Corrections or additions?
This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the February 19, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
When Interviewing For a Job, Act the Part
Acing a job interview involves getting comfortable —
but not too comfortable. "It’s like acting," says
Poulos, an actress and management consultant who looks at the interviews
from both sides of the desk. The principal in All the World’s a Stage
(www.savvypresentations.com) at 20 Nassau Street, she advises corporate
managers on how best to communicate in every situation, including
interviews with job candidates, and she consults with individuals
who need to excel at business communications — including job interviews.
It is important to be relaxed and friendly during a job interview,
Poulos says, but at the same time it is essential to remain focused.
"You have to remember where you are," she says. "This
is a business transaction." Poulos speaks on "How Interviewers
Interview: A View from the Other Side of the Desk" on Friday,
February 21, at 10:30 a.m. at Mercer County College’s Kerney campus.
Poulos, who holds a master’s degree in theater from Penn State, is
finding that managers are looking for "soft skills," but often
find it hard to figure out whether a particular candidate has them.
Evaluating technical experience and skill is a snap compared with
determining whether a candidate has the more elusive qualities that
the job requires. Right now, managers are telling her, these qualities
include a good work ethic, flexibility, a high tolerance for stress,
and the ability to multi-task and to work well on a team with colleagues
from different cultural backgrounds.
It may be up to the job candidate to bring a discussion of these qualities
into the interview. This is part of the process of acing an interview.
Some of the other pieces are:
before he steps onto a stage, a job candidate needs to go over the
points he needs to make during an interview. Just reaching the interview
stage may be the culmination of months of intense job hunting. It
is vital to be fully ready to do well.
job, but Poulos says that not all interviewers are good at it. It
may be up to you to establish a connection. Be friendly, she suggests,
but not too friendly. While opinion splits over whether it is a good
idea to quickly scan the office, choose an object — perhaps the
picture of a pet — and make a comment, Poulos says this is risky.
"What if the dog just died?" she asks. Beyond the possibility
of bringing up a painful subject, admiring a finger painting or a
model sail boat could be tiresome. You have no way of knowing whether
the five candidates ahead of you made the very same comment.
Better, says Poulos, to indicate how happy you are to be at XYZ company
and perhaps to make positive mention of the company’s website or to
praise one of its products. Don’t get too personal.
communication style, although they may not be conscious of doing so.
Adopt a conversational style, but "don’t be too overwhelming,"
says Poulos. Make eye contact, but "without eye lock."
Pause before answering a question. "Take your time," says
Poulos, explaining that this lets interviewers know that you are carefully
considering your answer.
questions that are overly broad. Try to narrow the question. Does
he want to know about an individual project or a team effort? Is he
looking for insight into how you handled a personnel crisis or a crisis
involving damage control with the media? Focus the question and there
is a better chance you will deliver exactly the information the interviewer
For starters, Poulos emphasizes, these tales should be true. They
should illustrate how well you achieved a goal at another job, in
school, or perhaps in a community project. The stories — prepared
in advance of the interview — should include mention of the key
soft skills. Perhaps one story could mention long hours of juggling
several projects — easily tolerated because of the rapport within
or bringing up a success story, include specifics. "Details increase
credibility," says Poulos. "They make it real for the listener."
"managers expect you to be assertive." Don’t sit back, waiting
for the questions to come. There are points that need to be made,
points that demonstrate why you are the best person for the job. It
is up to you to make sure the interview doesn’t end before all the
important points are made.
candidates make, says Poulos, is thinking only about themselves. Don’t
pepper the interviewer with questions about benefits. Don’t regale
him with tales of family obligations that will make it impossible
for you to work late on Fridays or travel internationally. The interviewer
is focused on what the company needs. It is your job to demonstrate
how well you can fill these needs.
Save questions about dental coverage and company day care for after
an offer has been extended.
The New Jersey Society for Professional Journalists
(NJSPJ) is reaching out to freelancers at its annual Freelance Workshop.
"It’s a really nice event," says
year we had 65 or 70 participants." Murray is principal of Milltown-based
Murray Communications and vice president of NJSPJ.
The half-day event takes place on Saturday, February 22, at 8:30 a.m.
at the Camden campus of Rutgers University. Cost: $40. Visit www.njspj.org
for registration information and directions.
Designed to bring freelance writers — fiction as well as non-fiction
— together with editors and publishers, the event provides networking
opportunities and a number of workshops on all facets of the profession.
The first of two concurrent workshops, beginning at 9:45 a.m., addresses
the business aspects of freelance writing. It is moderated by
Overman, president of NJSPJ. Panelist include
of the National Writer’s Union, media attorney
a home office specialist.
The second 9:45 a.m. workshop takes on the how-tos of getting a book
published. On hand to give advice are columnist
consultant and author of Princeton Management Consultants Guide to
Your New Job, published by John Wiley & Sons. Representatives from
Xlibris, Running Press, and Temple University Press also are expected
After a coffee break, a combined 11:30 a.m. session looks at "Print
and Electronic Opportunities." Panelists include
of the Trenton Times, radio freelancer
Daily News columnist
Murray says NJSPJ holds its events around the state for the convenience
of journalists in every part of New Jersey. This event is held in
conjunction with the Philadelphia Society of Professional Journalists.
for making its 2003 Eden Dreams benefit a success. Among its benefactors
of the Sunshine Foundation partner this year to host the third annual
"Dreamday for Dreamlift" on Saturday, April 12.
The Sunshine Foundation helps seriously ill, physically and mentally
challenged, and abused children fulfill their individual dreams and
wishes. The foundation satisfies many Mercer County children’s requests,
which range from a computer to a special wheelchair to a week-long
stay at the Sunshine Foundation’s Dream Village at Disney World.
A "Dreamlift" is scheduled for Wednesday, April 23, taking
over 100 children from Mercer County Airport to Disney World. To fund
this and other activities the organizations supporting the Sunshine
Foundation are holding a silent auction at the "Dreamday"
event. Contributions of items for the auction are needed, as are monetary
contributions. For information call Michael Briehler of the Pennington
Athletic Club at 609-730-8100.
organizations wishing to apply to the
Foundation (PACF) for program funding.
with proven competence in working with girls to build character and
self-esteem, hone special talents, train for leadership, respect their
bodies, stay in school, and be proud of who they are and what they
can do. The fund is also interested in projects that help women to
be positive role models and advocates for themselves, to be good mothers,
to transition from welfare to work, and to adopt healthy behaviors.
The deadline for proposals is Friday, February 28.
for innovative approaches that address unmet needs and underserved
populations and serve the state’s HIV/AIDS population. Community-based
organizations or programs providing direct service, preventive education,
outreach to, or advocacy for HIV positive and at-risk populations
in New Jersey are eligible for funding. The deadline for proposals
is Monday, March 3.
for programs that help low-income people help themselves, efforts
to improve a non-profit’s productivity, or projects that build regional
leadership and effective partnerships. The spring deadline for proposals
is Friday, April 18, for consideration for a June grant.
Full grant guidelines and applications for all grant cycles are available
at PACF’s website at www.pacf.org. For more information call 609-688-0300.
can now be seen rolling through the Route 1 Corridor. Designed by
the ad was created to publicize the Children’s Specialized Hospital
Outpatient Center at Hamilton, which opened in January to provide
specialized and therapeutic care for children in the Mercer County
The ad literally covers the entire bus and features giant-sized cartoon
children waving to passersby. Bus wraps are common in cities such
as New York, where the giant ads function as rolling billboards.
sponsored by the
been published, produced, or aired between January 1 and December
31, 2002 for a company headquartered in New Jersey or by a New Jersey-based
advertising agency. The latest Jersey Awards contest, entitled "Take
Your Best Shot," features 109 categories, up from 105 the year
before. Categories include newspaper and magazine advertising, collateral
materials, direct marketing, out-of-home, radio and television advertising,
and interactive media as well as similar categories for Hispanic and
foreign language advertising.
Deadline is Friday, February 28. Judging takes place at Gibbs College
in Montclair on Saturday, March 15. The awards dinner is scheduled
for May 20 in West Orange. For more information, call Pat Hanley at
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