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June 2012
Save the Interview, Save the Job!
by Susan Reynolds

Across my years of helping people to win great jobs, I've heard an amazing array of stories ranging from slightly off kilter to downright shocking. Job searchers have encountered everyone from seemingly outright incompetent interviewers to profoundly clever, maybe even manipulative questioners on the other side of the desk. They've encountered every array of professionalism, and lack thereof!

How to be prepared for both ends of the interviewing spectrum? Here are several tips.

1. Know yourself. Be very analytical. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? You must have your best examples of career success ready, and at the "tip of your tongue" so you can use success stories to portray your abilities. You must have thought through your weaknesses so you can show how you can handle challenges.

2. Know your target organization. What are the obstacles they are facing in their marketplace? Who is their competition? What are their barriers to success?

3. Know your goal. You're having the meeting to determine the compan's needs and to propose yourself as a solution to their concerns. Organizations hire people to play a role in the success of their process. So your goal is not to "one up" the interviewer. Your goal is to portray yourself as the best solution.

4. Keep your cool. In the face of a seemingly unprepared or inept interviewer, it would be so tempting to swing into a mode of correcting the incompetence rather than winning the job. You'll want to analyze whether an interviewer's lack of professionalism is indicative of an entire problematic culture or just one individual's peculiarity!

So you'll be in meetings with great strategic interviewers and probably also find yourself in some pretty bizarre conversations. Be ready for both. Listen carefully. And be prepared so the key points you want to make will be right there for you, no matter how strange the meeting!

Susan Reynolds is a senior partner at NewMarket Careers in Santa Clarita, a job search, career strategy, and resume-writing 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:
You're Overqualified, So Unemployed!

What, No Interviews?

Not Really Networking

What is a Good Resume?


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