If you are called to the interview, you probably are qualified for the job… on paper. Your interview is a test to see if you walk the walk your resume talks.
The First Impression Counts
A common interview mistake people make is underestimating the first five seconds when they meet their interviewer. Those first five seconds are crucial in determining how the rest of the interview will go. The interviewer should see a well-dressed, positive individual with energy, confidence and a handshake that means business. If you aren’t successful in giving a good impression in those first five seconds, the interviewer may write you off immediately and only go through the motions.
Many people enter a room looking around like they are in the wrong place. Others are poorly dressed for the occasion with an outfit that is outdated, wrinkled or simply wrong for an interview setting. Some people look glazed over, tired, disinterested or too low key. Others have a handshake equivalent to holding a wet rag.
Avoid the above interview mistakes. Make a good first impression. When you enter a room, you should stride with confidence. Practice a strong walk that doesn’t stomp, but glides you across the room. Never take baby steps or drag your feet. Always maintain good balance so you don’t trip or teeter. Make sure your posture is straight, and your shoulders are set back.
Presentation & Body Language
The same goes for sitting in a chair. You want to be well-seated in the chair using all of the seat. Lean forward slightly towards the interviewer to maintain good body language and eye contact. Be sure to sit up straight and not slouch. Try not to cross your legs as this throws most people off balance, and can come across as too relaxed. Find a comfortable stance so you aren’t fidgeting or adjusting yourself in the chair.
What You’re Wearing
Your dress should reflect the culture of the company (i.e. are they a conservative financial institution, or a young hip software start-up) but always be professional, clean and well-pressed. An interview mistake people make is wearing casual fabrics like leather, cotton, felt, or velour for their interview outfit. You should avoid these fabrics and any designs that give the impression you are going out clubbing later.
Stay positive during the interview. You want to be perceived as upbeat and easygoing. People mistakenly talk negatively about prior or current places of employment. Avoid that mistake and give your statements a positive spin such as “my previous boss and I had differing management styles” instead of “my previous boss was an idiot and didn’t know what he was doing.”
Practice conversations about previous work history in order to identify any areas needing improvement. Avoid harsh or exaggerated language when you answer interview questions, and substitute with positive, intellectual, and justified statements. For example, don’t say “the product they were making was a piece of junk, so I designed a much better one.” Try instead “the product they were making had some functional challenges, so I used my design expertise to improve the product and the sales jumped 54%.”
Energy is an important aspect to getting hired. Managers want to hire someone who is a go-getter and a hard-worker. How do you appear like a go-getter? Have energy. Having energy means that you are alert, actively listening, and quick to respond. Accomplish this by making sure you are truly awake. Don’t make the mistake of not getting a good night’s sleep before an interview. If needed, have a cup of espresso, and immerse yourself in the conversation. Actively listen by maintaining eye contact, nodding and asking relevant questions.
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To conclude, most interviewers remember only a few key statements from the job interview. Yet, they always remember how they felt about the candidate. That is why the first impression that you give and your body language throughout the interview are so important. A common theme you will see is that practice makes perfect. The more you practice, the better you will become. Don’t make the same mistakes others make. Make your first impression an impressive one.
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