- Make a Lasting Impression for Interview Success
Getting your resume right so that you are selected for an interview is hard work, but it is just the first step to success. In fact, once you are shortlisted, the tough work really begins. Preparing for an interview is about much more than researching the organisation and practising your answers. You and even your interviewers may not be aware of it. However, the first few moments and your body language throughout the interview could mean the difference between success and failure. Here, we take a look at how you can make sure that your first impression is always a great one.
Choosing an outfit for an interview very much depends on the job that you are applying for. In fact, the saying “dress for the job you want” is one to heed. Unless you are applying for a very creative job, research indicates that you should leave bright colours, such as yellow and red, in the wardrobe and opt for more sedate blues, greys and blacks. Each colour gives a subliminal message about the wearer: black implies glamour and professionalism, grey says that you possess logic and independence, and white tells your interviewer that you are organised. Brighter colours indicate creativity, but can also imply that you are less reliable, so leave the orange shirt until you get the job!
First impressions really do count and a poor handshake can be a deal breaker. It may seem silly, but getting a bit of handshake practice in beforehand can help. If you’re hot and nervous, discreetly wipe your hands before you go in for a shake. You want to avoid a weak handshake, as that infers indecisiveness; equally, you don’t want to break your interviewers’ fingers! Opt for something between limp fish and knuckle breaker: a firm, friendly handshake, with direct eye-contact, will indicate confidence and professionalism and win them over in the first couple of minutes.
Research shows say that how you present yourself in the first few moments before the interview begins is as important to your success as your performance in the interview itself. In fact, one set of research states that the first 12 words you utter make all the difference. Don’t go over the top, but accompany your well-rehearsed handshake with confident, relaxed small talk about anything appropriate, such as the weather or your journey there. As you walk to the interview room, comment on a positive, striking element of the company’s building or location. Remember to hold your head high and shoulders straight as you walk, to demonstrate how well you fit into the surroundings.
To put it simply, eye contact is everything. It shows that you can relate and communicate well, and that you are confident in your own abilities. In fact, eye contact throughout your interview is considered by many employers as the most important thing you can do. If you avert your gaze during a question, it shows that you are feeling intimidated, or that you are struggling to answer the question honestly. So, sit up straight, look them in the eye, and sell yourself!
Thinking about your body language when you are already feeling nervous can be tough. However, fiddling with your hair, touching your nose or mouth, can indicate that you are over-extending the truth (or downright lying). Try not to slouch or fidget; sit up straight but relaxed and try to keep your hands still. Folding your arms across your chest is a no-no, but holding your hands in your lap is a relaxed position that will also stop you from fidgeting too much!
The best way to make sure that you remain relaxed and confident throughout the interview process is to think of it as great experience. Approach every interview fully prepared, and give it your best shot: the worst thing that can happen is that you will improve your interview skills in preparation for the job of your dreams.