THE BLOG
06/28/2012 06:14 pm ET | Updated Aug 28, 2012

Job Security or Job Insecurity? 10 Interview Secrets

John, a college educated and highly qualified office manager is at the end of his rope. After scouring the local paper and applying for what seems like an endless list of jobs, he has been to over 30 interviews in the past week all without any luck.

Like many people, John maybe a victim of the economy. Working for nearly five years at a technology startup, his employers had to let him go as the money ran out. Unlike his father's generation who, on the average, held the same job for over 20 years, John's generation seems to change jobs on the average every two years. But in this economy finding a job has gotten increasingly more difficult. If you can relate to John, don't fear. There are several things you can do to put you well ahead of the curve.

Here are 10 powerful insider secrets that can help you master the interview and get the job you want:

1. Have the right skill set. Be the best at your job. In over 20 years of hiring employees and running companies there is a universal truth that I have learned. If you are the best at what you do and can prove it, you will never be without a job. No one wants to hire someone who just needs a job. We all want to hire a person who is the best in their field. If you don't have the right skill set, get it and come back.

2. Specialize. No one wants a generalist. I can't tell you how many times I have turned away applicants because they were generalists. No one wants to hire someone who is a jack of all trades, but a master of none.

3. Dress the part. Looks aren't everything, but they account for a lot. This should go without saying, but always dress for the interview. You would think that this is a no-brainer, but I regularly get people in slippers and workout clothes showing up for interviews. It doesn't matter which position you are applying for. The way you look speaks volumes about you and your work. Show that you care. Dress for success. Smelling good but not overbearing makes a difference as well.

4. Be least 10 minutes early for your interview to show that you are punctual, eager and ready to work.

5. Be prepared. Do not "blanket interview". Only go into interviews where you have made yourself familiar with the company, their products or services, and their core values. Have at least 3 fresh copies of your resume ready along with a separate sheet of references that you have vetted well before the interview and whom you know will speak highly of you.

6. Get friendly with the receptionist. More often than not, the person answering the phone is not the decision maker, but they do report directly to the decision maker. In almost all of my companies I would ask the receptionist to evaluate candidates by their waiting room behavior and how they interacted with her. Almost without exception, people who were kind and friendly with the receptionist were also the most successful at their jobs when hired.

7. Never make excuses. Show that you are willing to learn any necessary new skills that you don't currently possess (even if you have to learn these new skills on your own time) but never make excuses for your shortcomings. Excuses show weakness.

8. Smile, nod and say yes a lot. Our brains are tuned to see certain physical gestures as safe and friendly. Smiling a lot makes everyone more comfortable and makes you seem easy going and friendly. Smiling can also trigger biological reactions that make you a bit happier. In turn, you reap the rewards of a positive emotional state. Having a positive attitude can go a long way during the interview process.

9. Be alert and focused. Make sure you have had a light, healthy breakfast and some exercise. Caffeine helps, as do brain health supplements like Excelerol (produced by my company). The key to winning over your potential employer is to be in the optimal mental state. The smarter you feel, the smarter they feel about choosing you to interview. In turn, your chances of landing the job are dramatically increased.

10. Follow up. Call to follow up no more than 48 hours after the interview. Since you have now made friends with the receptionist she will gently remind the big boss that the awesome person from Friday called to follow up and that they should really hire you.