1. Be upbeat. Do not make any bad comments about a previous employer, a previous manager, or previous co-workers. Even if you are in, or have left, an unpleasant work environment, do not share that information with a new company during a job interview. Instead, focus on good aspects of your own job performance and your personal strengths, rather than making negative statements about other people or employers.

2. Relax. People interviewing you are actually just ordinary people with strengths and weaknesses of their own – and no one conducting an interviewing is looking for a perfect being to hire. (There aren’t any!)

3. Be friendly. If you have been called in for an interview, then you already know your application or resume was reviewed and found to have the type of background or experience the employer is looking for. That means the in-person interview is your chance to connect on a personal level with the hiring manager or hiring committee. So if you simply act sincerely friendly, that may be enough to set you apart from the competition.

4. Follow the interviewer’s lead. If possible, try to follow the lead of the people you are interviewing with. If, for example, the interviewers joke around with each other and seem laid-back, it would be logical to come across in much the same way. On the other hand, if your interviewers are extremely serious and stilted, you are most likely better off to mimic their behavior – unless you really don’t want to work with “serious and stilted” people!

5. Practice can’t hurt. Once you have an interview scheduled, go through with it even if you decide you do not want the job. Why would anyone do this? Being put on the spot and asked questions in a real job interview is the best practice possible for when you finally interview for a job you desperately would love to have! And after several interviews you will hopefully feel more comfortable talking about yourself and explaining to a prospective employer just how much you really have to offer.

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