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How did your last job interview go? Did you receive a job offer? No? Could it be something that happened in the job interview process?

Sometimes we need to think through the job interview and to analyze how well or how poorly we performed. Consider the following items:

Were you on time for the interview? Did you arrive a few minutes early? Were you able to find directions, or a map? Did you drive to the interview facility the day before the interview was scheduled, at about the same time as the interview, so that you had a good idea of how heavy or light traffic would be at that time of the day? Remember, if you are unable to make the job interview on time, be sure to call the interviewer and offer to reschedule.

In today’s modern society, the time is often checked on a cell phone rather than a watch, so make sure you take your cell phone with you. But it is vitally important that you turn your cell phone off during the interview. At the very least, put it on silent or vibrate. To avoid all distraction, it would be best for you to turn off the cell phone completely during the interview, and do not turn it on again until you are back in your car and leaving the interview.

How were you dressed? Was it in line with the position for which you were interviewing? You only make one first impression, and a major part of your first impression is your appearance, your clothes, and your hair. When in doubt, wear a conservative suit in a dark color. Dark blue is always proper. Wear little jewelry if you are a lady, and no jewelry, other than a wedding ring, if you are a gentleman. Are your shoes shined? Not scuffed? Did you brush your teeth? Use mouth wash? Deodorant? Be sure to use little or no aftershave or perfume. What smells good to you may not smell good to the interviewer.

How was your personal presentation? Did you smile? Maintain good eye contact? Use a firm and enthusiastic handshake? Did you sit up and lean forward slightly to show good body language and convey attention? Were you positive and enthusiastic throughout the entire interview?

If you are invited to lunch use good manners, choose something that is not messy. Be sure to use the silverware correctly. It is best that you avoid an alcoholic beverage. No smoking of course.

Company research? Virtually every company has a web site that contains a wealth of information about the company. Be sure to read it carefully and thoroughly. Now read it again. And a third time. You should have a good feel of what the company does before you are interviewed, not after.

How did you perform during the interview? Were you able to answer the questions in a positive and succinct manner? Did you use examples and stories that illustrate your effectiveness on the job? Before you were interviewed, did you role play your answers to potential questions? For a list of job interview questions, just “Google” and you will find dozens of them! Remember, the interview is where you get hired, so do it right!

When given the opportunity, did you ask questions? You should be prepared to ask some good common sense questions such as: What is your management style/company culture? What results would be expected of this position? Describe the ideal candidate for this job. What priorities and major challenges do you see for this position? I am very interested, what is the next step in the process? If you are a talker, do not ask too many questions.

One of the ways to lose the interview and a potential job offer is to focus too much on compensation and benefits. These will normally be reviewed with you when an offer is to be extended to you. Often they are reviewed with the candidate by the human resources department. You should not negotiate until you have leverage, and you do not have leverage until you have a definite job offer.

It is always a good idea to make a statement at the end that outlines your ability to handle the job and to indicate that you would appreciate working with the company and for the decision maker.

Following the interview send a short thank you card or email. If you have not heard from the company within a week, send a follow up letter that further outlines your abilities as they directly relate to the job description that you were provided. Mail or email this follow-up correspondence directly to the decision-maker to whom you would report if you were hired. That is the person that will be very much involved in the final decision making process.

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