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Seven Secrets of a Successful Job Interview

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5. Make your interview read like a newspaper

Pick up any newspaper and notice the following about every article in it:

1. The headline sums up the article.

2. The first paragraph lays out the entire story.

3. The first sentence of every paragraph tells what the whole paragraph is about.

4. The major facts of every story always come earliest. Lesser details come later, and the most trivial are at the end.

There's a good reason for this "big-picture-first" format. It allows you, the reader, to get what you want out of the paper very quickly and efficiently. You can stop reading any article after a paragraph or two and still know the gist of the story. And when an article really interests you, you can dig deeper into the details by reading further.

See the analogy to what you're trying to achieve in an interview? Just like the newspaper reader, the interviewer has the option to dig deeper or to switch to another topic. You can drop any article after reading the headline or just a paragraph. And the interviewer can do the same by diverting to another subject or asking a different question.

Therefore, all answers should be in "newspaper style." You've got to state your main point in the first sentence or two of each answer. You can't wallow in needless details in an attempt to set up you main selling point. The interviewer may cut you off before you get to it!

You can go too far the other way also. You should never respond to their questions with one or two word answers. If asked, "Tell me about yourself," you should never reply with "I'm basically OK, I guess." Worse yet: "Do you like designing machines?" Answer: "Yep."

"Newspaper style" is very common in the business world. Study and master it. Use it orally and in writing. Presentations are best given this way. Surprisingly few interview candidates have learned what newspapers tell them each day. Learn "Newspaper style."

(Some of the above material on Secret # 5 was excerpted from Executive Job Changing Workbook by John Lucht.)

    The Seven Secrets of a Successful Job Interview
  1. How you look affects how they see you
  2. You will interview best if you are prepared and have done your homework
  3. The interviewing process is really a sales call
  4. Don't monopolize the conversation
  5. Make your interview read like a newspaper
  6. Interviewing is a two-way street
  7. Use your recruiter to negotiate your best salary

    Practice the Seven Secrets with these Job Interview Exercises


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