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November 2005

by Susan Reynolds

Have you ever come away from an interview only to think of so many things you wish that you'd said? Many people are truly excellent in extemporaneous speaking, but almost nobody can truly put their best foot forward without a plan.

I once helped a fellow who had suffered the following interview nightmare: "Do you supervise people in this position?" he was asked. "No," he answered honestly. He neglected to continue that he had successfully and gladly supervised many people in other past positions. Why? Because he simply didn't think of a clever way at the time to be sure he made that additional point. I know that it may have seemed obvious that he should have corrected the misinterpretation, but sometimes it all happens too fast, and goes in a different direction, even at the most senior levels!

Do you really know how to subtly take, and keep, control of an interview? Do you know how to read the interviewer for indications of their style and needs? Have you correctly interpreted the culture of the company, and whether or not you fit? What would you need to know to determine your fit and happiness in the company? How would you find out if you have a competitor for the position who they believe is very strong? How should you convince them that you are the best answer for their organizational needs? What political nuances might exist that will impact your candidacy? Are you speaking to the correct decision-maker? How should you respond if you believe you have been asked something untoward or illegal? Do you know what you're worth, and how to handle an interviewer's questions about your prior compensation?

No matter how good you believe you are in "winging it", the best-planned interviewing strategies will almost always win the day, AND the offer!

Susan Reynolds is a senior partner at Newmarket Careers in Santa Clarita, a job search and career strategy firm geared toward managerial, executive, and senior level professional careers. She can be reached at or 661-755-3308.

Other Job and Career Success Related Articles:
Job Search is Like Dating!

Compete for the Best Position!

Is Your Next Career Move Planned?

Manners Matter . . . On Both Sides of a Job Search

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