This includes bad-mouthing former bosses, as well as apologizing for the choices you've made. "If I had known then that it would be so hard to get back into the workplace, I never would have taken time out for my kids." If you are feeling any panic or desperation, hide it. The mortgage is overdue, you're going through a divorce, you've got child-care or elder-care issues; we all have personal challenges, but the interview is not the place to share this kind of baggage. Keep it to yourself. Don't wear your heart on your sleeve.
Now is the moment to really sell yourself and you can do that not just by answering questions but also by asking smart questions. Some questions you should ask include: Why is this position vacant? Maybe someone was promoted from within -- a good sign. Maybe there's high turnover. You don't want to discover on Day One that you're the sixth person in three months to sit at that desk. Another key question: What's the biggest challenge (or goal) facing this department and how do you plan to tackle it? Not only do these questions make you appear curious and engaged, they offer good insights to what you might be stepping into.
This means don't pick your nails or flip your hair, which convey a lack of confidence. Turn off the cell phone and pager. Sit still; don't tap your feet or sway in your seat. Make strong eye contact. Take your time answering questions, even if it means pausing for a few seconds to collect your thoughts before responding.
It's hard to get someone on the phone, so while you are still face-to-face in the interview, don't leave without determining the next steps. Ask directly: What are the next steps? Will I be expected to meet with other people? How soon do you expect to bring someone on board? If I don't hear from you, what's the best method for me to follow up with you? The responses help manage your own time frame and expectations and enable you to follow up effectively to ideally land the job.
Tory Johnson is the workplace contributor on "Good Morning America" and the CEO of Women for Hire. Connect with her online at www.womenforhire.com.