EXCERPT: 'The Trump Card'

Are you agreeable, affable, fun, interesting?

Do you come across as confident, intelligent, capable, curious?

The interview is not just about whether you can do the job but how you might approach it. At some level, you have to think the whether is a foregone conclusion. You wouldn't be having the conversation if you weren't perceived to be qualified. But are you a person this company wants to represent it in a boardroom or in interactions with clients? Will other employees look forward to meeting you in an elevator or by the water cooler? Or will you be a constant drag on their time and energy and patience?

Remember, the person across the table is sizing you up and measuring all these intangibles, so you'd do well to bring the very best aspects of your personality into the room.

Another few words, as long as I'm on it:

Don't be late. This probably falls into the "duh!" category, but you'd be surprised how many people show up five, ten, even thirty minutes late to a job interview. It's unforgivable, really. I've heard all sorts of excuses, and they're just that—excuses. It goes back to the Labor Day dry run I made to the Forest City Ratner offices in Brooklyn. If your interview is at three in the afternoon and you think it will take you a little over an hour to get to the location, leave at one. Give yourself a cushion. You don't want to be stuck in traffic or sitting on a stalled train fifteen minutes before your interview. If you manage to arrive just under the wire, you'll look frazzled—not the best way to start such an important meeting. A nice fringe benefit to this strategy is that arriving early sends a powerful signal that you're organized and grateful for the opportunity, traits every employer seeks in a young hire. Plus, you can use the extra time to get settled. Use the restroom and make sure your hair is combed and your shirt hasn't come untucked. Text a friend. Take a walk around the block and listen to some mellow music on your iPod. Do whatever you can to steady your nerves without drawing any unwanted attention to yourself from potential coworkers.

Keep your résumé handy. It's not enough to have it in your bag or tucked away in a folder. I not-so-secretly hate it when I ask a candidate for a résumé and then have to wait thirty seconds while he or she rummages around in a bag for it. I always think, come on, it can't be a surprise to you that I'm asking for your résumé. It's the one certainty in this whole transaction. If you have only five minutes of someone's time, don't waste one-tenth of it on an unnecessary search. If your bag is a mess and you think there's a chance you might have trouble locating your résumé, place it in a separate 9-×-12-inch envelope beforehand— that way, when you're asked, you'll be able to produce the document in a smooth, confident manner. And whatever you do, don't fold your résumé or crinkle it in any way. Long after your interview has concluded, it'll be the one prompt your interviewer has to remind her of your meeting. Make sure it's a crisp, clean, professional-looking copy that nicely supports the positive impression you hoped to make.

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