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Job Interview Tips
Keep in mind that good attitude, attire, and behavior score some of the biggest points at a job interview. Interviewers are regular people like the rest of us, easily impressed by good behavior and just as easily offended by inappropriate behavior. What attitude or behavior may be appropriate to you, may not be classified as proper to others, especially very professional businesses. Keep it calm, cool, and collected while meeting with the employers, and pay attention to the attitude and body language that you are given. Here are some more things to keep in mind while at a job interview. Follow these tips and you will be giving yourself the best opportunity possible.

Before the interview
Do your homework: Research the company and study the job description before you interview, as your interviewer will likely ask what you know about the company and why you want the job. It also helps you to formulate questions about the company and job. Interviewers typically expect you to ask such questions.

With a friend, relative or by yourself, practice answering the other common questions interviewers ask.

Prepare to negotiate salary by having a range in mind and studying the techniques. The Web has lots of salary surveys and negotiation resources you can research.

Collect and neatly arrange your important papers and work samples in a nice briefcase or portfolio. This makes you look organized and professional. Remember to pack relevant documents such as extra resumes and reference lists, immigrant work-authorization papers, letters of recommendation, and information required on job applications. Bring at least one pen and pencil, and a notepad too.

Practice good hygiene, comb or brush your hair, and dress appropriately. Even if you know that the company dress is business-casual, dress up anyway. It shows professionalism and respect, and most importantly, that you know how to dress for interviews.

Unless otherwise instructed (e.g., to fill out a job application), arrive five to ten minutes early for the interview. This shows that you are eager and punctual. If you're not at least five minutes early for an interview, you're five minutes late! But don't arrive more than ten minutes early, as it might be inconvenient for your interviewers. Definitely don't be late!

Don't bring uninvited guests like pets, children or significant others.

Turn off your cell phone, pager, PDA alarms and other devices that might interrupt your interview.

During the interview
Smile, immediately offer a firm handshake, introduce yourself, and say something like, "I'm pleased to meet you." or "I've been looking forward to talking with you." Be sincere and avoid informal greetings you might use to say hello to your friends. Take the polite, conservative route.

Read the mood. If the interviewer is formal, then you probably should be, too. If the interviewer is casual, then follow along while remaining courteous and professional. In either case, try to appear to be relaxed, but not too relaxed. It's not a good idea to put your feet up on the interviewer's desk!

Wait to be told to take a seat or ask if you may, then say thank you. This shows good manners.

If it's possible without making a commotion, scoot your chair a little closer to the interviewer's desk or take the chair closet to the desk, like you're ready to dive right in. This shows interest and confidence. But don't invade the interviewer's personal space, a perimeter of about two feet by U.S. standards.

Sit with good posture. If you don't know what to do with your hands, keep them folded in your lap. This is another indication of good manners. Avoid crossing your arms over your chest, as it subliminally demonstrates a closed mind to some.

Even formally-trained interviewers are regular people like you, so they'll expect you to be a little nervous while sitting in the "hot seat." Still, try to avoid obvious signs like fidgeting.

Maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Avoid staring or you might make the interviewer uncomfortable, but don't look away too often either. To some, failure to maintain a comfortable level of eye contact indicates that you are lying, reaching for answers or lacking confidence.

Don't eat, drink, chew gum or smoke, or even ask if it's okay. But if the interviewer offers coffee or other beverages, it's okay to accept. It's probably better to say no thanks to snacks (unless you're at an interview meal), so you don't accidentally drop crumbs in your lap, be forced to talk with your mouth full, and all that other stuff your mom told you not to do with your food.

Speaking of which, if you are attending an interview meal, do follow all the good eating manners your parents taught you. For example, put your napkin in your lap, don't order anything complicated and messy to eat like ribs or crab legs, avoid bad-breath foods like garlic and onions, chew with your mouth closed, keep your elbows off the table, and order only moderately-priced items from the menu. Don't order booze, even if your interviewer does. Let your interviewer pick up the tab and be sure to thank him or her for the meal.

It's okay to ask questions to better answer the questions the interviewer asks you. But withhold the bulk of your questions until the interviewer asks if you have any, which is typically toward the end of the interview. Avoid asking the frivolous just because interviewers expect you to have questions. Instead, ask about important matters, such as job duties, management style and the financial health of the company. It's not a good idea to ask questions about vacation, sick days, lunch breaks and so on, right off the bat. Ask about the lesser matters of importance during follow-up interviews.

Typically, you'll negotiate salary, benefits, perks and such in a follow-up interview. Regardless, don't bring it up until asked, yet be ready to discuss it at anytime.

After the interview
Immediately send a thank-you letter to each of your interviewers. (To get their contact info, ask for business cards during interviews.) Sending thank-you letters is professional and courteous, and will help to make you stand out in the minds of your interviewers. Besides, many interviewers expect it, and it's a good idea to do what interviewers expect.

Be prepared to attend two or three interviews at the same company. If you're called back for another interview, it means that they're interested in you. But they're also narrowing the competition, so keep up the good work!

Be patient. It's not unusual for interviewers to take weeks to narrow the competition. But if you don't hear from them in about a week or 24 hours or so after they said you'd hear from them, it's okay to send follow-up letters. (Don't call without permission. Interviewers might consider it rude of applicants to interrupt their workday with unsolicited calls.) One follow-up letter per interviewer is sufficient. Don't pester, as the squeaky wheel doesn't always get the oil in this case. If they're interested, they'll contact you without prodding. But it doesn't hurt to make sure your candidacy didn't fall through the corporate cracks. It also shows that you really want the job and are eager to start.
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