4 easy-to-employ tactics to ace an employment interview
A common adage I was raised with was “first impressions are everything” – and when it comes to employment interviews, they certainly are. The way in which you initially come across will make an interviewer's opinion of you nearly indelible in their mind.
Although it is possible to correct any negative assessment someone may have of you, it's obviously far more prudent in a professional setting to garner a positive perception early on. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to do that.
1. Always Appear Presentable
This may seem like the most obvious tip, but in an increasingly casual culture I strongly advise dressing up when meeting your potential employer. This doesn't mean you always have to be clad in a full three-piece silk suit or a designer blouse and skirt. However, to be immediately interpreted as someone to be respected and command attention, dress in a fitted, color-coordinated ensemble.
For specific apparel ideas, I'd recommend checking out Jeff Haden's article over on the subject.
2. Make Eye Contact
Eye contact in humans is a means of establishing trust. This is why the whites of our eyes are far more prominent compared to other animals since they allow an individual to determine the direction of someone's gaze. Consequently, evading eye contact sets off immediate alarm bells. Even if only on a subconscious level, a prospective employer will notice if you're “shifty-eyed,” which in turn likely cause them to develop a sense of distrust towards you.
That said, just don't overdo keeping someone's gaze.
According to body language expert Carol Kinsey Goldman, maintaining eye contact without breaking off at all can come off as rude and even hostile.
3. Be Forward
And I literally mean bring your body forward when conversing with an interviewer. Obviously, you shouldn't be poised to topple over them – however, facing someone head on and leaning in while talking suggests genuine interest and open-mindedness towards that person.
Keep your hands forward and relaxed, not hidden behind your back or folded in on your chest. Not only will adopting the latter pose suggest deceit or potential aggression, but by keeping your hands visible they'll be free to accept a firm handshake or to receive something.
4. Act Affably
When first making acquaintances, no one likes a person who is cold and emotionally distant, even if you are by nature introverted or reserved. Instead, be sure to smile, externalize a sense of delight, and take turns leading the conversation with your interviewer.
Furthermore, people absolutely love hearing their own names, so I advise using your interviewer's moniker as often as possible when appropriate. Not only does calling someone by their name provide clarity in a conversation as to who specifically is being referred to, but using someone's handle adds a level of interpersonal connection.