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Success in Job Interviews

By ARA Content

Nearly everyone who has ever interviewed for a job can tell you a horror story that no amount of preparation or presentation could have avoided.

Good presentation also means demonstrating that you're excited about the job
But according to experts, being well-prepared, poised and enthusiastic can get you through even the most horrible job interview scenarios with your confidence intact.

Diana Graves-Sharple, director of career services at The Art Institute of Atlanta, looks back at her own personal experience with a nightmarish job interview and can now laugh. "The interviewer, a sales manager, was an ex-pro football player and conducted much of the interview by shouting at me when he disapproved of my answers to his questions. After about 45 minutes of being brow-beaten, I was just looking for a way to get out of the building," she recalls.

Ex-football player managers aside, what can you do to be prepared for the odd interviewer or unexpected questions? "Research and more research," says Kristin N. Miller, career services advisor at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. "If you've done your research, chances are you won't be thrown off guard during the interview itself, no matter interviewer's style or questions asked," she says.

Miller suggests checking out Web sites like and printing off the commonly asked interview questions. "Practice answering the questions out loud so you can hear how you sound. This can help you structure your answers so you respond professionally and without rambling," Miller suggests.

Just as important as preparation is presentation. "How a job applicant walks in the door, the way that they address the receptionist, what they do while waiting, or even how they fill out the application form are all tests. If they do not pass these small and seemingly insignificant tests, they most likely will not get the job," she cautions. "The old adage is true -- you never get a second chance to make a first impression," Miller adds.

Good presentation also means demonstrating that you're excited about the job says Jenny Bouwman, director of career services of The Art Institute of California -- Orange County. "A job interview process is a lot like dating," says Bouwman. "Most employers say that they will hire someone with enthusiasm even if they need training. So, like on a first date, yawning is not appropriate, but being interested in what the employer is saying, and demonstrating excitement can be key to getting a job offer," she says.

Last but not least, don't forget the obvious says Carl L. Brunswick, career services advisor at Miami International University of Art & Design. "I always tell our students to stay away from outrageous or offensive clothing or jewelry, not to talk politics or religion, and never ask 'what can your company do for me?'" says Brunswick.

Anything else? Here's Brunswick's final checklist, along with his best wishes for landing the job:

* Arrive early

* Carry a few mints and do a fresh breath check

* Offer a firm handshake and maintain eye contact

* Follow up with a thank you letter

Courtesy of ARA Content

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