Polishing the Job Interview
By Lolita Villa

After catching the prospective employer's eye with an impressive resume, the next important hurdle to face will be passing the job interview. Although a major chunk of your success depends on the gist of the question and answer portion, polishing the smallest details of your performance may just as well contribute to the interviewer's overall assessment. How you behave before and after the main event may either confirm or debunk what you are verbally claiming to be. So aside from the main marketing pitch, what other matters should you remember?

Dress like a winner. It's possible to be the most brilliant prospect on the candidate list, but putting on shabby clothes may signal the contrary. If you have a smart speech prepared, take the trouble to look the part as well. You don't need expensive clothes: a clean, well-pressed business suit will do just fine. If you're a woman, don't forget to wear pantyhose if you're in a skirt ensemble. This is an important part of the "uniform" that most Filipinas overlook. For both men and women, make sure the patent leather on your feet gleams with a perfect shine, and snip out the stray threads that are slipping out of your sleeve or collar.

Show up on time. If you want the job bad, take the trouble to allot at least two hours for travel time. In this country, traffic is no longer an excuse but a reality. Otherwise let the interviewer know if and why you will be late, and ask for another appointment. Confirm the interview date before showing up if the interviewer neglected to do so himself.

Discuss salary after an offer is made. You might be impressed with the office environment but you're itching to know how much you'll get paid for the post. Unless you are given a compensation and benefits overview, delay the question until a formal job offer has been made. Bring up the issue by politely expressing your interest in the job, hence the need to know the salary range and benefits. This way, you won't come off as "mukhang pera" especially when the employer has not made a move of particularly selecting you just yet.

Decline politely. If you're convinced that this oppotunity isn't for you despite the standing offer, give the employer a phone call so that your replacement can be sought as soon as possible. It's important to say the proper things depending on your intentions. If you'd like to take a jab at getting a better offer, politely turn down the job but point out that your doors will remain open in the future should circumstances be different. Otherwise, graciously inform them that it is an interesting opportunity, but you believe that your focus is best directed elsewhere.

Send a thank you note. Not many of us are aware of this, but it's important to thank your contact for referring you to a job, especially if you got the post based on this person's good recommendation. Doing so is a sign of courtesy and indicates how well you carry yourself in a business setting. This also serves as a good networking practice. Sending thank you notes keeps your relationships open and friendly, and ensures you'lll remain in the loop the next time a good opportunity comes around.

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