Prepare for interview so that you'll stand out

WORKING DIGEST

March 29, 2006|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

It could be the most important hour of your career. The job interview is the precious period in which you are sized up by a powerful person who may decide whether you are hired. Don't Blow the Interview, published by St. Martin's Griffin and written by Ralph Ferrone, may help you prepare. Ferrone says your goal is to stand out from the crowd of applicants. Learn all you can about the employer, its market and competitors. "The greater your knowledge, the more confident you will be," he writes. Advise your references about your plans ahead of time. You can guess what certain questions will be, and have on-target responses. When the interviewer asks you to describe yourself, limit your response to 60 to 90 seconds. Also, slip in some comments on the importance of teamwork and work ethics. If the interview is held in a restaurant: "Arrive at the restaurant first. Wait for your host to arrive before being seated. Order simple food that is easy to cut and chew." And, "Compose a follow-up letter and, ideally, have it received that day or the next morning," he said.

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