10 winning ways to land the job you want

7. Watch body language and small talk 

"Everybody has some kind of quirky body message going on," says Alba. "They use the hands too much or it's the way they sat."

He suggests that you have somebody watch you during a mock interview and give feedback or videotape yourself and watch it later.

Levit's advice is to "always make eye contact. Even if you're nervous, don't show desperation in your voice or mannerisms. Take a few notes, but pay attention to what's going on. People love to talk about themselves, so (try to) get the interviewer to talk."

A note about small talk: It's great to feel comfortable with your interviewers, but whatever you do, don't badmouth your previous employers.

"HR or recruiter might seem like a friendly ear," Levit says, "but they are not your friends. They are your interviewer. Always spin in it a positive light. Say 'I'm looking to do X, Y, Z,' not that you hated your boss."

8. Ask thoughtful questions 

Even if your interviewer did a thorough job of outlining the position and company, your lack of questions might be perceived as a lack of interest. But don't ask about benefits or pay schedules in an initial interview, because that could come off as presumptuous or overly eager.

Alba recommends asking "questions that show you've done your homework about the company and you're going to bring something professional to the role."

For instance, "What are your expectations in this role?" According to Alba, another good question is, "'When can I follow-up with you?'" so you can set that expectation. If they're gonna close it out in two days, that's something you'll need to know."

9. Follow-up appropriately 

The decision-making timeline will dictate whether e-mail or snail mail is more appropriate for a thank you. But either way, be sure to follow-up to personally thank each of your interviewers for their time and reiterate your interest in the position.

"Most people fall down on the follow-up," says Alba. "They wait around to hear something back. It has to be professional, not needy, whiny or urgent."

Dover knew someone who "ended up contacting (a prospective employer) every two days for the next two weeks." Suffice to say, she did not get the job she wanted.

"When you're over-eager, it's like dating," he says. "You have to stand your ground (because) you don't want to smack of kissing up."

Rather than waiting by the phone or computer, move onto the next interview or job application. It will happen if it's meant to be. If not, there are plenty more fish (and jobs) in the sea.

10. Negotiate your salary 

Remember, you don't have to settle for whatever job or compensation package you're offered.

"You have to at least ask (for more money)," says Levit. "(Once you accept a position), you may have lost the opportunity to ask for at least a year. It's better to get that money (now). Even in this market, definitely ask. Things are negotiable."

Dover managed to substantially increase his salary from his previous job by switching industries and demonstrating his value to the new company.

"They were looking for someone to do an overhaul (of their Web site)," he explains. "I can take care of it myself, so I saved the company around $6,000" as opposed to outsourcing it.  

He also received a raise, which was negotiated three months ago when he started, at the beginning of this month. Despite the economy, Dover says "this is really the best negotiation I've done."


Show Bankrate's community sharing policy
          Connect with us
  • Apply for a Private Student Loan to pay for your education
  • Find Rates

Connect with us