EXCERPT: 'The Trump Card'

• For men and women, your outfit should be appropriate to the setting. Traditional business environments, such as financial institutions, law firms, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies, call for traditional business attire. But if you're interviewing at a public relations firm with a client roster made up of rappers and artists, a sports jacket and a skinny tie might be more fitting. Lean toward formal. You might feel uncomfortable wearing a suit while you're being interviewed by some guy in jeans and sneakers, but at least he'll know that you're serious about the job.

Turn your nose "off." another "duh!" piece of advice, as long as we're paying attention to looks, but candidates need to think about every aspect of their appearance, including their fragrance. I never like it when someone comes into my office smelling like the perfume aisle at the department store. Smell is subjective, and you don't want your perfume or cologne to overwhelm the person across the table. Avoid it. This caution runs to ambient smells as well. our offices are in midtown Manhattan, and I can't tell you how many times a candidate has come into my office reeking of hot dogs, kebobs, onions, or any of the other grease-inspired smells of New York City street vendors. Steer clear.

Do your homework. Learn everything you can about the company before you sit down for your interview. Know its history, its mission, and its competitors, as well as the names of its CEO and top executives. Be able to recognize the company's top products, services, and accomplishments, as well as its disappointments and missteps. If it's a publicly held company, know where its stock closed the night before your interview. Here again, there are no excuses for being ill prepared. These days, almost every company has a web site, and a Google search will turn up dozens of articles about the business. Read them. Learn how the company is structured, so you can talk knowledgeably about where you might fit into the corporate structure.

Have your answers ready. There are several questions that are asked in the majority of interviews. By preparing for these questions in advance, you will be able to provide the answers that best reflect you, rather than grabbing at the first thing that pops into your mind.

• What skills can you bring to this organization?

• What inspires you about this field/profession?

• What are your short-term and long-term aspirations?

• Can you share a time when you were confronted with a personal or professional crisis and how you handled it?

• What was the last book you read?

• What newspapers or magazines do you read? What web sites do you visit frequently?

• What kinds of things do you like to do when you're not working?

• Can you give an example of a time when you assumed a leadership role?

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