By Janice Burch, Co-founder, Pro Resume Center, LLC
So your resume stood out among the hundreds the potential employer reviewed and they called – excellent. You have an interview lined up next week.
Do you realize it takes most people about seven seconds to make a decision about you – are you friendly or shy, trustworthy, confident, likable or hiding something and further, how well would future co-workers or clients take to you?
The brain begins immediately computing when we meet new people, translating hundreds of perceptions and impressions into decisions that can make or break the tone of a conversation or an interview.
While what you SAY is critical in those first few minutes and beyond, it’s the nonverbal cues we pick up from others that helps shape our decisions and can determine the tone of the conversation to follow.
Studies have shown that nonverbal cues have four more times the weight than verbal interaction. Something to think about right?
Here are some valuable tips to make sure you walk into that interview ready to shine and gain the trust and attention of a future employer:
CHECK YOUR ATTITUDE: Sure maybe the dog chewed on your favorite pair of shoes that morning and some idiot cut you off on the freeway or your significant other just informed you he or she is going to start dating your friend. Yeah, life hands us lemons sometimes, BUT LEAVE YOUR BAGGAGE behind for an interview. Do something healthy to prioritize your thoughts for the day so you can give off a positive vibe to that person you will meet who will determine your worthiness as an employee. Go work out, go for a run or brisk walk, maybe meditate for 30 minutes to get your head in the right place and your body relaxed. Listen to your favorite pump-up music in the car on the way to the interview. Remember, this is YOUR chance to shine so don’t let others or temporary circumstances stand in the way of your success.
STRAIGHTEN UP: Poor posture and slouching makes you look withdrawn, shy and lacking in confidence. Throw those shoulders back and walk with confidence when you get out of your car (never know who’s looking out their office window at that moment), are waiting in the lobby for the interview, sitting in the chair during the interview, when you stand up to shake their hand and thank them for the interview and all the way through to the time you get back into your car. Do not discount the value of good posture in portraying to others your “can-do” attitude.
SMILE: You certainly know how good it feels when you greet someone for the first time and they smile, right? A future employer would much rather interview someone who appears to be genuinely happy. You don’t want to come across as someone who is so serious that the interviewer may find it hard to imagine you bringing a positive vibe to the office and the team. Smile when you say hello, where appropriate during your interview and when you say goodbye. Leave them with a good vibe!
MAKE EYE CONTACT: This indicates interest and engagement. You are interested in what they are saying and want them to know that what you are saying to them is important, as well. Eye contact indicates trustworthiness and openness. Use this tactic to try to maintain eye contact if it is difficult: What color are your interviewer’s eyes and are they both the same hue?
LEAN IN SLIGHTLY: Though posture is important, leaning in slightly during portions of the interview shows your engagement and interest in the person and what they are saying. Leaning back in your chair the whole time gives off an air of indifference and even arrogance and can indicate a larger-than-life ego to a future employer. Remember who’s in the hiring chair.
A FIRM HANDSHAKE: When you greet them for the first time and when you say goodbye and thank them for the interview, don’t discount the power of a firm, but not too tight handshake. This simple act develops immediate rapport and shows respect. Also, please remember to stand up from the lobby chair when the person comes to get you for the interview and before you shake their hand. This shows you understand the importance of manners. It is something an employer notices and takes into consideration when the future position requires client interaction.
Don’t be shy about practicing these tips with a friend or a parent as you prepare for your interview. If you do, you will already be comfortable with this positive body language by the time you actually go for your interview and it will not feel foreign or strained.
The bottom line is to leave the hiring manager with the headline that you WILL be a valuable asset to their company in many ways.
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