The national unemployment rate in the US is 9.8%. In a neighboring state, the local rate is over 11%. You are going to need every competitive advantage to get a job in this economy. Let's start with the in-person interview.
I have heard different opinions on what to wear to an interview. If you are a guy, I strongly recommend wearing a suit and tie. I don't care if you are going in to be the french fry guy at McDonald's. Put on that suit.
A recruiter is out to get as many people hired, and to get you to accept the lowest offer. You should focuses on getting job details from actual employees of the company who will hire you. Bypass the recruiter by getting business cards from the people you talk with during your interview.
When you complete an interview, you should never accept a job offer on the spot. Give it some time. Everything about the offer is usually negotiable. Why not get a couple more thousand in salary? As long as you are respectful and reasonable during negotiations, they will not bar you from getting the job once they offer it to you.
A Little Bit of Crypto - I have been trying to figure out to "collision resistant" some of these standard hash functions are. It is a tough concept to get my head around. I figure...