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For many people the job interview can be a terrifying, intimating experience.

Harvey Mackay, the man who wrote the best seller, "Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," suggests that applicants prepare for the job interview the way President Clinton prepares for questions at a nationally televised press conference.

Here last week promoting his newest book "Sharkproof," Mackay advised job seekers to get a couple of friends to shoot typical job interview questions at them. The practice, he believes, will make them better prepared and more confident during an actual interview. Incidently, he advises: "Don't ask your wife to be one of the questioners."

"Sharkproof," is the newest best-selling book on how to get a job. Writing such books has become an industry in itself, but Mackay's book is punchy and practical and a fast and entertaining read. Besides repeating such advice as using your friends and acquaintances to help you get hired and learn all about the company you want to hire you, he suggests a strategy used by President Bush as he was making his way up the political ladder.

Don't stop with writing a note to the interviewer to thank him or her for their time, he advises. Deliver the note in person the next day and write notes to the receptionist or friendly secretary with whom you may have chatted.

If you're employed now, keep a list of everyone you meet. You may need their help later.

Mackay is one of Minneapolis's biggest boosters. He was instrumental in getting a dome stadium built in his city, getting Lou Holtz to coach the University of Minnesota football team before he moved on to Notre Dame and in bringing the 1992 Super Bowl to Minneapolis. Bills fans would like to forget that game, but Mackay knows how to win.

The businessman-author is chairman of the Mackay Envelope Corp. in Minnesota which has 375 employees. That's not a giant firm, but he says smaller firms are more likely to have jobs than today's troubled corporate giants. He advises job seekers to think small.

He estimated that there are some 35,000 small businesses in the Niagara Frontier. Since they are unlikely to have a long list of laid-off employees and fewer job applicants than big companies like Ford and General Motors, chances for hiring are better, he maintains.

Job-finding books are best sellers these days because there are not enough well-paying jobs for the number of qualified applicants. "Sharkproof" isn't going to create any jobs. But it can help the job-seeker to swim faster than the other poor fish.

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