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There are a few key items that professional women need to keep in mind when in an interview. By learning these few tips, women can successfully complete an interview and most likely land their dream job.
To start, first impressions have a strong, lasting impact, so women need to choose their interview outfits wisely. A common mistake that women can make is appearing “too flashy,” whether by wearing too many bright colors, showing too much skin or wearing too much makeup can damage a woman’s chances for employment. So what should a woman wear for the best impression? Stick to the basic colors like navy blue, dark grey and black. Keep the jewelry and makeup to a minimum. Keep shirts buttoned high and no low-cut blouses. Keep hemlines long and heels short. One way to determine the company’s dress code is to go to the site and watch others coming in and out. Always remember that it’s better to overdress than under dress.
Secondly, as a woman, don’t try too hard to fit in. Many women fall into the trap of talking about what they don’t know. If you don’t know something, tell the interviewer you don’t know. There is nothing wrong with not knowing a certain topic – just admit it. In addition, women tend to restrain energy or passion. If there is a topic a woman knows about and truly loves, nothing should stop her from showing her excitement and knowledge. Just be careful to not be too chatty during the interview, a third tip. Women often wait for the interviewer to cut them off, uncertain of how much information is necessary. What is suggested is that applicants keep answers to less than one minute and let the interviewer speak 60% of the time.
Another great tip for women is, don’t wait to be discovered! Many women are reluctant to tout their accomplishments, fearing they’ll appear arrogant or overly ambitious. Women should boldly and clearly state their achievements and talents, and not issue disclaimers in their responses. For example, when asked a question about her management experience, the applicant may prefaces her response by saying, “To be honest, I haven’t actually been in charge of an entire division, but …” This type of response stops people from hearing what may have been an acceptable answer and projects insecurity and self-doubt. Focus on the assets you will bring to the job. For example, asked the same question about management experience, the woman could say, “I’ve always been great at motivating a team, and I could apply those same skills as a manager here.”
Finally, don’t immediately get excited. As women, and female career services expert we tend to get excited, feel automatically grateful, and end up accepting an offer right away. Since employers rarely offer the maximum salary that they can pay, women who don’t negotiate can cheat themselves out of a substantial amount of money. Try searching Web sites like Salary.com and JobStar.org for salary information, as well as talking to other professionals about what the market is currently paying. Once an offer has been made, ask for a higher amount than your goal and then push back a few times until both sides are in agreement. But try not to be too aggressive. Be flexible. Instead of seeking the perfect salary, consider the other benefits that go along with the job, such as office space and title.
If a woman takes time and follows these simple tips, she will have a better advantage over those who are not prepared for the interview – even over men!