What's Your Job Interview IQ?

C.J. Liu, PayScale.com, Yahoo! HotJobs

After networking, sending resumes, and waiting patiently by the phone, all your hard work has paid off with an invitation to interview. But, how do you prepare? What do you wear? And, how should you explain any layoffs or gaps in your resume?

Below is a quick quiz to test your interview savvy. Read through the following true-or-false statements to assess your Interview IQ.

1. If I prepare too much for an interview I will seem desperate. (True/False?)

False. There is nothing worse than an unprepared interviewee. Make sure you have done your homework about the organization and the job skills required before the interview. This will help when you're asked, "Why do you want to work here?" Plus, you can ask knowledgeable questions when your turn comes around.

2. Before the interview, put yourself in the interviewer's shoes to see things from their perspective.

True. Typically, interviewers are busy and easily distracted. Remember that you may be one of 10 people that they have talked to in the last five hours. Don't make them struggle to get answers out of you or make sense of your rambling replies.

3. Role-playing to prepare for typical interview questions is really important.

True. Practicing your responses to typical interview questions is paramount. Role-play with a friend and get feedback on how you come across. For example, if you say that you are really excited about the job but sound hesitant, you will not seem credible.

4. If you have reservations about your abilities or skills for the position you should tell the whole truth.

True/False. You should not tell a lie and say you have five years of experience when you really have two. Nor should you fully disclose your inadequacies. If you left your last job because you were fired, there's no need to bring that up. When the employer asks you about your biggest mistake, pick a less emotionally charged experience and emphasize what you learned from it.

5. A job interview is a one-direction conversation, like on a talk show.

False. Having a one-sided interview can be exhausting for both parties. Make sure to prepare at least 10 engaging and relevant questions to ask. Even better, have some questions about their favorite subject - themselves. An example is, "Tell me about your job and what you love about it?"

6. Interviewers are like dogs; they can smell my fear.

True. Interviewing is the quintessential example of dogs sniffing each other out. Like a dog, the interviewer will be trying to determine your overall confidence. Your body language indicates your level of self-esteem. Remember, a shaking leg or deer-in-headlights expression can matter more than how well you answer the questions.

7. The "real me" will shine through whether I'm dressed in pajamas or a suit.

False. Whether we like it or not, what we wear helps form a first impression. Before the interview, see if you can get some insider information on the dress code and whether it is more casual or formal. If you don't know, opt for formal. For women, remember it's about getting a job, not a date. Stay away from low cut or short anything.

8. Sending a thank you note is an important way of standing out.

True. Thank you notes are not only about good etiquette but self-marketing, too. How can a simple card help you seal the deal? Start by mentioning something you learned about your interviewer. You could say, "I really enjoyed our conversation about your first years at Boeing." Then, write a quick summary of the conversation and why you are perfect for the job.

9. Making demands for your ideal salary and vacation in the initial interview is a risky proposition.

True. While you are aching to know the starting salary and benefits right off the bat, it's a bit risky to ask these types of questions initially. Reserve negotiations on these matters until you have a job offer.

10. It doesn't matter if I'm five minutes late. Everyone runs late to interviews.

False. It's OK for your interviewer to be late, but the interviewee needs to be on time or 5-10 minutes early. Even if you have a good reason for being late, the interviewer will make assumptions about your level of organization and how you treat others. Plus, getting there early gives you time to compose yourself and shake off your coffee jitters.

C.J. Liu is a certified, professional coach who helps professionals define success on their own terms. C.J. offers?life, business, and career coaching and?can answer your questions at cjliu@mywholelife.net.

From Yahoo.com, January 27, 2009.