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     Interview Etiquette

Interviews are tricky things. It is sometimes difficult to decide how to act or react or interact in an interview situation. All of us at one time or another freeze up and don't know what to say or how to say it. When interviewing we have so many individual PREFERENCES to consider, both of our own and of the interviewer. Let's talk about some of the decisions needed to be considered and how we could or should handle them:

This is a big one. If you don't see yourself happily working for the company -- don't go. If you can envision yourself two years from now moving up within the ranks of the organization -- go. If you think you may like the opportunity to speak with someone but you have some reservations about the position -- go. That's what interviews are for, allowing each party to DECIDE if the opportunity is good for everyone concerned.

If you have an emergency have the decency to contact someone as soon as you know you are dealing with a possible CANCELLATION situation and always reschedule with that person when you make that call. This is common courtesy. Remember to always be considerate about someone else's time.

Upon arrival you may be asked to complete an APPLICATION so it is best to arrive 15 to 20 minutes prior to your schedule appointment. It also gives you time to sit quietly and gear yourself up mentally for the task ahead-selling yourself.

The gatekeeper is the person who greets you as you enter the building or suite of offices where you will be interviewed. This person could be a secretary, a receptionist or simply someone who has seen you come in and is willing to assist you by contacting your interviewer and announcing your arrival. When it comes down to hiring, I have seen many company decision makers ask those who work within the organization if you were courteous, friendly, and PROFESSIONAL in your brief dealings with them. I had one individual not get the position because she treated a decision-maker's personal assistant as if they were her own.

Remove sunglasses or hats prior to meeting with the decision maker. Always wear APPROPRIATE clothing -- something conservative like a blue business suit with white shirt or blouse is always a good choice. Avoid overly-loud or trendy clothing -- you are going to an interview to show off your skills, not your fashion sense. Go easy on the jewelry and don't wear cologne or perfume (you never know who might be allergic or sensitive to strong odors).

You would think this is an obvious thing but in an interview situation it's easy to get CARRIED AWAY with information and jump into a sentence before your audience is finished with his/her thought. Remember we were issued 2 ears and one mouth -- we should listen twice as much as we speak. This tiny bit of advice will do you well in every walk of life from interviewing to marriage to friendships.

Please carefully listen to each question. Once again it is easy in the interview situation to jump the gun and answer a question we ASSUME is being asked instead of the question which was actually put on the table. It's even a good idea to use active listening skills and reframe the question back to the interviewer to make sure you understood it correctly before answering.

When you are asked a question, do not ever think you can circle the question with everything but the answer -- the interviewer may not say anything at the time but they will be AWARE of the fact that you did not answer their question. You see, these people have an agenda -- to get certain answers. If you neglect to answer one of these questions they may feel you have something to hide.

Do your research about the company, the potential position, and any other pertinent issues ahead of time -- then take a list of carefully worded questions to the interview with you. Companies love to hire individuals who have carefully PREPARED for the meeting-it shows a level of interest above the average.

Even if you decide in the middle of the interview that you're not interested in the position, be considerate. If you let the interviewer know with dignity and respect you are not interested, they may even go as far as to SUGGEST someone else who may be hiring for the type of position you are seeking. I have seen this happen on more than one occasion.


Ajay Patole is a qualified management professional working as sales manager and runs a site 'Venturemall',a cool hangout to play money games, buy and sell in auctions, date, and photochat. Visit his website at venturemall.tripod.com.

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