Seven tips for making an impressive first impression
The old saying that you never get a second chance to make a first impression holds true, especially in the case of job interviews. After all the preparation and hard work it took to land the interview, you'll want to go in with your best foot forward.
Make sure you have your bases covered in these seven critical areas:
Help the interviewer see you in the job by dressing appropriately for the culture of the organization and the position you're applying for. When in doubt, dress on the conservative side.
During the interview, assume a posture that is neither
too relaxed and sloppy, nor tense or forward. Do not chew gum.
Movements and mannerisms.
Use natural gestures. No matter how nervous you
are, don't clench your fists. Avoid fidgeting, scratching or playing with a
pen, your glasses or the change in your pocket. Steer clear of movements that
invade the interviewer's personal space, and try not to appear stiff or awkward.
Manner of speaking.
To make sure the interviewer can hear you, pay attention
to his or her reaction to your voice. Don't mumble or drop your voice to a whisper
towards the end of your sentences. Avoid using a sing-song or monotone voice,
as these tones will give the impression that you are over-rehearsed. Also, try
to avoid slang and colloquialisms such as "you know."
Convey the appropriate amount of enthusiasm, warmth and sincerity to suit the dynamics of your interviewer. Be positive, avoid negative topics and don't vent hostility. Remember to smile.
Listen with full concentration and maintain eye contact 90% of the time without staring. Indicate attention and agreement with nods and smiles, avoid interrupting and allow silence for thought and reflection.
Mirror the style and pace of your interviewer. Give direct and credible answers but stop once you have answered the question. Don't over-elaborate with details or anecdotes, and try not to ramble or interrupt. If you don't know something, say so. Clarify a question if you don't understand it. Listen before you talk, and think before you speak.
Collect business cards from the people you meet to get names and exact titles. Elicit company or departmental needs early in the interview using open-ended questions. Weave in your strengths and accomplishments in response to those needs. Respond to doubts or objections positively without being defensive.
Ken Kneisel is is Senior Vice President for DBM, a worldwide firm that provides strategic human resource solutions in employee selection, development, retention and transition. DBM works with organizations to help them manage the human resource challenges that go hand-in-hand with today's business cycles and volatile markets. Visit DBM.
Copyright (2002) DBM, Inc. Printed by permission.