by Glenda Davis
Ask a random selection of people for a listing of their least favorite activities, and right up there with “getting my teeth drilled” is likely to be “going to a job interview.” The job interview is often regarded as a confusing, humiliating, and nerve-racking experience. First of all, you have to wait for your appointment in an outer room, often trapped there with other people applying for the same job. You sit nervously, trying not to think about the fact that only one of you may be hired. Then you are called into the interviewer's office. Faced with a complete stranger, you have to try to act both cool and friendly as you are asked all sorts of questions. Some questions are personal: “What is your greatest weakness?” Others are confusing: “Why should we hire you?” The interview probably takes about twenty minutes but seems like two hours. Finally, you go home and wait for days and even weeks. If you get the job, great. But if you don't, you're rarely given any reason why.
The job-interview “game” may not be much fun, but it is a game you can win if you play it right. The name of the game is standing out of the crowd—in a positive way. If you go to the interview in a Bozo the Clown suit, you'll stand out of the crowd, all right, but not in a way that is likely to get you hired. 3
Here are guidelines to help you play the interview game to win: 4
Present yourself as a winner. Instantly, the way you dress, speak, and move gives the interviewer more information about you than you would think possible. You doubt that this is true? Consider this: a professional job recruiter, meeting a series of job applicants, was asked to signal the moment he decided not to hire each applicant. The thumbs-down decision was often made in less than forty-five seconds—even before the applicant thought the interview had begun. 5
How can you keep from becoming a victim of an instant “no” decision? * Dress...