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15 tips for landing - and acing - a job interview

Jeff Snyder | Feb. 5, 2013
Talk about teamwork, be prepared to discuss your weaknesses, don't forget to interview the interviewer, and more advice from an executive recruiter.

1. Write a great resume to open the door: Interviews are granted to those whose resumes demonstrate accomplishments, contributions and value. If you're not a great writer and you have trouble tooting your own horn, seek help from industry friends or consider a security-resume writer.

2. Keep phone interviews brief: Even if you're a local candidate, nowadays first interviews are frequently conducted over the phone. Listen very closely to the questions asked and answer them concisely. This is not the time to sell yourself because the caller is usually only trying to confirm what your resume suggests. Have a set of examples prepared in advance to back up any claims you made on your resume.

3. Wow them face-to-face: Since companies have a variety of dress codes, it is important to find out how a prospective employer wants you to dress for an interview. A company that has a business-casual dress code may want you to interview in a suit and tie. Don't assume, ask.

4. Listen carefully: Interviews are won or lost in a matter of minutes based on whether a job candidate is listening and answering the interviewer's questions or whether they bring their own agenda to an interview. Focus on the interviewer's questions first.

5. Maintain personal integrity: Employers do care whether the claims on your resume match up to what you can actually do. Don't put information on your resume that you can't back up with experience and examples. If you've only read about new video surveillance systems or you've only been briefly exposed to a new firewall technology, be careful not to oversell your experience.

6. Know yourself: You can't know everything about a company before you interview, but you do have to be able to articulate your strengths. Don't be caught unprepared. Everyone has weaknesses and is not good at something. Know before you walk into an interview what you're not good at and how you're going to talk about that.

7. Rehearse selected interview topics: If you've been laid off or fired from previous jobs, don't wait until you step into an interview to decide how you're going to explain gaps in your employment. This is the kind of topic that's good to rehearse ahead of an interview so you know exactly what you're going to say when you're under pressure.

8. Articulate how you can contribute: Most businesses are doing more with fewer resources these days. Prepare examples of past contributions to give an employer an idea of how you might contribute to their organization. Often what will separate you from your competition is talking about the way you see yourself contributing to the team, as opposed to only focusing on your individual contribution. This means that you need to prepare examples of how you've identified risk, how you've mitigated risk, how you've made a company more secure or more aware of threats and vulnerabilities, and so on. Be able articulate what you've done to move a business forward.


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