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Top 10 Interview Dos and Don'ts

What to watch for when searching for a job

NEW YORK -- For many professionals one New Year's resolution is finding the perfect new job or even switching careers.

For those seeking a better work environment or wanting to change their career track completely, Ron Axelrod, Senior Vice President, Business Development and Recruiting at NYC software testing firm RTTS, offers a list of job interviewing tips for those embarking on the job search and interview process.

"In my role," said Axelrod, "I sit across the table from candidates, reviewing their resume to see if they meet our standards, and asking the tough questions while listening intently for answers that let me know whether or not they've done their research and if they'll be a good fit for our organization."

Axelrod says that the common mistakes made by people who haven't interviewed for a while and are out of practice are easily correctable.

Below is his list of Top 10 Interview Do's and Don'ts to help job seekers in their quest for that perfect job.

1) DO research the company inside and out. Have a clear understanding of the company's identity, the specific services or products they provide, and how the role you are interviewing for is positioned within the organization.

2) DON'T ask the recruiter to tell you about the organization. It is your job to be prepared and make a terrific first impression. If you don't have a clue as to what the organization is all about, odds are you will not make it past the first interview.

3) DO dress professionally for your interview. Regardless of what the dress code is within an organization (i.e. business casual); an interview candidate should always look polished and professional. Proper business attire is expected, not optional.

4) DON'T arrive late for an interview. It is always a good rule of thumb to arrive 15 minutes ahead of schedule.

5) DO answer the question, "Tell me a little about yourself," in 60-90 seconds. The recruiter is looking for you to summarize your resume and provide some insight to your future goals. Be succinct in your answer and careful not to ramble on.

6) DON'T ask questions until you are invited to do so. An interview is your time to respond to questions and shine. Interrupting the recruiter or jumping in with questions prematurely will make you look pushy and aggressive - a sure turn off!

7) DO ask, "What are the characteristics of the ideal candidate for this position?" The employer will have the opportunity to go into detail about the role and describe who they see as the ideal fit for the position. You will find that many of your questions will be answered all at once.

8) DON'T inquire about work hours, vacation, or fringe benefits--at least not during the first (and in some cases second) round of interviews. These discussions are more appropriate once you are aware that an offer will be extended or you have it in your hand.

9) DO follow up with a thank you letter ASAP. Most candidates will send theirs via email which is the most widely practiced and accepted form of communication. However, don't underestimate the power of the written word. A handwritten thank you will be a rare and welcome treat!

10) DON'T post inappropriate materials to your social networking site. Recruiters access these sites to learn more about candidates of particular interest. It is important that you remember to keep your profile looking impressively professional. Include your hobbies and professional affiliations. If you have written for professional publications, include the titles of your white papers and/or articles.

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