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Andrews & Associates is an established executive recruiting search firm working exclusively in the areas of state income tax, sales and use taxation and property tax. For over a decade, our reputation has been founded on integrity, quality results professionalism and confidentiality.

Exploring other state tax career opportunities is a sensitive issue which must be handled with extreme confidentiality. For this reason, we never submit your resume to a prospective employer until we have your permission to do so.

At Andrews & Associates, our goal is to partner with you, not just during a state tax job search, but throughout your career.

 

 

Your resume has produced the result you wanted – an invitation to interview.  What do you do now?  What can you do to assure that you present yourself in the best possible light?  Our experience throughout the years with candidates and hiring authorities has resulted in some general guidelines and key areas to remember when interviewing.

Be Prepared
The Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared”, is also relevant for a job hunter.  You can’t ask intelligent questions during an interview if you don’t know the company.  Learn as much about the company, its industry and its leadership as you can.  At a very minimum, review the company’s website and annual report.  Additional information can be gained through business informational sources such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Hoover’s, Moody’s, Lexis Nexis, etc.  Prepare some questions to ask during the interview, but don’t embarrass yourself by asking questions that are clearly answered on the website or in the annual report.  Asking questions signals your interest in the company.  It also demonstrates your intelligence and can open the door to a discussion of your qualifications.  And remember, interviewing is not one sided.  Think of it as a first date, of sorts:  both parties are deciding if they are interested in what the other has to offer.  Asking well-thought questions will help you determine if the opportunity is right for you.

First Impressions
Never underestimate the lasting impact of a first impression.  Make a good one, and you’re one step ahead in the interview process.  Make a bad one, and you will unknowingly spend the remainder of the interview trying to overcome the interviewer’s impression of you.

First of all, let’s talk about what to wear.  In today’s business environment, this can be a tricky area given the variety of dress codes among companies.  It’s best to err on the side of caution and be overdressed rather than underdressed.  Even if you are positive the company is business casual, you should still wear a suit.  Some companies have been known to “dress up” when an interview is scheduled (yes, we’ve seen it happen). 

This is not the time to “express” your self with clothing.  You don’t want to be remembered as a result of your “unusual” appearance.  What we mean by that is if you look professional in appearance, interviewers will take note, but it will be, for the most part, subconscious.  If there is something questionable or “odd” about your appearance, it will be consciously noted and will be an issue in how you are evaluated.

Choose a dark, conservative business suit in a solid color or with a pale stripe.  For men, a white or light blue long sleeved shirt with a tie.  For women, a conservative dark suit with a matching skirt or slacks and blouse (nothing sheer).  Make sure everything is spotless, well-pressed, and not missing any buttons.  If you feel you absolutely must use perfume or cologne, go light.  Women should not have heavy or extreme makeup.  Jewelry should be kept to a minimum.  You should be well-groomed from head to toe.  Shoes should be well-polished and in good condition with dark socks for men; women should wear hosiery with medium heel pumps.  Some obvious things not to bring or do:  no gum, no smoking, no coffee, soda or bottled water, no iPods.  You may have noticed that we didn’t include cell phones.  That’s because they warrant being individually addressed.  Do not bring a cell phone.  If you absolutely must have it with you, turn it OFF - completely.

Consider that the interview starts the moment you arrive at the company.  While anyone you encounter prior to the actual interview may not have the power to hire you, they may very well have the power to keep you from being hired.  Often your ability to interact effectively with others is being evaluated.  Keep that in mind when dealing with receptionists, secretaries, security personnel, etc.

Speaking Without Talking
Your non-verbal communication is also being evaluated, whether consciously or subconsciously.  Studies have shown that body language accounts for 55% of the force of a response, paralanguage or intonation comprises 38% of the emphasis, while verbal content only provides 7%.  Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake.  Maintain good eye contact and posture which indicates self confidence and honesty.  Nod at appropriate times when the interviewer is talking to convey approval and understanding.  If nervousness causes you to fidget with your hands, hold a pen or rest your arm on the chair.  Don’t cross your arms, which can be interpreted as a lack of openness or fear.  Don’t lean back in the chair which can indicate lack of interest or arrogance.  Lean forward a little towards the interviewer to show that you are engaged in the conversation.  Also avoid expressing nervousness by tapping your feet or knees. 

Speak clearly in a relaxed, natural voice.  Your voice should be direct and confident, not loud, pushy or arrogant.  A weak, soft or hesitant response indicates an insecure candidate.  Be conscious of your frequency of throat clearing, “uhs” “ums” or excessive use of a particular word or expression. 

These are some general guidelines concerning interviewing.  In our next newsletter, we’ll be talking about strategies for the actual interview including how to handle difficult questions.

 

Jeff Andrews is the managing partner of Andrews & Associates, an executive search firm specializing exclusively in the state and local tax areas of income, sales use tax and property tax. Jeff has over 20 years experience assisting state and local tax professionals reach their career goals. For more information about the recruiting firm, visit www.andrews-salt.com
© 2009 Andrews & Associates, Inc.  No part of this article may be reproduced in any way without the express consent of Andrews & Associates, Inc.


Andrews & Associates State Tax Career Specialist
1216 E. Kenosha, Suite 170, Broken Arrow, OK 74012
T 918.251.8839 | F 918.254.8799 | www.andrews-salt.com
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