Many people today find themselves looking for a job after years of steady employment or are new to the workforce, increasing the need for good job interview skills. Since the stock market crash in the fall of 2008, mass layoffs have become commonplace throughout the country. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment has risen to more than 15 million workers out of a job, which makes the competition for any opening fierce. Proper preparation and attention to interview skills can make the difference between securing gainful employment and continuing the job hunt.

Practice Interview Session

For many people, a job interview is the one of the most stressful experiences in life. To help reduce that stress and feel more in control, ask a friend or family member to conduct a practice interview. Even though a practice run will not feel the same as the actual interview, going through the process of discussing your skills, experience, and expectations can go a long way towards settling nerves during the real thing.

Presenting an Professional Appearance

How potential employees presents themselves can make or break an interview. Inappropriate or sloppy apparel, strong cologne, or for women, excessive makeup or jewelry can give an interviewer a negative impression. To be safe and make sure that desirable skills and experience are what creates the lasting impression, dress conservatively and in the style that best matches the position. For example, a business suit is not necessary for a job in the manufacturing sector (unless in management) but is required when interviewing for an engineering position.

Pay Attention to Body Language and Attitude

Simply stated, two of the most important things to bring to an interview are a smile and composure. Body language says as much about a person his words, and if the physical signs are in opposition to what is being said, people tend to believe the expressions and gestures. A relaxed but interested posture, direct but not forced eye contact, and a genuine smile are all indicators of a confident person. Confident people are hired quicker than those who doubt themselves or their abilities.

Ask Questions and Listen to the Answers Take

the time to hit the internet and learn about a company before the interview. Asking specific questions about the company and the position shows the interviewer that the applicant is interested in more than just getting a job. Ask about the department or team the new hire will be working with and why the position is available. Inquire about the company policy regarding performance reviews and mentoring for new employees. Information of this type is not always covered in company literature or on their website so it is reasonable to ask questions. Questions about salary, time off, or healthcare benefits should be held until the interviewer either brings up the subject or offers employment.

The Importance of Following-Up

Follow up the interview with a thank you email or note. Standing out in a positive way from the other applicants can go a long way to securing the position and launching the start of a new career.

Taking the time to prepare properly for a job interview by participating in a practice question and answer session, choosing clothing that is polished and appropriate to the position, and taking time to learn about the new company, the job hunter is better able to present a relaxed, confident, and professional attitude. All attributes that hiring managers are looking for to fill their open positions.