Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dress for Success - What to Wear to the Interview

What should I wear to my interview?
Employers expect job candidates to dress nicely for interviews. What you wear and how you style your hair sends a message to the employer. So, it is good to dress conservatively for your interview. But it is also good to fit into the company’s culture and what they wear at work. So if you are confused about what to wear, you can use these lists adapted from How to Get a Job and Keep It:

 - Matching skirted suit (first best choice)
 - Matching pantsuit (second best choice)
 - Jacket with a skirt
 - Jacket with a dress
 - Jacket with slacks

 - Matching suit (best choice)
 - Blazer with slacks
 - Sport coat with slacks
 - Shirt with tie and slacks
 - Sweater with slacks

If you do not have these types of clothes, check with your local employment agency to see if there is a community service that provides dress clothes for interviews. Many community “closets” have suits you can have or borrow for interviews.

Use this list adapted from Interviews for Dummies for personal appearance:

 - No heavy makeup
 - No provocative clothing (see-through, tight, slits, super-short skirts)
 - No flashy jewelry
 - No strappy shoes, sandals, or towering heels
 - No big hair or elaborate styles
 - No hosiery runs or designer stockings

 - No sagging coat lining or saggy pants
 - No five o’clock shadows (be cleanly shaved, and if you have a beard or other facial hair, make sure it’s neatly trimmed)
 - No short or white socks
 - No mismatched belts and shoes (same color leather)
 - No ties too short or too long or bowties
 - No wrinkled or soiled clothing

 - No tinted glasses
 - No joke or fad watches
 - No visible body piercing or multiple earrings in one ear
 - No visible body art; cover tattoos if possible
 - No inconsistent look – no sneakers with suits

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Getting the Most out of the "Wanted" Blurb

Not all wanted ads look the same. You may be reading job ads in a newspaper, on a flier, USAJobs, or even a usegroup on  the Internet. In order to use the job ads to help you write your resume and cover letter, follow the steps listed below.

You have to ask yourself: What do I need to know from the job ad?
Once you find a job ad you are interested in, highlight the four most important areas of information:
  1. The company name, the company contact information, and company description
  2. The job title (and job number if applicable) and job requirements
  3. The contact person
  4. Application requirements

Company Name

Highlighting the company name in job ads will help you organize your job search. You may also want to list company names and job information on a separate piece of paper. Highlighting the company name will also help you tailor your résumé and cover letter, and it will help you spell the company name correctly.

To tailor your resume and cover letter to a specific company, use the name of the company in the objective line in the resume and in the introduction of your cover letter. The name can also tell you about the company. For example, if you are looking for a landscaping job, a company named Joe’s Custodial may not be the place for you.

Company Contact Information

Highlighting and keeping track of the company contact information will help you organize your job search. You may apply for a lot of jobs, and keeping company names and contact information together will help you avoid mixing up resumes, cover letters, and applications. The company contact information will go at the top of your cover letter. The contact information will also go on the envelope you use to mail your documents if you use the postal services to submit your resume and cover letter.

Company Description

Highlighting important words in the company description (if included in the job ad) will help you learn about the organization and the people looking for employees. You can learn about the company’s goals from their description.

You can use a company’s goals in your cover letter to explain how you are a good match for their organization. For example, if a company describes itself as a “fast-paced, team oriented food service,” you can write in your cover letter that you do well in fast-paced jobs where people have to work together. Of course, you will have to show that you have some experience in a fast-paced, team oriented job to support your position.

Job Title and Job Number (if applicable)

Highlighting the job title, job number if applicable, and job requirements will help you organize your job search. You will use the job title and job number in the objective line of your resume and in the introduction of your cover letter.

Job Requirements

Highlighting the job tasks and requirements will help you explain how you can fill the position. For example, if the requirements for a warehouse job state “applicant must be able to lift and carry 100 pounds and drive a forklift,” you should explain in your letter that you can do those tasks: “In my job at Small Car Parts International, I worked in their warehouse where I lifted and carried boxes weighing 100 pounds. I also drove the warehouse forklift.”

You should highlight the amount of experience required for the job. For example, if the ad reads “applicants must be licensed cosmetologists and should have a minimum of two years of experience,” you should explain that you meet those needs: “I finished cosmetology school in 2010 and have worked at Mary’s Beauty Boutique since then.”

You should also highlight certification or license requirements, such as Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or cosmetology license requirements.

The Contact Person

Highlighting the contact person, her/his address, phone number, and email address (if applicable) is very important because you will be sending your job search documents to this person. You will also be addressing this person directly in your cover letter. If the job ad does not list a contact person, try searching the company’s Website. You may also call the company to get the contact person’s name. For some jobs, though, you may be sending your résumé and cover letter to a human resource department with no specific contact person.

Make sure you spell all of the information about the contact person and/or the mailing address correctly. Spelling the contact person’s name wrong may hurt your chances of getting an interview.

Application Requirements

Highlight requirements for submitting information about yourself. Important questions to answer are:
  • Does the company require a resume or an application, or both?
  • Does the company require a cover letter?
  • Does the company require a list of references of your past employers?
Other important questions to answer are:
  • How does the company want you to submit your information?
    • Hard copy? (How many copies of each document? Mailed or delivered in person? If the company wants you to apply in person, be prepared to complete the application rather than writing “see resume.”)
    • Electronic?
    • Online application?
What are some other things I should look for when reading job ads?

Other important areas of information to note when you read job ads include:
  • Application deadline
  • Date the job begins
  • Salary
  • Work hours and shift work
  • Travel requirements
  • Age requirements
  • Security clearance, drug and alcohol policies
  • Driver’s license requirements
  • Pubic transportation to job site
Good luck!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Behavioral Interview for General Administration Positions

There is a new trend in Government and privates sector job interviews - The Behavioral-Based Interview.
Behavioral-based interviews focus on discovering how a candidate performed in specific work related situations. This interview technique seeks to uncover how a potential employee actually behaved in a given situation; not only how he or she might behave in the future. The premise behind this technique is that a good predictor of future performance is how someone performed in the past in a similar situation. Behavioral-based interviews are becoming more common throughout industry and government. If you have not already, it is in your best interest to familiarize yourself with this technique and be well prepared for these interviews. You can and should draw on previous work related experiences as well as non-work related experiences (e.g., school projects, community involvement) that are relevant to the interview questions.

What to expect from the Interviewer:

  1. Most questions will relate to experiences that have occurred in the last 2-3 years.
  2. Most questions will focus on what you did, said, felt or thought in the past. The interviewer will be looking for phrases such as “I did….”, “I said….” etc.
  3. Don't expect to be asked questions about what you would do in a given situation or what you would have done differently. The interviewer will be more interested in asking you questions related to what you actually did/said/thought/felt in the past. Remember, don't start your answer with “I would,” or "I could have." If you do... the interviewer will most likely probe by saying, “What did you actually do at that time?”
  4. Keep in mind that the interviewer will be looking at what you did, rather than what “we” did. While working as part of a team is very common and desirable, it is important for you to let the interviewer know what your individual role was within the team. If you don't describe your specific duties within the team, chances are the interviewer will probe your answers to find your specific role(s) within the team. For example, if you say “We implemented the new order supply system by…..,” the interviewer will likely ask you what your role was and what you actually did (as an individual).
  5. Be prepared to provide a brief (30 second) overview of each situation you want to use as a sample of your work experience by highlighting the beginning, middle, and end. This helps the interviewer to keep the interview on track.
In this blog we are focusing on interviews that deal specifically with General Administration jobs. We will be covering additional jobs in the near future. So keep checking!  So…. What is General Administration position? What are the competencies generally associated with administrative jobs?

Administrative Support positions perform and facilitate execution of administrative activities and procedures for the operation of an office or facility. Competencies include:

  • Internal Resource Management - Identifies, selects and coordinates relevant resources to deliver solutions
  • Policy and Procedure Awareness, Development and Implementation - Compiles and analyzes regulations, policies, and processes in order to provide the company or agency with a consistent, well-defined infrastructure
  • Project/Program Administration - Completes procedures, documents, forms, reports and budgets that are essential to the day-to-day operations of a group, project, or program
  • Qualitative/Quantitative Analysis - Examines and evaluates data to manage and achieve results
The interviewer is going to be looking for Key Behaviors associated with this job. For example:
  • Serves as a trusted partner providing support on administrative and business management matters/activities
  • Manages office/facility repositories and record keeping systems for storage, tracking and retrieval of information and materials
  • Prepares and/or updates reports, correspondence and other documents
  • Manages correspondence and communicates organizational information to appropriate parties as required
  • Coordinates planning and/or scheduling of meetings and events
  • Utilizes and stays current on available technology and office equipment
  • Monitors and recommends methods for improvement of office/facility procedures and functions
Likely Interview Questions

  1. Describe a time when you used your analytical skills to solve a problem. What technique(s) did you use? What was the result?
  2. Tell me about a time when you had to analyze qualitative or quantitative data to make an important decision. What was the impact of the data? What obstacles did you face? What was the outcome?
  3. Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
  4. Please share some of the models or tools you have used in analyzing data. How have these tools helped you make sound decisions?
  5. Describe a time when an analytical problem perplexed you. What resources did you use to try to work through the problem? Were you or anyone else able to solve the problem? What would you do differently, if anything, to approach this problem?

How your Answers will be scored

Following is an example of how an interviewer may score your answers. Each time you answer a question, you will score from 0 points to 4 points.
A "0" would mean that you have not demonstrated this competency and likely have not had related training or experience.

A "1" is usually the baseline and it means that you have theoretical knowledge of the position. It means that you have shown basic knowledge and understanding sufficient to handle routine tasks. Focus is on learning. For example:
  • You are training or on-the-job training; beginning to develop this competency and have completed formal training
  • You understand and can discuss terminology, concepts, principles, and issues related to this competency
  • You utilize the full range of reference and resource materials in this competency
A "2" would mean that you are progressing or have limited practical application and experience. In other words, you have depth/breadth of knowledge to handle non-routine situations. You're starting to take initiative. Focus is on applying and enhancing knowledge or skill.

  • You have applied this competency in occasional situations and still require minimal guidance to perform successfully
  • You understand and can discuss the application and implications of changes to processes, policies, and procedures in this area
A "3" means that you are proficient. You possess practical application and experience. You are an expert who can handle broad organizational/professional issues; works independently; has long-term perspective; coaches, guides and empowers others. For example:
  • You have consistently provided practical/relevant ideas and perspectives on process or practice improvements which may easily be implemented
  • You are capable of coaching others in the application of this competency by translating complex nuances relating to this competency into easy to understand terms
  • You participate in senior level discussions regarding this competency
  • You assist in the development of reference and resource materials in this competency
A "4" is the top score. You are the master! A recognized thought leader. Your advice is sought out by others, from both within the company and from the industry or other organizations; Shapes the organization/profession; you are a visionary; Your focus is strategic; You can cope with the unknown. Examples of this behavior include:
  • You have demonstrated consistent excellence in applying this competency across multiple projects and/or organizations
  • You are considered the “go to” person in this area from within and outside your agency
  • You create new applications for and/or lead the development of reference and resource materials for this competency
  • You are able to diagram or explain the relevant process elements and issues in relation to organizational issues and trends in sufficient detail during discussions and presentations, to foster a greater understanding among internal and external colleagues and constituents.
For additional information on Administrative jobs, please visit

Monday, March 28, 2011

Slow... but Still Hiring
Despite current hiring freezes in some government agencies, the government is hiring thousands of employees - to replace retiring feds, to supplement undersized staffs, and to take up new government priorities. Among the hot sectors: Veterans health, border security, acquisition, diplomacy, law enforcement and intelligence. Even the latest bill introduced in the House seeking to freeze hiring government-wide excludes the Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans' Affairs departments.

The fact is that the federal government is hiring more employees than it is letting go, while the opposite is true for state and local governments. More than 4 out of 10 federal employees (42%) report agencies are adding people, while state and local government employees report a net loss of workers.

In 2010, President Obama mandated a reform of federal hiring practices in order to achieve quality talent acquisition. In his memo, the president directed agencies to simplify the hiring practice, while reducing the time it takes to hire an applicant and accept resumes. Be patient... the government is really trying hard to change its ways.

Where Should I Start Looking for a Job?

The Defense Department's workforce continues to grow as the "insourcing" of contractor jobs takes place. This is the largest staffing increase proposed for next year, aside from the Commerce Department.

The Veterans Affairs Department (VA) is increasing its staff of medical officers, nurses and other medical services personnel to help treat wounded veterans returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan. Thousands of doctors and nurses across the nation have served and continue to do so, as interns at VA facilities, and the department will try to lure some of them back with recruitment and relocation incentives. VA is also using student loan repayment programs and nurse scholarship programs to attract medical personnel.

In addition to medical personnel, VA needs additional social workers, intake specialists and other support employees to help it treat combat veterans, some of whom suffer from conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury, the New PSA on Suicide Prevention for Veterans program and information technology workers to help it upgrade its computer networks, records systems and automated hiring systems.

The Homeland Security Department is growing to help enforce immigration laws, secure our borders and provide transportation security. Increased Immigration and Customs Enforcement are playing a role in this growth.

The Social Security Administration's workforce is also growing to help it handle an expected increase in retirement and disability claims as the baby boomer generation ages and as the economic downturn drives more people to pursue government benefits.

So, Why is it Taking So Long to Hear Back From Them?

Although each agency is different, generally, you will hear from the hiring agency in about 15-30 days after the job opportunity announcement (JOA) closes. If you have not heard from the agency, you should contact the agency that posted the JOA to inquire about the status of your application. Just keep one thing in mind, with the current budget crunch, many agencies can't afford to replace employees who leave and some departments are seeing their staffs shrink. When a Human Resources staff department shrinks, the time it takes that department to hire increases, so be patient.
Good luck and don't give up.

For career advice geared towards federal employment, visit

Sunday, March 27, 2011

You've Tried and Tried but can't get the Job...

What gives?

You've been hitting the pavement of both the literal and information superhighway for months now. Dozens of resumes, cover letters and perhaps even interviews later, still no job.. So, why is it that you still don't have the job you want?

Right up front, it's important to note no employment adviser can claim to offer a one-size-fits-all explanation for this dilemma. Searching for new and better employment is a task of particulars, variables and specifics that are unique to each candidate. That means your first job in getting your job hunt on track is to step back and look critically, unemotionally and as honestly as you can at your approach.

If you have found yourself getting nowhere in your search, and you have been unemployed or underemployed for far longer than you ever imagined you'd be, here are a few guidelines for reassessing and fine-tuning your approach and identifying problem areas.

First, start by analyzing 'Where am I NOT having success?' There are three main areas to begin this evaluation.

First, make sure you are looking in the right Job Series. Are you applying for jobs that you are qualified for in the first place? Are you applying to agencies that have legitimate openings in those jobs?

Be realistic.

It could be that a particular industry is drying up. You may have an expertise, but that industry is downsizing and consolidating and the number of positions available is shrinking drastically. A lot of the people who are unemployed are really victims of changing industries. Take for example Loan officers. These positions went almost extinct when the housing bubble burst. If the outlook for your specific job or industry is waning, it's time to look for other ways to apply your skill set to industries with brighter projections.


Think out of the box and figure out where your personality type and capabilities will translate well into a newer position. To find a bridge to a new job prospect, look for a closely related profession you can move into. Making such a move requires taking time to learn about the marketplace. Analyze what the up-and-coming industries are and what training you need to break into them. If you're looking for employment in the government, take a look at USAjobs website.

You need to investigate. You need to put on your research hat. You need to go on the Internet. Along with your research, networking is one of the most powerful tools out there for transitioning to a new industry.

Attend professional association meetings. A lot of people prefer to go to the professional associations of their own industry. However, aggressive networkers intent on successfully transforming a career will go to meetings of professionals in industries other than their own. And, in search of new outlets for their skills, successful networkers get involved with church groups, nonprofits, charities and other avenues for volunteerism. These are places where you may well end up rubbing elbows with CEOs, hiring managers and other contacts who can help you move ahead in your job search.

Of course, just meeting such folks isn't enough. You've got to speak up and make your situation known. A suggestion: "I'm looking to improve the quality of my life and move forward professionally . . . would you be willing to invest a few minutes of your time and provide some insight on how I might accomplish this?" You could then also say, "I can see from your success that you understand this process. I would be grateful for any advice you can offer."

The second step in reassessing your job search is to find where your current strategy is faltering. Is it at the resume level? The interview level? How do you know? Either your resume is not getting you the interview or, if you're getting interviews but not getting job offers, which means you're not interviewing well.

Once you've narrowed down the trouble spot, we recommend finding an adviser to help you craft that interview-winning resume or to develop your interviewing skills. If you cannot afford the professional fees associated with advisers or resume writers, there are many helpful books to consult, some of which are written by professional resume writers, including "The Federal Resume Sample Book - 20 Resume Samples." This book includes twenty resume samples, each resume averaging three to four pages, that will show you how best to highlight your work experience. See The Federal Resume Sample Book - 20 Resume Samples [PDF Edition] Information Solutions Inc. (Author) Price: $13.95.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Do's and don'ts for that first day at work
The first day of any new job can be daunting. Here are a few tips to ensure you get off to a good start.

DO: Dress smartly, even if the company you are joining has a casual dress code. Smart clothes make you appear motivated but scruffy clothes can give the impression that you are not making an effort.

Arrive on time. Your punctuality is the first task you will be judged on and wandering in late will make a bad impression.

Make an effort to remember your new colleagues' names. Repeating names after you are told them is a good way to aid memory.

One of the key skills in being a great communicator is the ability to listen. This, you must do, especially on your first day!

Appear enthusiastic and keen. Make it known that you appreciate all advice being given to you. Make as many notes as possible - this will jog your memory later and will make you appear enthusiastic.

Learn the office protocol - confirm what your responsibilities are, who your line manager is, your employers performance review process and get a copy of the employee handbook (if one exists).

Leave the office a few minutes late - even if you have got nothing to do. This will prove that you are not a clock watcher, and show your commitment.

This one deserves to be repeated: Make a big effort to remember people's names. It helps if you repeat a name. For example: 'Nice to meet you, Helen.'

DON'T: Use overpowering perfume or aftershave, which can distract people.

Take too long on your lunchbreak.

Be afraid to ask any questions. You are not expected to know everything.

Get involved in office politics. Keep your head down until you have a good grasp of your workmates' relationships.

Make personal calls or send emails to friends, until you find out the company policy. Check whether you are allowed to use your mobile phone at work.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ten Practical Steps to Improve your Career
In order to create the best choices and opportunities in your work life, you have to take calculated risks and be postive. Here are 10 practical steps to improve your working future and keep you motivated.

1. Invest in yourself. Dedicate time to focus on your job, from successes to struggles.

2. Know the organization. Every organization has key "information brokers," cultural issues, opportunities and goals. Learn exactly who the key players are and what the company needs.

3. Watch the politics. Tune into the political undercurrent that every office exhibits. Be aware of your boss's wishes and help to provide it. Always re-establish your presence if new bosses come on board.

4. Be an ideas machine. Don't restrict your expertise to your industry sector. Keep up to date, read widely and hunt down useful contacts.

5. Adopt a strategy for rejection. Focus on the positive outcomes of rejection. Use "no" as a learning tool, not as an excuse to cling to the safety of the mediocre.

6. Communicate a clear message. Personal PR is an art form. Regularly communicate three key messages to the decision-makers: 1) What it is that you do well and excel at. 2) How you make a difference to the organization and 3) Make clear the challenges and opportunities that you would like to take on so that your job develops to benefit the company.

7. Fall forwards. Don't fear making mistakes and learn from any false starts. You will end up focused and driven about what you want to do next. This kind of enthusiasm gets noticed!

8. Recruit your dream team. In-sync supporters of YOU can make your career transformation more agreeable. Recruit positive mentors to support you through your exploration.

9. Keep making connections. Set time aside to maintain relationships and networking. Cultivate the people who are already at the center of great networks.

10. Step out. Keep the momentum going! What additional training can you arrange? Who do you need to consult or influence? How are you going to increase your exposure?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Make Sure you Consider All Available Options in your Job Search
Today everyone is using social network Web sites such as, MySpace, You Tube,, Yahoo Groups,,, and Facebook. The Internet has become the most widely used source of information for job seekers.

In addition to the social Web sites, there are also ones such as CareerBuilder, Monster and Yahoo HotJobs that list thousands of jobs. There are specialized sites for salespeople, financial positions and tech workers. Companies, government agencies, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations also list job opportunities on their Web sites. Just recently, some federal agencies have started using Twitter to advertise job announcements. Among the factors you should consider in selecting a job site are its reputation, how it uses information collected from employers and potential employees, and how much information is released to the prospective employer.

You do not want your resume misused. Verify facts about the job site and check the contact numbers and addresses. The sites will provide you with information about how they collect data, use information and their privacy policy. Most sites require that you register with them first before you get access to job information. In many cases, an employer is unable to see your resume unless a fee is paid by them to use the Web site. Make sure that the job site is updated regularly to provide the latest job openings. Always be careful where you post your resume. Be professional in the presentation of information to potential employers.

Although it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of age, if you're over 50 you may find it difficult to find a job. How do you deal with age when applying for a job in which you know you are qualified?

It is difficult to hide your age on a resume and in person. Use age as an advantage. Have a job search strategy. In many cases, it takes more than five months for someone over 50 to find a new job as compared to four months for younger people, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are jobs that require your skills and experience. You may need to use an executive search firm. These firms can be found on,, or

You need to network with former colleagues, friends and relatives so that they know you are looking for a job. According to a Right Management Survey, 42 percent of people find a job through a networking contact. Many professional associations have job search services. Emphasize your experience, specific accomplishments, measurable results and your value to an organization.

Extend your search to other industries and not-for-profit organizations that can use your skills. Join community and not-for- profit organizations so that others recognize that age has not stopped you from actively participating in these organizations. Volunteer for leadership positions. Make sure your resume is professionally prepared so that your accomplishments are easy to recognize. Practice for interviews. The interviewer should easily pick up the fact that you welcome change. Many companies look for experienced employees.

So, you want to move up...Should you hire an executive search firm?

Searching for a new position is a time-consuming process, particularly when you are employed. The executive search firm will help you save time. These firms are used by employers in identifying candidates for middle and top management positions and by individuals seeking positions in senior management. They also will provide feedback to you on your strengths and weaknesses as a job candidate. They help you prepare resumes for different job positions, cover letters, and a marketing plan to find a job. They also help you format your resume for job sites, recruiting agencies and employers.

The cost for these services can range from $5,000 to $25,000. These firms employ skilled specialists who assist you in these activities. The firms provide confidentiality, an extensive list of job opportunities, company evaluations based on extensive research, and negotiation experience and expertise. There are firms that specialize in particular occupations such as accounting, finance, engineering, health and hospital administration. For some positions, companies rely heavily on executive search firms to find qualified candidates.

If you opt for this path, choose an executive search firm carefully. To get the most out of working with an executive search firm you need to understand what the agency can do for you, how to use their knowledge and who gets to see your resume. It is important to build a good relationship with the individual with whom you are working at the firm. Choose the agency that has the experience and contacts to find you the position you are seeking after gathering information and speaking to a number of search firms.

For general career advice geared towards the government sector visit

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dealing with Employment Discrimination
Employment discrimination (or workplace discrimination) is discrimination in hiring, promotion, job assignment, termination, and compensation. It includes various types of harassment.

Many jurisdictions prohibit some types of employment discrimination, often by forbidding discrimination based on certain traits ("protected categories"). In other cases, the law may require discrimination against certain groups.

In places where it is illegal, discrimination often takes subtler forms, such as wage discrimination and requirements with disparate impact on certain groups. Although illegal, employees sometimes suffer retaliation for opposing workplace discrimination or for reporting violations to the authorities. Federal law prohibits U.S. employers to write bad job references, or otherwise retaliate against former employees as a punishment for filing job discrimination complaints.

Like most discrimination, employment discrimination may occur intentionally or unintentionally, because of prejudice or ignorance.

Federal law governing employment discrimination has developed over time. The Equal Pay Act amended the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1963. The Equal Pay Act prohibits employers and unions from paying different wages based on sex. It does not prohibit other discriminatory practices in hiring. It provides that where workers perform equal work in jobs requiring "equal skill, effort, and responsibility and performed under similar working conditions," they should be provided equal pay.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in many more aspects of the employment relationship. It applies to most employers engaged in interstate commerce with more than 15 employees, labor organizations, and employment agencies. Title VII prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It makes it illegal for employers to discriminate based upon protected characteristics regarding terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended Title VII in 1978, specifying that unlawful sex discrimination includes discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), enacted in 1968 and amended in 1978 and 1986, prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of age. The prohibited practices are nearly identical to those outlined in Title VII, except that the ADEA protects workers in firms with 20 or more workers rather than 15 or more.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of disability by the federal government, federal contractors with contracts of more than $10,000, and programs receiving federal financial assistance.

The Black Lung Benefits Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination by mine operators against miners who suffer from "black lung disease" (pneumoconiosis).

The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of bankruptcy or bad debts.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 prohibits employers with more than three employees from discriminating against anyone (except an unauthorized immigrant) on the basis of national origin or citizenship status.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) was enacted to eliminate discriminatory barriers against qualified individuals with disabilities, individuals with a record of a disability, or individuals who are regarded as having a disability. It prohibits discrimination based on a physical or mental handicap and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for disabled workers.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 bars employers from using individuals' genetic information when making hiring, firing, job placement, or promotion decisions.

The proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Now that you know the laws involved, learn about those who enforce them and steps you can take if you find yourself a victim of employment discrimination.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency charged with protecting workers from discrimination. Questions you may have:

Question: What is the role of the EEOC?

Answer: The agency is charged with enforcing Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments, from discriminating against employees based on their race, sex, color, national origin or religion.

EEOC also enforces three other federal laws. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibits employers from discriminating against workers 40 years of age or older. The Equal Pay Act of 1963, which requires workers who are performing the same or similar duties to be paid equally, without regard to the sex of the worker, and the more recent federal law that was passed is called the Americans With Disabilities Act, which was passed in 1990 and prohibits employers from discriminating against an individual based on disability.

Q: If workers believe their employers have violated these laws, what should they do?

A: People who believe they have been subjected to discrimination under these laws can call, write or visit their local EEOC office to seek more information or to file a complaint. Information on the agency can be found at or (800) 669-4000.

Q: What is the process for filing a complaint?

A: A person who comes into an EEOC office is interviewed by an investigator, who accepts the information and formalizes the complaint. Once EEOC have a formal complaint, they notify the employer of the complaint and invite their response.

Q: Does that begin the investigative process?

A: Before an investigation begins, EEOC will more than likely attempt to resolve the complaint through mediation. This service is free to both the worker and the employer. Information from the mediation is confidential and no information given during the mediation is passed on to EEOC investigative staff if the mediation is unsuccessful.

Q: What are the most common complaints filed?

A: Three types of complaints historically make up for most of the volume. One type of complaint is allegations of race discrimination. A second is cases alleging sex discrimination, and a lot of those include sexual harassment. The third category is cases alleging retaliation.

Q: How is unwelcome sexual conduct defined?

A: Unwelcome sexual conduct includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, which unreasonably interferes with the person's ability to work or which creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. A single request by a supervisor for a date may not constitute sexual harassment; repeated requests could. A comment about a female's body parts or clothing, if it's sexual in nature and if it is repeated, could constitute sexual harassment as well. The first instance of touching a woman in a private place on her body is sexual harassment if the woman is trying to avoid it and has otherwise expressed that it's unwelcome.

Q: What can employers do to keep sexual harassment and other unlawful practices out of the workplace?

A: If an employer is serious about keeping sexual harassment out of the workplace, having a policy and living by the policy is the right thing to do. The most crucial aspect of a policy is its widespread dissemination, and training.

For additional career tips check us out at

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Top 50 Federal Occupations with the Most Job Openings
One of the keys to landing your perfect job is staying up to date on the latest federal hiring trends and we're here to help. This page displays the top 50 Federal occupations with the most postings in this calendar year and is cumulative through the end of February.


59 Interview Tips – Part I of a 5 Part Series
A good interview technique is a powerful weapon in any career search.  Be aware of the skills necessary to win the job.  Armed with these skills you can attend an interview knowing you have given yourself the best opportunity to shine in front of a potential employer. Interviews involve more than answering questions. Getting the job may be as simple as being prepared, understanding what you have to offer and providing brief, concise answers. This is part One of a Five part interviews series.  We hope this helps!
1.   Demonstrate your skills and expertise verbally and within a limited time scale.

2.   Respond openly and fully to all questions and give appropriate examples.

3.   Handle any objections which are put to you.

4.   Be able to justify your salary expectations.

5.   Practice before your interview. During the interview, you want to sound confident and professional. Come prepared with a question or two for the interviewers. Practice answering questions or participate in a mock interview with an employment services professional or an impartial acquaintance. This will encourage conversation and give you a chance to stand out from the crowd. Interviewers will remember your questions more than your answers. It shows your level of interest in 'their' company.

6.   Two-minute summary. Often called the 'elevator-pitch'. You should be able to describe yourself, your ambitions, your approach and your sense of accomplishment all in the span of about two minutes. Any longer and you may put the interviewers to sleep. Any shorter and they may feel you have nothing to say - and worse, nothing to contribute.

7.   Throughout the interview. Always keep in mind that you are being evaluated, not tested, for a specific position within the company. You are not there to entertain. Most people feel uneasy speaking about themselves, feeling that they are bragging. You are not bragging when you simply repeat your accomplishments and how you faced several challenges. Keep in mind that there was something in your resume that got you this far. Now what will 'close the deal'?

8.   Questions frequently asked during an interview. There are many questions that can be asked during an interview. There is no simple way to memorize the correct answer for every possibility. However, you can prepare yourself for even the toughest questions with a process. One of your tasks during the interview is to understand what is really being asked. This involves you listening to the question. Your answer may touch on your skills, your motivation or your manageability.

9.   The post interview wrap-up. The job search is a process, and you should become better at interviewing the more you do it. One way to help you improve is to perform a self-critique immediately after each interview. You should write down your thoughts as soon as possible after the interview, while it is fresh in your mind. If a particular question caused you a problem, you can later figure out a better answer in case it is asked again in another interview.

10. Thank you notes.  In addition to being a courteous gesture, a thank you note after an interview provides another opportunity to sell yourself and cover any areas that you feel weren't adequately covered in the interview. Identify the specific position for which you interviewed and the date/place of the interview and mention a key point of conversation with the interviewer. Thank the interviewer for their time and let them know how much you enjoyed meeting with him or her.

11. Converse. To put the interviewer and yourself at ease, start off by offering thanks for the time to discuss your skills. Tell the interviewer about yourself and what you can bring to the company. Tell them that you are researching jobs within the industry. This along will  give them an idea that you are focused.  Discuss your skills and how you can use them to benefit the company. Use this opportunity as a self-advertisement.

12. Connect.  Ask questions to keep the interview moving. Talking during an interview should be 50/50. Listen to what the company is looking for and explain how your skills would apply. Give examples of how you have learned from others and how you have shared your ideas with them.  Explain professional problems that you have faced and how they were resolved. This technique may answer questions such as why you think you can do the job.  And always be a good listener so you can provide good answers.

13. Convince.  Present your skills in a convincing manner and be effective in telling your story. One dramatic method:  State the problem or opportunity that presented itself to you;  Use action steps to explain how you solved the problem;  Discuss the result of your actions.  Provide a timeline, the number of people involved, the amount of money that it saved the company. Let the interviewer know how your steps affected the bottom line within your area of responsibility, or the percent change that the company realized as a result of your work . . . anything quantifiable.

14. Confidence.  Use strong body language. Smile. Keep things positive. Mirror what the interviewer does. For example, if he or she leans forward, you should lean forward. If he or she stands, you should stand. Your body language can help build your confidence and relax.  Your body language shows you are paying attention. It puts in their mind that you are a candidate they should be looking for.  If the interviewer asks for a conflict you have incurred in a prior job, tell them how you resolved it. Offer good results. When the interview is ending, recap what you said to validate your interest.

15. Come clean.  As the interview ends, make sure your perceptions of the job and its responsibilities match what the interviewer has conveyed. Clear the air by recapping what was said in the interview to make sure you and the interviewer are on the same page. This helps demonstrate that you understand what is expected. Be prepared to answer any interviewer's assessment that you "may be overqualified" by strongly conveying your interest in the job and emphasizing what you can do for the company.

16. Preparation: A candidate who shows up to an interview armed with specific knowledge of the prospective employer makes a favorable impression.  If your interview is with a law firm, with the Internet, there is no excuse for not being prepared, as there is a plethora of information at your fingertips. Size, structure, representative clients, recent major cases and/or transactions, and financial condition are all accessible facts that can be ascertained through firm or company Web sites, other sites such as those for Martindale-Hubbell, the National Association of Legal Placement, Hoovers and EDGAR, plus a Google or Westlaw  search for press coverage. Talk to your contacts that might have insights about the prospective employer.

17. Research. Prospective employers expect that you have thoroughly researched their organization and the opportunity before you set foot in their offices for your first interview. If you ask or answer questions in such a way as to reveal a lack of easily acquired information, they will react negatively. Going beyond the obvious information sources to demonstrate more in-depth knowledge of your prospective employer's business can only serve to make you a stronger candidate.

18. Etiquette: Good interviewing protocol includes being on time and, if late, calling; being polite to staff; and having a firm handshake, good eye contact and a confident smile. Arriving five minutes early allows you to relax and recharge. A few minutes in the reception area can speak volumes about the tenor of the place and gives you a chance to observe interactions of employees who are passing through. Profanity, gum-chewing and smoking are inappropriate at all times, even if engaged in by those conducting the interview. Greet and address the receptionist or the person that welcomes you with respect. Do not answer your mobile phone or use a similar device while waiting, or during the interview. Just turn it off. If the culture allows only, firmly shake the hand of the interviewer before and after the interview. Do not forget to thank the receptionist on your way out.

19. What to bring. You should bring to interviews extra copies of your resume, a list of references (having obtained permission to use them), a writing sample that demonstrates your research and analytical skills and lucid writing style (no typos, please!) and, if you are five or fewer years out school, a certified copy of your school transcript.

20. Appearance: Your appearance should be as professional as possible. Even in business casual environments we recommend formal business attire — suits and ties for men and pant or skirt suits or dresses for women. Be stylish, but conservative. Grooming is of paramount importance as it demonstrates your attention to detail. Interviewers will notice shaggy hair, scuffed shoes, split seams, falling hems or missing buttons. The first 90 seconds of any interview are vital whatever your age if you want to make a positive, lasting impression. The initial impression should not be marred by excessive jewelry or make-up, inappropriate clothing and unkempt hair. Wear minimal jewelry, do not show a lot of bare skin, wear a suit if appropriate for the job, wear your hair pulled back and don't wear open-toed shoes. Make sure clothing is in good condition, clean and pressed. Even if your research shows the work environment is pretty casual, at the very least, dress one step above the level of the job you are interviewing for. Don't turn up in a pinstripe suit if you're going for a job at a warehouse, but make sure you're not scruffy, either.

21. You have 30 minutes to an hour to show your best. We can't stress how important body language is. Don't slump on the seat. Posture and presentation are very important. First impressions: Some hiring managers claim they can spot a viable candidate within 30 seconds. While much has to do with the way you look, it's also based on your body language. Stand up straight, walk with assurance, confidently shake your interviewer's hand and make eye contact while saying hello.

22. Attitude: In an interview, it is essential to demonstrate your responsiveness, intelligence and personality. You want to be assertive without being cocky or arrogant, friendly without being overly familiar and articulate without being long-winded. You must indicate a willingness to work hard and demonstrate a high energy level. It is important to communicate a grasp of what the position entails and sell your abilities to meet their needs.  Listen carefully to what is being asked, and be completely honest and not evasive in answering direct questions. In turn, asking some carefully designed questions demonstrates your interest in and knowledge of the potential employer, as well as your intelligent assertiveness. At the top of the "what not to do" list: Do not speak negatively of a former employer at any time.

23. No money talk: Remember that an interview is about you demonstrating what you can contribute to the prospective employer, not what they can do for you. Therefore, especially in the initial stages of the interviewing process, you must not bring up the topic of compensation or benefits. The time to discuss those issues is when an offer is forthcoming. However, from the first meeting, you should be working on proving your value to the prospective employer by showing how you are the best candidate for the job. This will establish your worth when it comes time to talk about the terms of an offer. Never ask an interviewer — even a peer — what he or she earns at any stage of the interviewing process.

24. Culture: Each organization has its own particular style or culture, and a candidate, as well as a future employer, needs to assess the likelihood of a good fit. It is tempting, when scrambling for a job, to play down this aspect, but it really is a good indicator of future success.  The company's Web site may give you a hint to how the organization sees itself and how it wants to portray itself to the public. You can get more information regarding the company's culture from talking to recruiters and friends or classmates who have worked or interviewed there, or who have handled matters with the company. Nonetheless, your observation during the interviewing process will be most important. Note whether first names are used, if there is banter in the halls, and so forth. Keep your eyes and ears open and match your degree of formality and energy level to that of your interviewers, within the parameters of your own personal style.
Besides fitting in on the personality level, you must also show you would be part of the team pulling for the organization's success. In your interviews, discuss how you have acted like an owner in your current or previous companies. Demonstrate, to the extent you can, that you learned the business aspects of your organization. Mention, if applicable, any committees or leadership roles you took on and what you did to facilitate the smooth functioning of your company.  In short, be the kind of person that the powers-that-be want to invite into their ranks.
25. Follow-up: At the end of the interview it is perfectly permissible for you to ask what the next step will be and when you should expect to hear from the potential employer. Immediately after the interview, it is good form to send a thank-you note — making sure to get the names (and correct spelling) of the inter viewers. If there has been no response in the time period stated, it is acceptable to make a polite telephone inquiry, but it is important not to be a nuisance.
26. Practice before you walk in. Apart from practicing answers, it is similarly important to be aware of your voice and body language. If there are two interviewers when one is asking questions, the other one will be observing body language and responses. This is another sneaky way of doing it but it helps them to see you from all angles. Each interviewer has their own technique but the general questions are the same.
27. Do not keep your arms folded during the interview. Are you speaking clearly? Do you appear interested and eager or bored or afraid? Your body language could betray you. Again ask a friend to help you practice.
28. Make sure you know the company's location. Go on a practice run so that you know how much time you will need to get to the place and how many minutes you need to walk from the bus stop or car park.
29. Display good manners before, during and after the interview. Your job interview begins the moment you arrive on company property. The first person you come across is probably the Receptionist. In certain companies, Receptionists are a member of the interview board, though they sit outside the interview room. Receptionists are at times asked to judge the candidates as to how they enter the premises and how they behave as they come in.
30. Try to match the posture of the interviewer. If your interviewer is sitting upright with their hands folded, you should try to sit the same way without acting like a mirror. This might contradict with the suggestion number three, but this is allowed depending on the circumstances. You are not allowed to fold arms when the interviewers are not folding arms. The interviewer is looking for people that will fit into the company. Showing the same mannerisms conveys that message. If the interviewer is laid back and relaxed, take that as a sign that you can lean back in your chair and get comfortable.
31. Posture: When the interviewer offers you a seat, sit upright but not too stiffly in your chair, indicating you are comfortable and feeling confident. Hunching down gives the impression low self-esteem and can indicate a careless attitude and lack of energy. Sitting on the edge of your seat can come across as being nervous and tense. Face the interviewer, pointing your knees and feet in that direction, and lean slightly forward, indicating you're alert and focused. Don't lean toward the door; you'll probably appear as if you're ready to make a mad dash for the exit.
32. Common question that every interviewer will ask. Include qualifications or experience when answering typical but very important questions that interviewers will ask. They may ask what tasks you performed in previous positions. Or whether you have any pre booked vacation with your current employer and how much notice you are required to give to your current employer, when resigning.  If you answer to the last question about the notice requirement is that you can exit any time, this answer itself will be reason for disqualification. If you happen to indicate that one months' notice before quitting is required, you will get extra marks for professionalism.  
33. Be ready to describe a difficult work situation and how you handled it. These types of questions can be intimidating, but display your adaptability and analytical skills to the employer. Describe the situation or task, the action you took and the results.  There are the usual suspects - why do you want the job, why you left your old job, what challenges you've faced in other jobs.
34. Be prepared to discuss your weaknesses. When an interviewer asks for your weaknesses, be honest, but turn the negatives into positives. Tell them something that was a weakness but you overcame. For example, you were terrible with Excel and then took a community college course on the program.
35. Questions for which you don't have an answer. If you aren't absolutely sure of any answer, don't bluff or guess. Ask questions to clarify what information the interviewer is seeking. Restate the question in a way that makes it easier for you to answer, and give a short response. Then, ask whether you have adequately addressed the question. If you still cannot answer, tell the interviewer that you would like to give the subject more thought, and ask if you can get back with an answer at a specific later time — and do so.
36. Inappropiate questions. In this era of heightened sensitivity to inappropriate language or actions, interviewers generally are careful, but there may be an unintentional slip-up. If this occurs, avoid becoming defensive, and attempt to determine the motivation behind the question. If you can find a legitimate purpose, respond with information that relates to performance of the job for which you are interviewing.
Marital status/children. The interviewer may be exploring whether you have other commitments that could interfere with your duties. Assure the interviewer that you are ready, willing and able to perform all the duties of your job, and that you are available to travel, work evenings and weekends, and do whatever is necessary to fulfill the requirements of the position.
Age. If you are lucky enough to look young, the interviewer may be concerned that clients will not take you seriously. Emphasize your experience and give examples of where you have handled significant responsibility and worked directly with clients.

If you are an older candidate, assure the interviewer that you have no problem working with and for employees and clients of all ages, including those younger than yourself. Emphasize that long hours and hard work don't scare you. Highlight your "real world" experiences that can be an asset to the prospective employer.
Political, religious and social affiliations. Unless relevant to the position, these questions are, technically, improper. However, the interviewer merely might be commenting on information on your resume or making small talk to break the ice. If you think the motive is to assess the extent of your potential rainmaking connections, discuss organizations and affiliations through which you have developed contacts or potentially could do so in the future.
Nationality and citizenship. While it is illegal to ask about citizenship, national origin or "native tongue," it's appropriate to ask whether a candidate is authorized to work in the United States and to ask about language abilities if they are relevant to work performance, such as for attracting or serving a diverse client base. If you believe the question was asked to determine your immigration status, state that, if offered a position, you'd be happy to provide appropriate documentation.
Disabilities. It's illegal to ask about a disability or to discriminate on the basis of a disability. However, it's appropriate to ask whether the candidate is able to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without accommodation, based on the job description.
37. Never say anything negative about your previous employer. Statements such as "My visions were different than the company's" or "There wasn't room for growth" are acceptable answers. Another sensitive topic may be compensation. Research the salary for the position, but it's OK to ask for the range if the information is not shared up front.
38. If you believe that a question is offensive, illegal or insulting, you may want to (diplomatically) counter with a question of your own, such as, "I'm sorry, I don't understand how that relates to my ability to do the job. Could you please elaborate?" One hopes the interviewer will catch the indiscretion and rephrase the question in a more appropriate manner. If this tactic does not work, and the interviewer continues in an offensive manner, you may respectfully decline to answer the question, stating your belief that the question has no relevance to your ability to do the job.
39. Bring in questions for when the employer asks, "Do you have any questions for me?" If you do not ask any questions, the interviewer may think that you are uninterested in the position.  Your questions should show that you have paid attention to what the interviewer has been saying. Responding to a point made earlier by the interviewer is a good indication that you have been listening and processing the information, rather than passively absorbing it. Asking questions also enables you to break down the formal interview-candidate relationship, establish an easy flow of conversation, and build trust and rapport. Since most candidates under serious consideration are more or less evenly matched in terms of qualifications, the selection often is based on "fit" with the prospective employer.
The following is a selection of possible questions. Decide which are most important to you. You might want to bring along a notepad with the questions you plan to ask, grouped by topic or order of importance, in case your time is limited.
1. What kind of responsibility will I have?
2. What are the criteria for advancement?
3. What kind of person does well here?
4. How much direct client contact can I expect to have?
5. How is work assigned?
6. How is the company organized?
7. If a branch office, what is the relationship with other offices?
8. What kind of training is available (formal and informal)?
9. How are employees supervised and evaluated?
10. What has been the company's growth history? Turnover? Long-term stability?
11. What companies do you see as competitors?
12. How is this company different?
13. How would you describe the culture or personality of this company?
14. Why did you choose this company?
15. What has been your experience here?
16. Is there anything I can clarify for you?
17. Do you have any reservations about hiring me for this position?
18. What are the next steps?
40. Show confidence.  Even if you're quaking inside, show the interviewer that you are a strong, confident person who is more than capable of doing the job in question.  When you enter the room, make eye contact, smile and give a firm handshake. Don't forget that first impressions count, so make sure your outfit represents you well.
41. Sit tidily and don't fidget. Anything like this undermines your confidence and suggests that you aren't able to cope with senior roles. Watching your nonverbal messages while delivering brilliant and concise answers to interview questions can be difficult when you're nervous. But managing your body language can help you hide your jitters, and understanding your interviewers' nonverbal cues may allow you to make adjustments before you go too far off track.
42. Don't assume. The only assumption you should make is that the interviewer knows nothing about you. Even if you are going for an internal role, use the interview as a blank canvas to paint a picture of your successes and achievements.
43. Timing. If the interviewer starts summing up, closes your file or stacks up your résumé and related papers, glances at his or her watch, or stands up, that's your cue to start your close. Follow your interviewer's lead, and do not necessarily stick to the schedule.  If the discussion is going long but well, do not cut it short. (Be sure to leave enough time in your schedule to allow for flexibility.) On the other hand, when you get the signals that your interview is drawing to a close, make a succinct closing statement, and do not linger.
44. Summarize. Briefly state what you believe to be the qualifications the employer is seeking, and then describe how your skills and background fit the bill. Pick two or three major points that were discussed during the interview. If you are interviewing with several companies or government agencies, one after another, you will need to convince each of them that you are the right candidate for the job. As we said before, assume that each interviewer knows nothing about you, and be prepared to repeat yourself — just be consistent. Emphasize the contributions you could make to their company.
45. Offer further information. Writing samples, school transcripts, references, letters of recommendation or performance appraisals.  
46. Next step. If the interviewer does not volunteer this information, ask where they are in their hiring process, what the next step will be and their timeline for making the hire. Let them know if you have any time constraints, as well competing offers, or scheduled upcoming time off.
47. Bring your calendar. In most cases, the company will be interviewing a number of candidates and may need to get others in for initial or callback meetings before deciding how to proceed with any particular one. If so, ask the interviewer when you should follow up and with whom. If, however, the employer wants to set up further interviews there and then, have your calendar handy so that arrangements can be made while their enthusiasm is high.
48. Ask for the job. Don't assume that the interviewer knows that you want the job. Interviews are a two-way street, and you need to let the prospective employer know that you liked what you heard about the position and organization. State very clearly that you were impressed by the opportunity and would like to be part of their team. If appropriate, you might add that you would look forward to working with the interviewer, personally.
49. On-the-spot offers. This is the rare equivalent of love at first sight. Even if you are as enthusiastic as the prospective employer, do not accept on the spot! Give yourself at least overnight to think about it and come back with questions about details once the initial excitement has settled down a bit. Tell the interviewer how flattered and excited you are about the possibility of working on their team, if it is true, and that you will get back to them soon.
50. The goodbye. Just as you did at the start of the interview, look your interviewer in the eye, smile and shake hands firmly. Thank him or her for taking the time to meet with you, and make your exit knowing that you made a strong closing argument.
51. The adage "it's not what you say, but how you say it" is true, even if you're not talking. In interviews you need to effectively communicate your professionalism verbally and nonverbally. It's been said that your verbal content provides only 7 percent of the message the interviewer receives; body language communicates 55 percent and tone of voice accounts for 38 percent. Therefore, when someone says one thing, but their nonverbal communication says another, we usually believe the nonverbal message.
52. Respect the interviewer's personal space. In most cases, there will be a desk or a table between you. If not, don't get too close; 2 feet to 3 feet is comfortable for most people.
53. Excessive leg movement is distracting and indicates nervousness. No bouncing or shaking. Resting one leg or ankle on top of your other knee makes you look too casual and can come across as arrogant. Avoid sitting with legs too wide apart. Crossing your legs at the ankles or placing both feet flat on the floor conveys a confident and professional look during the job interview.
54. Voice: Deliberately speak slowly. Interview jitters will naturally hasten your pace. By concentrating on enunciating your words individually, you'll actually achieve a normal speed. Pause before beginning each sentence to avoid instinctively reacting and misspeaking or interrupting the interviewer.
55. Facial expressions: A natural smile telegraphs sincerity and sociability. A fake smile is easily identified, however, because it uses only the muscles around the mouth. A genuine smile shows throughout your face, especially the eyes. Excessive smiling, on the other hand, can convey lack of authenticity. Relax your mouth; pursing the lips shows disapproval and biting them suggests nervousness. A furrowed brow or hard swallow before addressing a question can indicate that you are uncomfortable with your answer.
56. Gestures: If you're unsure of what to do with your hands, rest them, loosely clasped, in your lap or on the table. Practice a comfortable way to place your arms and hands while seated, both at a table and in a chair on its own.
57. Don't exhibit excessive emotion. Smile and nod appropriately, but don't overdo it and risk looking like a bubblehead. Tilting your head slightly comes across as friendly and open. Keeping it straight reads self-assured and authoritative.
58. No Baggage. Everyone gets nervous at interviews, and it makes us awkward and uncomfortable. Try to lessen that by leaving bags, heavy coats and other accessories at home.
59. Mirroring: When people have established rapport in conversation, there's a natural tendency to mirror each other's facial expressions, tone of voice, posture and movement. This tends to reinforce agreement. People generally like people who appear similar to them. Therefore, observe the interviewer's body language and subtly reflect it back. Don't be obvious about it, however, or you'll become annoying.

For additional career tips, visit us at