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April 30, 2009


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I agree with always being "on". One thing to add: be enthusiastic. It lets the interviewer know that you want to be there, be a part of the team, and contribute to their success. This could be a great opportunity. Show a little life.

Agree with the above comment. It never hurts to try and connect with each person you talk to as well. Try to listen and understand their needs. Usually when you interview you meet with potential supervisors, peers and supervisors of peers. Therefore it never hurts to have an attitude and ask, if you are successful in the interview and take the job, what can you do to make their life easier? This goes a long way to landing the job and will put you on stronger footing if you are closely matched otherwise with competing candidates.


I'll also add: have a smile on your face. I've worked in HR and noticed that the people that have great attitudes almost always get the job. Even if they were not qualified for the position the HR manager would find them another position because she liked them so much. There are hundreds of people with the same degree, certifications, experience but your personality can really set you apart.

Well, if little things really do matter, the employer might as well roll a die. I would call that an epic process fail for HR. I suspect the function of the interview is mainly to make sure that you did not make stuff up. That you were actually competent enough to write your own application, and that you actually did what you (or your references) say you did. Hence, if you actually are what you claimed to be from your application, I say don't sweat it. I think I have broken all of the above at one point or another, except the one about oral hygiene :-D

I read somewhere, I think it was in the politically incorrect Bell curve by Herrnstein and Murray, that the interview was one of the least significant indicators of subsequent job performance. Here they are in rough order: 1) Your IQ (it is illegal to test directly for IQ though, but a college education provides a good proxy which is why white collar employers like college education). 2) Your job history (what you have actually done). 3) Your references (what other people think you have done). 4) The interview. 5) Your "passion". I was surprised that passion was so low on the scale, but I guess passion is not required to do a good job for most jobs. GPA was also included in the list, somewhere in the upper half, number 2.5 or so.

I tend to write very detailed and I'd like to say intelligent cover letters, emails actually, which are longer than the recommended one page and then provide a link to my CV or just tell them to google my name. This has a very high success rate. Of course, I don't deal with managers or HR in my line or work---the letter goes directly to whomever I'll be working for.

I once had an interview three blocks from my apartment and unknowingly walked most of the way there and then rode in the elevator with one of the interviewers (it was right after lunchtime). I didn't give her any reason to think poorly of me. :)

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