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5 tips for a successful job interview

Posted August 2

Ah, job interviews. All the awkwardness that comes from introducing yourself to a stranger and trying to get them to like you, while knowing your very livelihood is on the line if you don’t make a good first impression.

There are ways to prepare for this stressful, high-stakes moment. Here are five tips to do well in a job interview:

1. Know what to say.

AOLFinance recommended describing yourself as “highly motivated,” “flexible,” “having a positive attitude,” “energetic” and “experienced.” Use the company’s own words to describe yourself, and don’t neglect your basic manners by forgetting to say “please” and “thank you.”

If a question stumps you, instead of saying “I don’t know,” buy yourself some time and flatter the interviewer by saying “That’s a good question,” monster.com suggested.

Above all, stress that you want the job — so important, AOL mentioned it twice.

2. Know what not to say.

Business Insider warned against saying anything that makes you sound lazy or entitled — don’t ask about having an office, making personal calls, or how soon you can take a vacation. And don’t ask about money too soon.

Also, don’t say anything that makes it sound like you didn’t bother doing any research on the company or your interviewer, such as “What does the company do?”

“Never ask anything that can easily be answered with a Google search,” noted Business Insider.

3. Know how to answer that question.

That question being, “What is your biggest weakness?” or some variation thereof.

Don’t pretend you don’t have a weakness — it’s the worst answer you can give, according to jobhunt.org. Instead, it suggested going one of two routes: one that acts as a strength in disguise, such as being too self-critical meaning you’re also careful, or one that is irrelevant to the job, such as finding it hard to disconnect from technology outside of work.

Try to frame your weakness in an honest, authentic way that lets it be taken as a strength, Stuff.co recommended. Talk not just about your weakness, but how you became aware of it and overcame it or used to your advantage.

4. Watch your body language.

Start off by shaking hands to show confidence and be more memorable, meeting the interviewer's eyes while doing so and maintaining regular eye contact throughout the interview, said Business Insider.

Sit up straight, but also lean forward a bit to show you’re engaged in the discussion. Nod when it’s appropriate to show interest and agreement with what’s said. Perhaps even mirror your interviewer’s body language, to show “admiration and agreement,” Business Insider continued.

And don’t forget to smile.

5. Following up afterward.

Email a thank-you note after the interview, or mail one — what kind of company you’re applying for may determine if the efficient or traditional way will score more points, noted Nigerian Bulletin. You can get your interviewer’s contact info simply by asking for a business card.

If you get a second interview or job offer, respond as quickly as possible. If you don’t get the job, accept it with grace and send a follow-up message thanking the interviewer for their time anyway, the Bulletin continued. Turn the loss into a gain by making the interviewer a part of your network, and asking for contact referrals, suggested livecareer.com.

If you’re bold, you might even ask your interviewer for pointers on how you present yourself during an interview, the Bullentin suggested. Most likely, they won’t answer, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Just restrict it to email or letters — it puts the interviewer in an awkward position to ask on the phone.

Email: smanderson@deseretnews.com, Twitter: @Sarahsonofander.

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