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Super Effective Interview Tactics
by Robin Ryan

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You must make the best impression possible and sell yourself effectively or someone else will get the job. Here are seven sure-fire ways to ace that crucial job interview.

1. Know who they are and what they do. Ask for a complete job description. Research the company by starting at the website. If they have an annual report, glance through it. Ask everyone in your network to gather any insider information about the company, its products or services, and any recent notable developments in their industry.

2. Create a hiring strategy. Employers can remember very little once a candidate leaves the interview. Counteract this fact by focusing them on your key strengths and stress your top five selling points, i.e. your experience, notable strengths or skills, past accomplishments, etc.

3. Have a powerful opening and closing. Have a memorized 30-second statement summing up your top skills and accomplishments into a verbal business card. It immediately focuses the interview to exactly how you can do their job. And it is a perfect way to close the deal ending the interview by reiterating the top reasons they should hire you.

4. Display evidence of your talent. Paint pictures by giving clear specific examples of how you've solved problems or performed that particular job task before. Bring visual examples of your work -- spreadsheet, tracking system, reports you wrote, designs created or outstanding performance appraisal. These types of examples are very influential and speak volumes about your abilities. Be sure you offer them some solid work references that you know will give a good firsthand report on your job performance.

5. Practice your answers. Give sharp, clear and concise answers that are no longer than 60 seconds. Write out your responses and practice with a tape recorder, video camera, or with a friend. Be ready with well thought out answers for tough questions such as: "What is your current salary?" "What is your weakness?" "Describe your worst boss." "Why should we hire you?" "Why are you leaving?"

6. Master non-verbal communication. Being well dressed, offering a solid handshake, making constant eye contact, and not fidgeting are essential. A sincere smile and demonstrating genuine interest and enthusiasm for the job shows self-confidence and makes a lasting positive impression.

7. Always send a handwritten thank you note. And quickly forgotten emails don't count.

What is the biggest mistake to avoid in an interview?

Not dressing up! Employers make snap decisions the second they see you and the wrong appearance can lose you the job. Dress as if the CEO was interviewing you. Wear a's impressive. Pantsuits are perfect for the more casual industries like high tech. Select a well-fitted, stylish suit in a complimentary color. Avoid anything too baggy, boxy, sexy, low cut or see-through. Watch your hygiene -- be freshly showered, with clean, pressed clothes. Neat, groomed hair, with light makeup and cologne is ideal.

America's most popular career counselor, Robin Ryan, is the author of four bestselling books: 60 Seconds & You're Hired!, Winning Resumes, Winning Cover Letters, and What to Do with the Rest of Your Life. She's appeared on over a thousand TV & radio shows including Oprah, Dr. Phil, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, CNN, and CNBC, and has been published in most major newspapers and magazines including USA Today & the Wall Street Journal. Ms. Ryan may be reached via e-mail at

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