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Top 5 Tips for Getting a Second Interview

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Don't Let Nervousness Overcome You in a Job Interview

Are you great at answering interview questions, but aren’t being asked back for a second interview? In my experience, it’s often the little things that trip up an otherwise qualified candidate. I’d like to pass along five essential tips for making sure you succeed at the more subtle areas of interviewing.

Let’s face it; an interview is one of life’s most stressful and challenging tasks. You’re put under the microscope, and it’s tough to get the “true you” across in a 45-minute meeting. More than once I’ve seen a great candidate get tripped up by forgetting to do one or more of the “little things” that contribute to the employer’s opinion.

Five subtle tips to succeed in an interview:

  1. Dress for the part: With the new casual dress trend, the business-suit-for-safety wisdom is not always best. I recently interviewed a technical person for a job, and his suit was distracting. I was trying to picture him in our casual, more laid-back environment, and his suit was preventing me from “seeing” him in the job.

    At the same time, you never want to be under-dressed for an interview. What’s the best way to handle this? My advice is to ask the company what style of dress works for the interview, then take it up one notch. For example, if they say “casual”, I’d advise nice slacks and a pressed shirt and jacket. One of the benefits of this approach is that you’re showing the interviewer you have the social graces to respect their culture.

  1. Show up precisely 5 minutes early: I have to admit, it drives me crazy when an interviewee shows up 15 or 20 minutes early. It results in this annoying pressure, knowing that the person is waiting for me. So why five minutes? Because that’s just enough time to sign-in, catch your breath, and get yourself into the mental zone of the interview.
  1. Think “warmth” during the first 5 minutes: Most people go into an interview nervous, tight, and without their normal charm. If you want the interviewer to relax, you need to relax. The best way to do this is to make sure you smile early in the interview. Nothing warms a conversation more than a smile.
  1. Bring two copies of your resume: Many hiring managers forget to bring a resume to an interview, and you’ll appear on-the-ball if you have an extra copy for them. When you hand them your resume, make sure you do not start the interview by saying “here’s a new version of my resume”. All that makes me think is that you’re busy tuning the truth in hopes of getting interviews.
  1. Send your thank you via snail mail: If you want to get noticed, show up in their postal mailbox. While most hiring managers are getting 200-300 emails in a day (most are resumes), they are getting very little in the postal mail. It’s your call whether this is a typed letter, or a handwritten thank you note – just make sure it’s done within 24 hours of the interview.

I hope these tips help you in your next interview.

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