It’s important to know how to present yourself in an interview — but perhaps just as crucial to know a thing or two about the person on the other side of the desk. Start this process, interview coach Laura DeCarlo recommends, by “putting yourself in the shoes of an employer.”

Mostly, career counselor Leenie Glickman says, “think about [who] they would want to hire.”
“Prepare by writing down what traits and skills they were looking for,” Glickman adds. “Then it’s almost irrelevant what they ask you — you already know what you want to tell them.”

A command of the conversation can put your interviewers at ease — which, DeCarlo points out, is your first task in your new job. “As a job-seeker, yes, you have a lot of fear; but in reality, it’s just a dress rehearsal,” she says. “If you get it wrong, you can always keep applying, keep learning — but an employer has a whole lot at risk when they’re interviewing job-seekers.”

They can also be dismally unprepared, she adds: “There are a variety of unprepared interview types. They range from the leads-the-interview-talking-about-wife-and-kids interviewer to the interviewer who is so shy and quiet that you’re going to have a stilted interview if you’re not outgoing and personable.”

If you find yourself locked in an inquisition with a manager like that, be ready to manage your talk time like a chess player slapping the clock, Glickman suggests. Studies show a job-seeker should speak about 20 percent of the time. “The best interviews are the ones where it’s interactive,” she notes. “They ask you a question, you give them the answer, you come back with a question.”

Google goes both ways

It’s a 21st-century “given” that your job interviewer is going to Google you — and probably gawk at all those Facebook photos you left online.

But the Web’s translucent curtain goes both ways — take advantage of this.

“All these companies have LinkedIn groups,” Glickman points out. “Use LinkedIn’s advance search functions. Search for people who work at that company. Find out more about them.”

Latest From ...