yourself, think of your interviewer as a skeptical shopper. Share specific facts about your accomplishments rather than making general claims about your abilities. The vaguer your statements, the more they risk sounding self-aggrandizing. Boasts such as "I turned that whole department around" won't resonate as strongly as a clear account of what you've done for past employers and how much time and money it saved them.

Be real. Present yourself as the right person for the job, not as the perfect candidate in every conceivable way. Candidates who seem too good to be true tend to be met with apprehension. You also want to make sure that you'll be comfortable in the position, should you be offered it. For example, don't claim to be at ease when interacting with high-level executives if you're not, or say that you like a laid-back environment when you actually prefer a more structured one. Even if the dishonesty doesn't come out during the interview, it can lead you into a job or corporate environment that you simply won't enjoy.

Look sharp. While this may seem fundamental, many IT professionals still fail to dress appropriately for interviews. In a Robert Half Technology survey , 35% of CIOs said a business suit is the most appropriate interview attire. Another 26% cited khakis and a collared shirt as proper apparel, with tailored separates a close third choice, at 24%. Dressing professionally is easy to do, so don't take chances. Comfortable and confident body language is also commonly overlooked. Ask a trusted friend to critique your clothes and physical presence well in advance of your interview date.

Follow up with a purpose. All conscientious candidates follow up with the hiring manager after the interview. To distinguish yourself, treat the follow-up as an extension of the conversation. Use your thank-you note to reinforce a key point from your discussion or even to provide supporting evidence of your qualifications, such as a link to an article you wrote for an industry publication or the URL of your professional blog.

Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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