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Advice on how to ace a job interview

Posted February 24, 2009
Updated May 27, 2009

— The interview is the make or break part of the job search process and in this tough job market, just "winging it" won't work.

Experts say you have between 8 and 30 seconds to make a first impression during a job interview. However, that is it not the only time a person can mess up.

Job interview tips Class offers job interview tips

Donna Gonyeau took an interviewing class at Wake Technical Community College about interviewing. She was laid off in July and wants to improve her chances of landing a job.

“I think that I would communicate information in a variety of different ways,” class participant Donna Gonyeau said.

Most people don't practice for a job interview. But experts say they should.

“One of the questions they always ask you is can you give me your weaknesses. And the first interview that I went on, I just kind of stared blankly at them,” Gonyeau said.

Instructor Becky Sansbury says the most important thing you can do before an interview is prepare.

“You're preparing not only your potential answers, but you're preparing yourself to understand that company, its mission, its culture and whether or not you would even be a good fit there. A very good interviewee will have questions that he or she will want to ask,” Sansbury said.

That is where that practice comes in. Sansbury says you can rehearse with a friend, or by yourself, in front of a video camera or even a mirror. With practice, you may be able to catch some distracting facial or body movements.

“If we are a bit nervous, we may kind of pull on the ear, or do something to the face, or the hair or a gentleman may continually adjust a tie. We may inadvertently ring our hands. We don't even realize it and what it says is, 'Boy am I scared,'” Sansbury said.

Also, once you are in the interview, listen closely.

“When you're asked a question, pause a minute before you answer. It does two things. It says to that other person your question is really important to me, so I'm gonna give it a moment of thought and it also give you that moment to collect your thoughts,” Sansbury said.

Finally, Sansbury says now more than ever you have got to show passion for the job and the company.

“Passion is what ignites the sparkle. If you are interviewing for a job just because you've got to have a paycheck, interviewers can almost smell that. And what they're going to sense is you as a candidate need them. But what they're hiring is the person their company needs," Sansbury said.

After taking the class, Sansbury says she sees the interview process in a new way.

“I used to be terrified. And now I see it as an opportunity and something I can really grow with and learn something,” Gonyeau said.

The interviewing skills class is one of several job search classes offered through a three-way partnership with Wake Tech, the Employment Security Commission and the Avadon Group.

Advice to ace a job interview Web only: More advice to ace a job interview

To find out about the class schedule go to the Avadon Group's Web site. To register, call Pat Taylor at Wake Tech 919-747-0206 or e-mail her at pstaylor@waketech.edu.

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