Six tips for the first two minutes

Because nothing matters more than a first impression

  1. Everyone knows not to be late to an interview. But recruiters say arriving early is just as bad–in fact, showing up even 10 minutes ahead of time may irritate them. Why? You will interrupt whatever they’re doing (“Ms. Jenkins, your next appointment is here”), which can sow a seed of resentment. It also sends a message:

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Three rules for breaking the ice

The wrong small talk can hurt you

  1. Family photos can be great conversation starters–if you choose your comments wisely. (You: “Your mother has a great smile.” Him: “That’s my wife.”) “Making assumptions about the people in the pictures is dangerous,” says Debra Fine, founder of the Fine Art of SmallTalk, a Denver firm that teaches conversation skills to executives at companies like IBM and

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Five moves that show you’re a pro

This is no time for subtlety

  1. Have an agenda. “One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking the goal is simply to answer the questions that are asked,” says J. Daniel Plants, a VP of mergers and acquisitions at J.P. Morgan Chase. “Sure, you have to answer their questions, but the best candidates know how to steer the conversation where they want it

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Three signs you’re losing control …

… and three ways to get it back

  1. If a recruiter asks more than once whether you have any questions, chances are she’s already formed an opinion about you and is trying to wrap it up. “Ask for a glass of water,” says Jackie Johnson, manager of MBA recruiting for the investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. Dramatic? Perhaps. “But it’ll help you collect

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Deal breakers

Seven things recruiters hate and why they hate them

  1. Taking notes during an interview is fine, but keep your pen holstered unless absolutely necessary. Excessive scribbling indicates an inability to think on your feet. “When I hire somebody, I’m looking for them to be able to represent me at meetings,” says Wasserman, “not take dictation.”
  2. Shoes that aren’t shined. Details matter.
  3. Interviewer: We’re opening a new

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Tactics for the last 30 seconds

How to leave them begging for more

  1. When the interviewer utters these five words, “Do you have any questions?” (and he will), don’t make one up on the spot just to ask something. Prepare two good questions about the position or the firm–the answers to which cannot be found on the Web site. A great final question leaves a great final impression.
  2. If you don’t,

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