Having Good Interview Skills

We're sort of back to standing out among the crowd here. If an employer interviews ten different people for the same job in one day, a week later, she's going to be hard pressed to remember one from another, unless one of them really stood out in her mind. You want to be that one person. The ability to do well on interviews is a skill that will serve you well no matter what stage of your career you're in, no matter what business.

It starts with doing your homework and finding out as much as you can about the people you'll be meeting and their companies. What are their backgrounds? What type of projects have they been associated with? What is the company known for? What have they been successful with? Knowing about the person you're meeting will, first, illustrate your desire for the job, and second, it says you're the type of person who will put in the extra effort without being asked.

You want to walk into an interview well prepared. Not only should you come armed with the research you've gathered, but also with your personal pitch down pat and also some well thought out questions. As you'll see in Chapter 10, I'm a firm believer in there being certain protocols to a successful meeting. Of course, none of it is carved in stone and much will depend on the interview style of the person you'll be meeting and the time allotted; but the more prepared you are, the better.

More than anything, this is a chance for you to let the person you're meeting see and feel your passion and get to know you on a personal level, no matter what your experience level is. It's an opportunity for you to shine and to differentiate yourself from the nine other people who were met with that day. It's your opportunity to convey that you have the right attitude and are willing to go the distance. If you're engaging, can convey a sense of who you are and what you're all about; if you're the type of person your interviewer would like to have lunch with or have around the office or set, you'll have made a connection (and possibly even an advocate), whether you get this particular job or not. If you walk into a meeting without having done your homework, without much to say, without a way to let this person know how special you are, you run the risk of being forgettable.

A terrific interview can often tip the scales when a decision has to be made between someone with more experience and a subdued personality vs. someone with less experience who's brimming over with passion and determination.

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