By Michelle A. Riklan, CPRW, CEIC

We can never know for sure who will be sitting across from the desk and interviewing us for that dream job. So, let me reiterate, we cannot assume that we know what will be asked and how the interview will be conducted. Our best line of defense with the many unknowns of the job interview is “BE PREPARED”.

You’ve dressed appropriately, looking your best, carefully planned your route to arrive 15 minutes early. Your homework is done and you have a clear understanding of the positon, a solid overview of the company and you are ready to put your best foot forward. Now what?

Have you mentally prepared? Are you walking in with a confident, strees-free and capable attitude? Are you ready to project that you would be a positive asset to the company’s team? Enthusiasm and sincere interest go a long way so get your energy up and “put on a positive face”. A very simple technique to “psyche” yourself up before you head out the door is to look in the mirror and smile, several times. Try it enough times until you are laughing at yourself and feeling silly. It may sound funny, but it will lift your mood and boost your energy! And remember again to keep that cheery dispositon all the way to the interview. You never know if the person you cut off in the parking lot, bumped into in the elevator or didn’t hold the door for coming into the building will be the person momentarily sitting across from you. Stay positive, unrushed, stress-free and friendly all the way through the process.

Copies, copies, copies. Have several, clean, unwrinkled copies of your well-written resumee. Again, think positively that the person you meet with can’t wait to show several people the resumee of the fabulous candidate that they just interviewed.

Be aware of body language. Did you know that only 10% of of the message that you send is verbal? So, it’s not just how you say and what you say, it is also what your non-verbal is saying. Be aware of your posture, make eye contact and focusing when your interviewer is speaking. Do you have any annoying, unknown habits that could compromsie your interview? Ask your friends, co-workers and family. Sometimes, we are not aware that we may play with our pen, sigh, roll out eyes, tap our fingers, nod our head too much, etc. Such habits may give unintentional yet negative perceptions to the interviewer such as impatience, disinterest and nervousness.

The handshake. Still up for debate. People are never sure… firm, medium, does it depend on the gender of the other person… So let me offer to you the 5 Key Points of an appropriate handshake as cited in Interviewing: The Gold Standard, by Laura deCarlo, President of Career Directors International.

1. Offer hand palm facing up
2. Grasp firmly
3. Look at the color of the person’s eyes
4. Shake hands briefly
5. Pull hand away cleanly with no sweep on palm

Lastly, be yourself. Remember that not only is the company iterviewing you, but you are assessing whether or not the position, company, environment and people fit your needs. Be true to yourself and stay affirmative that if this is not your best match, you are prepared and o.k. with continuing your search.

Author's Bio: 

Michelle A. Riklan holds a B.A. in Theatre, English Literature and Speech Communications from Hofstra University. While beginning her corporate career, she pursued and completed a M.A. in Speech and Interpersonal Communications from New York University where she also served as an Instructor in Voice and Diction/Public Speaking. Utilizing her education and presentation skills, she continued a career path in Human Resource Management. Her generalist background is all inclusive, but her areas of expertise include employment, employee relations and training and development.

With a combined 20 years of in-house corporate and targeted consulting experience, Michelle services large corporations as well as small businesses and individuals in all aspects of Human Resources and Career Management.

As a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Employment Interview Consultant, Michelle has written hundreds of résumés and coached clients through all phases of the job search. Her résumés get results! Individual services include:

Résumés that land on the top of the pile!
Coaching that puts you ahead of the competition.
Training that ensures career advancement.
We want you to reach your top potential!

Society of Human Resource Management
American Society of Training and Development,
Professional Association of Résumé Writers/Career Coaches
National Résumé Writers Association
Career Director’s International

Certifications and Training:
Certified Professional Résumé Writer
Certified Employment Interview Consultant
DiSC Administrator
Myers-Briggs Assessment Administration
Michelle is also a co-founder of Self Improvement Online, Inc.