Not sure how many people love the job interview process. I know I don’t. However this time my daughters’ participation and earning their respect and appreciation made the experience more satisfying.

Jane and Michelle wanted Mom to get this new job and therefore were involved every step of the way. They picked out the white blazer for me to wear and the leather padfolio to carry to the interview so that I’d look sharp and professional. They encouraged me when I had self-doubts. Both of them have expressed an interest in working for this company sometime in the future. I’ve got the work cut out for me.

Here are some of the interview tips I’d like to share with Jane as she is trying to land an intern position in an extremely competitive market:

– Fully utilize your network. The best way to find the job opportunities is not through online job boards, the classifieds, or employment agencies—it’s by talking to people around you: your network of friends, relatives, colleagues, acquaintances, and of course your mother.

– Do your homework. Learn as much as you can about the company and how this position you are applying for relates to the vision and mission of the organization.

– Sell your personality as well as your skills and experiences. Read the job descriptions carefully and come up with relevant examples to illustrate your abilities and past accomplishments in each area. Even if you meet all the technical requirements, companies most likely won’t offer you the job if they don’t find you likeable. It is important to make eye contact and smile. Remember people often are more influenced by how they feel about you than by what you’re saying. It’s not all about the content of the message, but how you’re communicating it.

– Ask intelligent questions. Prepare a long list of questions before you walk into any interview and ask them at the appropriate time. This will make your discussion with the interviewers more interactive and engaging.

– Be mindful of your posture. When you sit in a chair with arms held close and hands folded, it’s a hint of your lack of self-confidence. Observe and imitate how some of the A-list actors and actresses’ postures when they are being interviewed on TV.

– Don’t worry too much about providing the ‘correct’ answer. During one of my interviews, I was asked to estimate the number of running vehicles in the U.S. My immediate reaction was how to get to the right answer. Working through the problem, I came to the realization that the thought process was more important than the final answer. So I proposed to google the number of households in the U.S. and the average count of vehicles owned by each household to arrive at a decent estimate.

According to Harvard professor Amy Cuddy, holding one’s body in “high-power” poses for as little as two minutes can summon an extra surge of power and sense of well-being when it’s needed. So before an important interview, it’d do you a lot of good if you can find the space to strike the high-power poses (first put your feet on desk, hands behind head; then, standing and leaning on your hands over a desk) for just a couple of minutes. You may also try another confidence booster by repeatedly saying to yourself, “I like myself! I can do this!” It worked for me!

Jane is nervous about her first interview tomorrow. I hope she’ll find mom’s tips helpful.

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