Recently I eavesdropped on a line of people interviewing for a job at a local bookstore establishment. The first in line had the fresh ear of the interviewer and the greatest opportunity to make a good first impression. Alas, he did not. He showed up in jeans, apologized for being late (the first thing out of this mouth), commented on his poor SAT scores and didn’t bring his resume due to a last-minute shortage of printer paper. Poor guy. At the end of the day he still won’t have a job.

Interviewing isn’t something we’re born knowing how to do. It’s a skill, one that needs to be learned. Whether a writer meeting a potential publishing contact or a teenager looking for a job, here are my tips for a fabulous first impression:

  1. Dress appropriately for the job setting; I suggest taking it one level up from what you think would be enough
  2. Arrive ON TIME or preferably a few minutes early
  3. Offer a strong hand shake, and look the interviewer in the eye
  4. Don’t start out with a negative; Always, ALWAYS start out with something positive
  5. Come FULLY prepared
  6. Research the person/company ahead of time, and have a few questions of your own on the ready
  7. Do not be self-deprecating; it is NOT endearing
  8. Do not be arrogant; it is even less endearing
  9. Google yourself to see where you show up before an interview; chances are the person interviewing you has done it already, and you might be surprised the Facebook pictures and Twitter comments you conveniently forgot about.
  10. No begging. It looks as pathetic in real life as it does on American Idol.

What’s your secret to a great interview?

(picture courtesy of lockstockb, stock.xchng)

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