Today you’re going to learn how to make a good job interview impression. A job interview is a form of negotiation. You want this job, just like all the other people who applied for it. At the same time, a company only needs one person. It makes it a high stakes situation with many players. You want the best possible offer with the highest salary and perks.
A firm wants the best candidate that can do the job for the lowest salary and someone who is unlikely to leave a few months down the line. There are two sides with somehow conflicting interests but they have to meet in the middle to reach an agreement. That makes an interview a challenging negotiation exercise for both parties where not only your skill set and experience play a part but also your nonverbal cues and body language.
Initial impressions play a big role in a successful job interview. Your body language and nonverbal clues influence recruiters regardless of the stage of an interview process and its structure. If you try to win it, pay attention to what your message is.
First stage interviews with a recruiter, second stage interview with a manager, even phone screen interviews, are all important phases where making the right impression can make it or break it. It is easy to set the tone for a good and fruitful interview. It involves building rapport with a recruiter, making a good first impression, wearing an appropriate professional outfit, being well groomed, behaving politely to all people you come across in a building and showing good manners.
A good initial impression, your body language, and personal appearance do influence people. Specifically, they have an effect on how a recruiter judges you throughout a job interview. Those nonverbal clues can impact the final score you’ll get. Sometimes your physical appearance and initial impressions make more impact on interview score than the professional factors.
The last point is valid especially when an interview is brief. It can work to your advantage if your external signs tick all the boxes but it can work the opposite way, too. Bad first impression, poor personal appearance, and inappropriate body language might outweigh all the positive aspects of your resume. Overall, a well-rounded candidate not only has a well-polished resume and ability to prove everything that is in it but also looks the part.
Not everyone performs well on job interviews due to lack of socials skills. If you want to be an effective communicator and use nonverbal clues and body language well and at the same time spot them in others, you need to be aware of them. Social skills is not a skill everyone excels at. Showing an accurate view of yourself to others is a skill this short article is about.
How To Make a Good Job Interview Impression
The First Impression And Nonverbal Cues
Do you want to be portrayed as a person with good interpersonal skills? Show that by smiling and maintaining eye contact (but don’t stare). Speak loudly and in a confident manner, but don’t scream. When you look in the eyes of recruiters you show you are listening to them. That tells them you’re outgoing.
Speak in a way that the words coming out of your mouth can be clearly heard. Don’t mumble and don’t stammer. Stop swallowing saliva after your every sentence unless you suffer from illness with such symptoms. After you said something important, pause. A pause will emphasize your point. It’ll make it sound well.
Have you ever spoken with someone who didn’t care what you’re saying? How did that feel? But don’t worry, here’s a little tip. Show enthusiasm about the job you applied for and about the company you’re interviewing with. No recruiter wants to speak for 30 minutes with someone who’d rather be somewhere else. No HR person wants to speak with a candidate who looks like he was forced to come to an interview room. An energetic candidate will beat a ‘sleepy head’ every time.
One way to show your excitement about the job is to make your voice engaging when you talk about your professional experiences and how they complement the position you want. Research company’s history and current developments and talk about them with good energy. Those things will make you look prepared for an interview and most importantly for the job you want. Those things will give you confidence that will show throughout a job interview.
Recruiters have to make a good hiring decision. They want to give a job offer to someone who is mentally strong to work a specific job. They want someone whose personality promises good professional results. But how will they know if you are the right candidate, you might wonder?
Clues are visible just in front of them – on your face. The way you speak, the language you use and what you display with your body will give them solid hints about your employability and fit. You would be surprised how many conscious and subconscious sings you give through your facial expressions during a conversation. Especially if you are under stress.
The way you speak matters, too. The way you form your answers and put sentences together will show issues that cannot be easily described in your resume. Same goes with the language you use. Is it overly formal or slightly too casual? Want to know what type of language to use? Research company’s culture.
Why it is important? Because a technology start-up, for example, might have a different culture regarding communication than a legal firm. Adjust the way you speak and present yourself based on what your future work environment expects.
Would you like to make yourself likable and ace your interview in the process? Firstly, smile. Generally speaking, smiling is advised, from time to time. However, you have to be careful when and how you smile. Smiling sarcastically or out of frustration will produce a different effect than smiling when recruiter mentions something genuinely positive or even funny.
Secondly, smiling while seeing an interviewer for the first time is a good form of nonverbal behavior. Keep your eye movement to a minimum. Look recruiter in the eyes and not around the room like you’re looking for help. Finally, smiling is important but has to be done in the right moments. And just like with everything else in life, don’t overdo it. A recruiter might not register those little social cues but they might leave positive impressions subconsciously anyway.
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t show your disgust or anger at an interview. It is guaranteed that a recruiter will make a note about it and it will put some large negative weight on your interview score.
When you are aware of all those non-verbal communication cues use them to your advantage to get your point across even further. When you talk, pay attention to facial expressions of an interviewer. Try to guesstimate whether they like what they are hearing from you or not. Then adjust your verbal responses accordingly.
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Nonverbal Communication – Gestures And Posture
Using a positive body language at an interview has got its advantages. Gestures emphasize your answers, modify them, and strengthen your message. Even when you sit at the other side of a table you can still make them work. Keep your hands on the table instead of under it. Make your hands visible, make them do the work at enhancing your speech. Don’t make the wrong impression about yourself by sitting still and fiddling with your fingers. A conversation with a recruiter at a job interview is not the time to be shy.
There are some non-verbal behaviors that should be absent from a job interview. They don’t add much but could have the opposite effect on a recruiter. For example, don’t scratch or touch your body during your interview. Don’t do that before interview either especially when you wait at a reception area.
It makes you look nervous and a receptionist might say it to your interviewer later. Don’t sway in your chair, because it won’t give a good impression of you. Chances are you’ll have few objects in front of you during an interview, such as a smartphone, piece of paper, pen, and car keys.
Don’t play with them. Focus on the conversation instead. The same story goes for clothing and hair – don’t adjust them during an interview, do that beforehand. Use a company’s bathroom or at least a mirror at a reception to make sure you look well. Don’t make those tiny mistakes and be aware of what your body language says.
A recruiter wants to hire a new employee who is lively and energetic. They don’t want someone who sits in an interview room like a mummy. One way to show yourself from the good side and make a good impact on your presentation are hand gestures. By using your hands you can show dimensions of an object.
You can show the location of an item by pointing at it. Hand gestures help you to communicate better with a recruiter and relieve some stress and nervousness in the process. And you are not playing with your fingers nervously under a table.
Earlier I talked about avoiding touching your body during a job interview. The reason you do that subconsciously is that self-touching happens when you think intensely about something. To help to reduce that cognitive overload your hand reaches to your face or scratches your neck. You can use that knowledge outside an interview room – in your daily life.
If someone you are speaking with touches his face or arm it means they are thinking hard what to say. A good thing about this article is that the majority of tips you’ll pick up from it can be applied not only in a professional environment but in your daily life, too.
Verbal Communication And How To Get Out Of Trouble
One quality high-performing individuals share is they avoid long pauses and filler words. If you want to appear to a recruiter as one try to say your entire answer in one go. At the same time don’t talk overly fast and try to avoid sounding like a text-to-speech software. Filler words are completely unnecessary, too.
Both those elements of speech – long pauses and filler words – are all signs of hesitation, nervousness and show a lack of confidence. If you want to appear as an assertive and positive communicator, avoid them.
Instead of a long pause or a filler word, ask a question. Ask a recruiter a question that follows up what you’ve just said or ask about something different. When an interviewer is answering, you get the time to gather your thoughts, compose yourself and face a new question with new energy. Besides, by asking questions you’ll turn your interview into an actual conversation rather than a one-way interrogation.
You’ll have a problem with communicating your skills when confusion gets in a way. One proven technique to make you more confident and avoid uncertainty is to prepare what to say. Have one solid example for every point you want to make about yourself. Preparing one example of how a specific skill makes you a good candidate will take away any confusion and any pauses from your answers.
Interestingly, you get confused not only when you have no solid examples but also when you have many mediocre ones and you don’t know which one to give. Besides, if you compliment your every relevant skill with a good example, you’ll be ahead of the candidates who didn’t do their homework.
Good Candidate – Bad Candidate
Social interactions at a job interview get improved by social signals. They provide meaning to the way you interact with others. Your body language and nonverbal cues can boost what you say.
For example, when you talk about what makes you happy, smiling genuinely will boost that in the eyes of a recruiter. But social signals can also create confusion. For instance, when you talk about something you did in a previous job that makes you proud but your facial expression shows sadness and doesn’t convey the meaning of your words.
Social signals are a powerful way to make a good impression at an interview and a way to get your message across effectively. They add to a way you conduct interactions with others so use them without apologizing to anybody. They up your strengths. At the same time, they have to correlate with what you are saying.
Detecting nonverbal cues at a job interview is subjective. Some people can spot certain clues that others can’t. Reading people’s minds and body language isn’t easy. Even recruiters who went through a training on social signals might get them wrong or don’t spot them at all. Even top candidates with a confident posture should keep that in mind.
If you want to get your cues spotted, show them multiple times clearly so they don’t get mistaken for something else.
Confidence Is Key
One element of nonverbal expressions that can get you in trouble are mannerisms. Mannerisms correlate with hesitation so if you want to appear confident in a job interview, don’t use them. They won’t impress an HR person. A recruiter might not know the science behind mannerisms but might pick those clues subconsciously. And when she does she’ll treat them what they are – your lack of confidence.
You could be even misunderstood. Mannerisms could be a sign of you hiding something or not saying entire truth about it.
All those unnecessary gestures are distracting to a recruiter, too. She has to follow the movements of your arms or hands but doesn’t spot any value in them. Her experiences from your answers go down. So, use those gestures sparingly or don’t use them at all. They could be holding you back. Improve your social interactions by learning how to gesticulate and when.
One thing all those mannerisms show is that you are talking about a topic you are not familiar with. It shows that you have to do a lot of thinking before you say something. Watch out for those because they could give a hint to a recruiter that something is off. Prepare your answers to most frequently asked questions before your interview and prepare yourself mentally, too.
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Instant Nonverbal Cues
Knowing what unspoken signals mean gives you an advantage. Observing facial expressions lets you see what real intentions of other people are. This point can be compared to what I said earlier. If your body language and micro-expressions don’t match what you say then it confuses a recruiter. A job interview is relatively short, meaning there is no room for mistakes in this regard.
Our body language and facial expressions change because of what we say. Nonverbal cues, our posture, and gestures also change in response to what the other person is saying. Take advantage of that at your next job interview. If you said something interesting then you will most likely notice that on a recruiter’s face. She’ll nod, maybe even smile or ask you a follow-up question.
The opposite holds true, too. If a recruiter didn’t like what you just said, you’ll spot that fast. What to do then? Change the subject and move on. Or ask a recruiter a question to buy yourself some time to gather your thoughts.
The same nonverbal cue can be understood differently depending on a social situation. If your face shows disgust when you hear something bad at a family dinner table then nobody might care. Now imagine a situation at a job interview when a recruiter tells you the salary offered and it is way too low for you.
If you show the same disgust now, you’ll make a bad impression and getting low interview score is on the cards. The takeaway point is your body language and micro-expressions shouldn’t reveal your disinterest or any other negative emotions. Control them and keep them to yourself.
Recruiters can make impressions of candidates nearly instantly. The first thing they look at is your personal appearance, then nonverbal signs and body language. They start thinking about your fit and employability before you even start to speak. But there is a difference between getting an impression of someone and making a correct impression of someone.
Beware of that and at the same time take advantage of this when you’ve got a job interview lined up. Put an appropriate attire on, make sure
it’s clean and looks fresh. Elements like a dusty jacket and unironed shirt could be taken by recruiter subconsciously as a red flag, especially if a job you applied for requires a professional look and frequent face to face contact with people. On one side, you might think everything with your personal appearance is correct. On the other, a recruiter might have a different opinion. The problem is they might not mention that to you.
Facial expressions play a big part in how interviewers perceive you. Recruiters can get an impression of how attractive, intelligent or trustworthy you are just by looking at your face.
A job interview is a conversation where your nonverbal expressions and body language can mean a lot without you saying a word. For instance, if you’re listening to a recruiter and don’t find what she’s saying particularly interesting, at least show interest and nod from time to time. But don’t look away or glance at your smartphone.
Even moments waiting at a reception area are important. When waiting at a business’s lobby read something you find on a table – an industry magazine, business pages of a newspaper or a report. It will show yourself looking focused. Avoid doing things that indicate your lack of confidence.
Don’t check your social media accounts before an interview or other websites that could distract you from an interview. And if you think that a receptionist doesn’t care what you’re doing or saying, think again.
Research shows that attractive people produce more positive first impressions. But don’t let that bother you too much. You can make a good impression at a job interview, and even before it, just by using the correct body language and nonverbal clues. Not only facial expressions give away ideas about your personality.
The right posture, gestures, your use of space can compliment your professional experiences and skills. Walk and sit straight without overdoing it. Using a power pose can prove beneficial sometimes, too.
Learn A Receptionist’s Name
Job interviews conducted through Skype are getting more and more popular. Your body is not fully visible on a laptop screen but don’t discount a role first impressions play in them. Recruiters can still see your attire, facial expressions and some of your body language. There are a lot of personality traits and nonverbal cues that can be seen on people faces through a computer screen.
Even if you talk to a recruiter through a regular phone your posture still influences the way you speak and what you say. If you browse the internet on your laptop or search for something in your resume looking, it prevents you from listening what recruiter is saying and doesn’t give you a chance to give full believable answers.
On the other hand, if you sit in your chair in a super confident power pose with your legs spread out, that kind of attitude will be heard on the other end of a line. A skilled interviewer will pick up many hidden messages even after a short phone screen conversation.
Being competent might not be enough to ace an interview. Try to LOOK competent. If you speak with confidence and your face looks like you know your stuff then you are halfway through.
But imagine a situation when you give a good answer to a question but your facial expression says: ‘I’m not totally sure, could be wrong on this one’. What is recruiter going to think about it? Exactly. Your nonverbal clues and body language need to match what you say. If not, it can impact your hiring chances in a bad way.
Impressions are subjective. One recruiter can get a different impression of you as a candidate than the other HR person sitting in the same room. Some of your nonverbal cues can be considered positive by one person but the other person might think of them in a negative way.
Your body language can send different messages to different people, too. A confident pose, using a lot of table space might impress one interviewer but the other might have mixed feelings about it. All of that doesn’t mean you have to be super cautious about that. A job interview is a high stakes situation.
Most likely you will have only one chance to impress a recruiter – think of your strengths, talk about them and boost your message with the right body language and nonverbal expressions. They are your secret weapon.
There is something that sends a recruiter a hidden message without you needing to say anything. Your clothing. Your outfit plays a big role in how people interpret who you are.
On one hand, it shouldn’t be like that because your qualifications and experience should be the most important qualities looked at in hiring decisions. But in a real world people, recruiters among them, do look at your clothing whether you like it or not. So make sure you dress appropriately.
If you are unsure what the dress code in a company is correct, just ask a recruiter you are dealing with. Couple that with a confident body language and clear nonverbal clues and your confidence at a job interview should get sky high.