Getting the job of your dreams requires a job search and interview strategy. Once you decide on the job you want, the first step is to get your resume seen by the recruiter. But that is only the first step.

How do you make sure that you get a face-to-face interview once the recruiter calls you? What can you do to make sure that your first interview leads to a second? And, what questions can you ask to find out if the company is one at which you will be happy and successful?

Here are a few interview tips that may help you to put your best foot forward and to seal the deal once your fantastic resume gets you in the door!

Be friendly.
This seems so simple and the extroverts of the world may not need this reminder. However, anyone who is shy, reserved, or introverted, should remember that making eye contact and being courteous and friendly to everyone you meet during the interview process will help your candidacy. From the security guard at the entrance of the building to the recruiter with whom you interview, each of the people you come in contact with may have input with the hiring manager. So smile and be friendly and courteous when you interview because good social graces can go a long way toward helping you land the job you want.

Listen before you speak.
Do you ever know the answer to a question before the recruiter is even finished asking it? If so, an interview is not a good time to show that you can anticipate someone else’s next words. One thing that recruiters almost always assess is your ability to listen carefully and think before you speak. So, when an interviewer is speaking you should listen carefully, then take a deep breath and carefully formulate your answer. You don’t get points in an interview for speed but you do get points for thoughtful, well articulated answers.

Be positive.
Are you angry that you were laid off from your last job or that you had a personality conflict with your former boss? If so, don’t let it show during an interview. It doesn’t matter if you were right and your former employer was wrong, you don’t want the recruiter to get the impression that you could be a difficult employee. Find a way to answer honestly but describe situations in a positive light.

Be prepared.
Before you interview do your homework on the company. Almost every company has a website and publicly traded companies have annual reports that are available upon request. In addition to impressing your future employer you may find out some important information that can help you make employment decisions. For example, information in the annual report can tell you about the company’s financial situation. Is it a healthy company or has it reported losses for the past few years? Is the industry a healthy and growing one or is it in a slow decline? Is the corporate culture one that seems to value diversity? Doing internet research on the company and its competitors can tell you this information and much more. In addition, the preparation you do before the interview may help you to think of some questions that you can ask the interviewer. Remember that an interview is a two way street; you want to impress the interviewer but you also want to find out if this is a company that you would like to work for.

Mind your handshake.
A handshake should be firm but not so firm that it crushes the other person’s hand. A handshake that is either bone crushing or limp sends the person with whom you are meeting a message about you. Make sure that your handshake is firm and that it sends a message that you are confident but not overbearing.

Wear appropriate clothing that fits you.
You should always be neat and well-groomed. Appropriate clothing is in the eye of the beholder. It’s good to dress the way you think the interviewer will want you to dress but it’s also good to be yourself. If they wear suits and you despise suits, it’s probably best to punt on the interview and look for a job at a place where you’ll feel at home. If fashion isn’t your strength, visit a department store and ask for advice and, before the interview, have a trusted friend inspect you to avoid an avoidable fashion faux pas.

This article was written by Liz Handlin, CEO, Ultimate Resumes. Get more information and useful resources at