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THE ART OF EFFECTIVE INTERVIEWING (page 2)

Mnemonics can be used to assist in instant recall of your outline during the interview. A mnemonic in this context is a pseudo word created in a vertical fashion down your one page outline where each component letter of the pseudo word represents the first letter from a key word from each line or point of your outline. It is much easier to memorize one word, knowing which point of the outline each letter signifies rather than memorize the entire outline without any memorization tools.

The outline can follow/track your resume to a degree. You would be surprised how many people do not read your resume thoroughly before an interview. Going over some of your resume points will serve to expound on and bring to life the significant highlights in your resume. If you have a project that demonstrates your skills (such as a successful business plan or computer program), take the project with you. Do not show the employer a project that is marginal or one that would be considered compromising or confidential.

During the interview you want to leave the very best impression possible. Most employers would rather hire someone that is enthusiastic with a great attitude. You are there to sell yourself! An interview is a time to tell someone about your accomplishments. If you don't tell the interviewer how you have excelled in your career, no one will ever do it for you. And if you aren't sold on yourself and can't demonstrate this in an interview, then no one else will be sold. You are, in a sense, in the role of a consultant or businessman trying to close a sale during the interview. List the number of times you have brought new business to your company, saved the company money or streamlined operations. Try to quantify and attach a dollar amount to these events.

You would be surprised how many people cannot express what they have done or who they are in an interview. They would rather sit and wait silently until the next interview question is asked. If you have the opportunity at the beginning of the interview to say, "Can I tell you a little bit about myself?" . . . and the interviewer responds, "Yes," and you have the good fortune to get through your outline, it can leave an excellent impression with the interviewer. You have all of a sudden put him at ease . . . he is thinking (to himself), "Sure tell me about yourself, that's why we are here isn't it? It has been a long day and I'm tired of digging for the normal 20 to 40 interview questions." Psychologically he is saying, "Yes," you have put him at ease, he doesn't have to work and if you have done your homework in preparing the outline, the interviewer shouldn't have more than a few questions about your background after you finish your "well organized story."

If the interviewer interrupts your outline and asks a few questions, follow his lead! You will use most of your outline even if he does end up asking you 30 questions. Always follow the interviewer's lead. Some interviewers know precisely where they want to go with the interview and will ask a series of questions to get there quick. Other interviewers will want to hear your well-organized story from beginning to end. Try to gain a sense of which direction the interview will go during the initial stages of discussion.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER bad-mouth your former employer. If you absolutely need to discuss the negative points of a former employer as a result of an interview question, use extreme discretion and limit what you say. Criticizing your former employer can be viewed as being in poor taste. The interviewer will also see this criticism as an example of the way you will discuss his company in the future. Always maintain your professionalism.

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