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WORK DESIGN: AT THE INTERVIEW Be
sure to set an alarm the night before. Heck, set two. Do whatever it takes to get yourself together. On the morning of the interview get dressed and then check your reflection (front and back) in a full-length mirror to make sure you’re presentable. Don’t take your pet and don’t take your friend to the interview. Plan to arrive at least fifteen minutes early in case there’s an application or form to be filled out. If you encounter an unexpected delay on your way, phone ahead to say you’re going to be late. If you’re more than fifteen minutes late, don’t be surprised if you’re asked to reschedule to another day. As soon as you arrive at your destination, turn off your cell phone. It’s considered extremely rude for you to take calls during an interview. However, the same does not hold true for the interviewer. If your interview is interrupted by phone calls or employees, maintain good humor and never show impatience. While you’re waiting, don’t smoke, eat, or chew gum. Don’t fidget. Don’t be overly friendly with others who have work to do. Sit quietly and review the contents of your folder, hone your interview responses, or practice relaxation techniques. If you’re asked to fill out an application, do it anyway even if it seems totally pointless since most of the same information appears on your resumé and reference sheet. If the interview takes place at a restaurant, don’t order soup (spills) or complicated dishes (shrimp with shells or anything with bones). Don’t order the most expensive item on the menu. Don’t drink or smoke. At all. Even if the interviewer does. Don’t flirt. If the interview takes place at the office, smile and shake hands with your interviewer. Don’t sit down until you’re invited to do so. Whatever you do, don’t mention your nervousness. Monitor your nonverbal communication (also known as body language) so that you don’t sit with your arms folded (indicates defensiveness), giggle or play with your hair, fingernails, or clothing (indicates nerves) or use fillers or slang in your speech (such as you know, uhmm, like, cool). It’s up to the interviewer to set the tone (formal or informal) and pace of the meeting, so take your cues from his or her lead. Usually there will be a few minutes of chitchat before getting down to business. Interview Questions At some point, the interviewer will start by asking to see your book or else move into questioning mode. Let’s pretend questions come first. You’ve already practiced your responses in your preinterview prep, right? If not, backtrack and read that section on page 76 now. By the way, if, during the questioning phase, your mind goes blank or you get caught unaware, it’s okay to respond with the following comments: • “That’s a good question. I’ll need a minute before I answer.” • “I’m sorry. Could you please repeat the last part of that question?” • “I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking.” • “I’ve drawn a blank. Could we get back to that question at the end?” During the questioning segment, remember to work in two or three pieces of information about the company that you learned during your research.