Tittle's Top Ten: How to Wow 'Em at a Job Interview During an Economic Downturn

by Dave Tittle


Layoffs and fewer job opportunities have made the Washington job scene a buyer's market; there is a glut of good candidates. Relax, with all of the layoffs, if you are out there looking, you're probably one of them. As always, though, landing a good job means going through the dreaded job interview. Some of them are friendly. Others are meat grinders. In any case, here are ten tips for wowing 'em and making them want to call you for a return visit.

1. Research, research, research. Know the company cold. Find out what its pain points are and be ready to explain how you can help ease them.

2. Be on time. Arrive 10 minutes early so you won't be huffing and puffing into the office at the appointed hour.

3. People are human. Most of them will decide within the first five minutes whether they want to hire you. Be yourself - but not the same YOU that your wacky beach house friends find so adorable.

4. Demonstrate a sense of humor, but don't do 20 minutes of standup about your off-the-wall family. Stay focused.

5. Prepare a great, 30-second speech on your accomplishments on the job and elsewhere.

6. Listen more than you talk. There is nothing an interviewer likes better than the sound of his own voice.

7. Be ready to explain why you are leaving - or left - your last job. Don't disparage your old manager or the company. It sounds unprofessional, even if your old boss has a well-earned reputation for being a horse's ass.

8. Be honest, but don't pour your heart out. If the interviewer asks you "What is your biggest weakness?" pause thoughtfully, and say, "I guess I set my goals very high and tend to work too many hours." It sounds better than, "I can't even face the day until noon."

9. If you want the job, ask for it. A less-qualified, but enthusiastic candidate, will beat a more qualified, but seriously attitude-challenged candidate every time.

10. Treat the receptionist and other support people at the employer's office with respect. If you dis them, they will tell the interviewer and wreck your chances. Besides, it's not nice.

David Tittle, a veteran of over three decades in the executive search industry, is a co-founder of Paul-Tittle Search Group, an executive search firm. He leads searches for senior executives within the federal government and professional services communities. Dave has a BS in psychology from Duke University and has done extensive postgraduate work in industrial psychology.

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