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After sending out numerous resumes, you finally get a call back for that dream job. What do you now? Are you confident that you will ace the interview? Did you try to Google interview questions and answers and found the same template on every website? One way to increase your chances of landing the job is to be different and stand out at the interview (in a positive way of course). Here are some helpful tips that will help you make a lasting impression and secure the job offer.

Pre-interview

1. Learn about the company.

Do your research and try to learn as much information as you can on the company you are interviewing for. Know what they do, their history, their culture. The more knowledge you have on the company, the more you will have to talk about at the interview. Employers will be impressed that you've taken the time to get to know them.

2. Get to know the interviewer before you come to the interview.

Who is this person you will be interviewing with? Knowing the interviewer can be a HUGE advantage! Even if you've never met the person, research his/her position at the company or talk to your friends and colleagues to see if anyone can tell you something about him. Maybe someone you know have worked with him, maybe he's done something for his company or the community that you've admired, or maybe you guys graduated from the same school or are from the same town. You can use this information with bond with the interviewer on a more personal level. Employers are more likely to hire someone they find personable and have a good connection with.

Interview Day

3. Come early.

This may sound like common sense, but many still do not follow this rule. This is your one chance to make an impression, don't blow it by being late! Always come at least 10 minutes early. If you are stuck in traffic, make sure to call and let them know you are trying to get there as fast as you can. Most employers will understand if it's something that's out of your control, however, if you skip that courtesy call, you can kiss that job goodbye.

4. Smile.

This may sound strange, but many people don't understand the importance of a simple smile. Your smile can say a lot about you – it says you are friendly, you're happy to be there, you are someone that people want to work with, and it also breaks the uncomfortable tension. Even though you're nervous and want to seem professional, don't forget to smile. This will set you apart from the brooding crowd.

5. Fit in with their corporate culture.

Skills and qualifications are important, but most of the time these are not the only things employers look for. Your personality and how you fit into their corporate culture is equally as important. Successful companies understand the significance of teamwork. A less qualified person who is eager to learn and works well with others will more likely to be hired than someone who is overqualified but do not fit in with their culture. In a recent article, Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com said when interviewing a new candidate, he always asks himself "Is this a person I would want to have a drink with after work?" if the answer is no, the interview is over.

6. Know your weakness.

When asked, "what would you say is your biggest weakness?", you are most likely to respond with something that is positive because that's what you've been advised to do. However, better way to approach this question is to answer it honestly, but name a quality that has nothing to do with the position you are applying for. Make sure you also let the hiring manager know what you're doing to improve. This way you can be credited for your honesty, but will not be penalized for your weakness.

7. Don't panic.

Even when you feel like things are not going so your way, keep your cool. Sometimes interviewers will purposely ask an unexpected question or disrupt an interview to see how you react. Don't show frustration or fear. Be confident and professional. Show them that you can handle pressure in any situation.

Post-interview

8. Make a lasting impression.

The interview is over, but before you walk out the door, you have one last chance to make yourself memorable – don't just stand up and leave. A smile, a firm handshake, and a sincere thank you are all must-dos. It is also very effective to follow your thank you with a thought.

"Thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet with you. I've always admired this company…"
"Thank you for being the nicest interviewer I've ever had."

9. Follow up.

Here are some follow up rules: send a follow up email within one hour after your interview, then follow up 3 days after, then once a week after that. Follow up until you get a response whether it's a yes or a no. Persistence will only help. There could be many reasons why you haven't heard back from the hiring managers. #1 is because you blew the interview. #2 could be because they have been extremely busy or are procrastinating. If they don't hear from you, they may have forgotten about you. By sending follow up emails, you can keep yourself fresh in their mind.

10. Negotiate.

If you are lucky enough to have multiple offers, don't lie about it, negotiate it! Being honest with the hiring manager about having options and wanting to negotiate will play into your benefit. It shows that you are a high performer and are in demand.

11. Give gratitude.

Once you land your dream job, don't forget to thank the people who helped you. Thank the person who got you introduced, the hiring manager, and everyone in between. Show your gratitude and let them know how much you appreciate their help. Give them a small gift or take them out for a drink if possible. This will make people more inclined to help you in the future.