Make an effort to arrive 10 minutes early for your interview. This will allow time for any traffic problems along with giving you time to complete an application if required.

Always contact your recruiter immediately after each interview. This is critical in maintaining an open line of communication with the hiring manager(s).

The first interview is an opportunity for you to put your best foot forward and allows both you and the client to determine if the right “chemistry” exists to move ahead in the hiring process. The focus should be on your technical and interpersonal skills. It is not the time to discuss compensation, benefits, vacation time, etc. Remember, you are being interviewed to solve a client’s problem and, therefore, you want to come across as a problem solver. Bottom line: any topic that seems self-serving should be avoided.

Dress conservatively, preferably in a suit.

Carry along a portfolio or a planner. Items to include in your portfolio are an updated resume on parchment or high quality stationary; copies of degrees, certificates, commendations; any examples of high-level projects, spreadsheets, etc. that you created (ensure that you are permitted to maintain ownership of these documents), a separate listing of business references, a separate listing of your salary history and a diskette containing your resume.

If the client brings up compensation, try to avoid locking yourself into a fixed number that could be above or below what they are willing to pay. It always helps to assure the client that you are seeking a long-term opportunity and that salary is not your prime motivation.

Sample questions to ask the hiring manager:

• How did this position become available?
• Who does it report to/work with?
• What type of hours does the company work?
• What system, personnel, growth/shrinkage does the company expect in the near future?
• Is the company profitable?
• Who are the company's clients?
• Does the company offer any ongoing training?
• What is the background of the person I will be reporting to?
• Why do you enjoy working for the company?
• Is there future growth opportunity in this position?

Do your own homework on the company by visiting their website.

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