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By Jennifer L. Hochlan for LIFELines

Even if you have all the answers to every question you'll be asked in an interview and you have the best Brooks Brothers suit known to man, if you don't present yourself well, you can fail the job interview. But if you are prepared for whatever the interviewer might throw at you, the only thing you will have to fear is fear itself.

The First Step
Know your company and your interviewer. Be aware of any news stories the company has appeared in within the past six months to a year. If there are public projects in the news that the company is working on, prove how much of an asset you will be to their projects.

If you can check out your interviewer's style, do so. Is it a man or a woman? What is the interviewer's title, and where does he or she fit into the organization? Is he or she rigid or laid back? All of this information can help you polish your answers to anticipated questions. It also gives you an edge when it comes to the unexpected.

The Day Before
Don't forget the basics. Know where your interview is going to be. It is a good idea to do a drive-by to see how long it takes to get there at the time of day your interview is scheduled. Allow yourself an extra 30 minutes or so for traffic and the unexpected. If you are female, keep an extra pair of pantyhose in your glove box for emergencies. Your hair should be conservatively styled — no mall flips or pageant hair. It may also help you to lay your clothes out the night before the interview. This ensures you have everything in place for the following day. If you need shoe polish, 45 minutes before the interview isn't the best time to find out.

Don't Go In Yet
After you arrive (early), sit in your car or on an outside bench to relax before entering the building. It is not a good idea to arrive more than 10 minutes early for a job interview (although it is far worse to be late). Take this time to give yourself a pep talk. Smile and envision yourself succeeding at the interview. See yourself making all the right choices during the interview and leaving a strong, positive impression. Do not use this time to review your resume and think about all those questions. This will have been done all in advance. Now is the time to pep yourself up to get that job by interviewing the best that you can.

Be Ready for This Question
When it comes to answering the questions, know what is a positive response and what is negative. When asked, "Why did you leave your previous employer?" Don't go on and on about how much of a jerk your boss was (no matter how true it may be) and how your co-worker always clipped her toenails in her cube and chewed gum with her mouth open. These responses make you seem negative and uncooperative. Instead, stress your desire to move on in order to better yourself. Talk about how this job opportunity seems to tie together all your experience (be sure to highlight some at this point). Turn the direction of the interview back to the current job up for grabs.

If You are Asked an Inappropriate Question
You are in control of the interview. If you are not, your interviewer is poor or you need to become more assertive. If a question or topic is brought up that you know is inappropriate or could be skewed as negative, answer it professionally in as few words as possible and steer it back on path. Don't ramble on about any one experience. Stay focused and keep your interviewer in check.

Check out Monster.coms interview center for more helpful hints. The Guide to Interviews is also a good place to go for advice.

These steps will help you to bring everything together. There will be a lot of people with your same skills and achievements. Getting a job depends largely on how you package yourself as a whole. Now go out there and get the job you want and deserve.


Note from MilitaryAvenue.com
Need to find an area military-friendly employer?  Find your installation and then click on "Employment" on the left.  There you will find many related businesses in your area.  Check back often for any new military incentives.

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