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Mastering the Job Interview
by Harrison Monarth
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There aren't too many situations in life more nerve-wrecking than the common job interview. With a potential job on the line, and a dozen competitors breathing down their necks, it is no big surprise that many applicants lose their confidence the moment they take a seat opposite the HR Manager at the prospective place of employment. No Matter how prepared the job seeker may be, when it counts and thinking-on-your-feet is of utmost importance, many candidates fold under the pressure and hardly resemble the able and confident future manager they could be.

Let's go through a few tricks that will help you project more confidence and save that Resume from the trash bin:

- Maintain eye contact. Doing otherwise is like a confession that you're nervous, and you don't want to show a crack in your armor, even when it's made of tin foil.

- Speaking of armor: that suit that fit you so well three Thanksgiving's ago might just need some tailoring now. Be aware that an interviewer is on the look-out for any sign of dissonance. And unless your supreme software development skills would keep you hidden away in a lab with other super-geeks, your 'interesting' tie-shirt-suit pattern interplay may signal a lack of nonverbal awareness that could leave a major wrinkle in the interviewer's perception of you.

- Get right to it. Small-talk can back-fire if you're not comfortable with the person sitting across from you. Focus on what you can do for the company right now, and worry about him liking you later.

- Ask good questions. It shows you are prepared, it increases your chances of being perceived as assertive, and that you want this job, not just a job.

- Anticipate the unexpected. Each interview is different, and from trick questions to background checks that rival Homeland Security's, you might want to prepare for worst-case scenario. It's always better to respond with reason than with a knee-jerk defensive statement.

- Muster a genuine smile. You don't have to be Tom Cruise to pull it off; just make sure your eyes smile too and you may be forgiven a hundred interview sins, even on a day when you're guilty of them all.

- Beware the pitch of your voice. Lower your vocal tonality a little and slow your pace. Too slow and you'll sound clueless, but a bit measured will make you sound thoughtful.

Answer with purpose and energy. The interviewer has a lot more practice at this than you and may ask questions that are designed to gauge your reactions. Count on it, actually.

Our body language speaks volumes, so be sure to stay confidently at ease and make sure to move with purpose. Maintain solid posture and avoid fidgeting. And above all else, don't forget to breathe.

- Say My Name, Say My Name, is not just a song by Destiny's Child. It's also a reminder for you to call the interviewer by his or her name a couple of times before you exit. For one thing, it shows you know how to connect on a basic level. And secondly, it's a universal sign of respect.

- Make sure your parting handshake is particularly warm and firm. Too firm and you're trying too hard. Too soft and you're out of your element. Mildly firm gets you invited back.

Interviewing is a game, and your opponent is a pro who is far less nervous than you are. But for every Goliath there is a David, and this just might be your slingshot day if you keep these things in mind. If you can overcome your nerves and take command of your exterior countenance, that sound you hear just might be you scraping by.

Harrison Monarth is a New York Times bestselling author and speaker, and is the President of GuruMaker - School of Professional Speaking, a communications consulting firm that coaches Fortune 500 executives, political candidates and entrepreneurs in the art of influence, presentation and message development. To purchase your copy of Harrison's recent book The Confident Speaker, go to .

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