Nine Ways to Slay Your Job Interviews

1) Look like you have it together.

Studies show that when men interview women (even men who believe themselves to be champions of women), they first look at whether or not you appear put-together. Are you dressed appropriately? Do you sit up straight? Are you maintaining eye contact? Do you present visually as a person prepared to sell yourself and your credentials?

2) Exude self-confidence.

Be engaging and what I call “infotaining” — informing while entertaining at the same time. Project a level of comfort with yourself. Remember that you don’t need to repeat what’s on your resume; the interviewer can read. If you are asked about your experience, don’t convey standard, boring information. Instead, inject some enthusiasm, use a little humor, or tell a relevant story.

3) Never apologize or equivocate.

Don’t qualify your answers, hedge your statements, or make excuses of any sort. Hunt down and kill all phrases like:

  • “I’m not sure, but I think…”
  • “I would have gotten a better grade if I….”
  • “I’m sorry I’m running late, but I …”
  • “I would have stayed at that job, but there was a ….”

4) Be well-spoken and articulate.

Make sure your tone and language match your interviewer and the situation. The way you talk to your friends — with slang, swearing, and street talk — have their place, but it’s not in a job interview (unless you have an amazingly cool person interviewing you).

5) Mute your internal critic.

Silence your demons. You need to start acting and risking. Women suffer from self-doubt and are afraid to fail or to seize opportunities. Tell yourself that you deserve this job. You are qualified for this job. Even if you don’t meet all the requirements, you are proactive and can figure out what you don’t know.

6) Take credit for your accomplishments.

My experience and a host of research studies confirm: A man will explain his success by pointing to his skills and qualifications, while a woman will credit external factors for her achievements.

7) Do your homework.

Buckle down and prepare. Before the interview, the least you can do is Google the company and read the latest media reports relevant to its business, such as current market factors, scandals, sales trends, changes in technology, and executive turnover. Doing this not only helps you ask knowledgeable questions, but can also help you decide if you really are suited for the job and if you want it.

8) Become a storyteller.

Resumes are usually pretty generic. Frankly, they’re usually boring. So, when the interviewer asks you a question about your resume, make it come to life. If you have “real” experience in the industry where the job is offered, tell a story about how you got that experience. Even if you’re right out of school and have never worked a “real” job, showcase some aptitude that you do have.

9) Lighten up.

Don’t take yourself so seriously. Yes, you want this job, and yes, you deserve it, but it doesn’t define who you are. Try not to be too stiff or too formal. Stay professional, but keep things natural and real. If you’re too uptight and rigid in your demeanor and responses, you won’t come off as someone likable enough to work with, or who can assimilate into the company’s culture.

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