Okay, we have all been there. You are interviewing for the job of a lifetime and want to make sure that you leave a lasting impression during your interview, that is good. So how do you go about it?
Studies show that interviewers usually make up their minds about an applicant within the first few seconds of starting the interview, and can be put off by any number of things. For instance, the applicants choice of clothing, hair style, body language or manner of speaking.
Research by the Harvard Business School, shows that on meeting someone for the first time, we form two distinct impressions, which make up between 80 and 90 percent of our first impression. So for instance, the interviewer is asking themselves; “Is this applicant trustworthy?” and “Is this applicant competent?”
Below we look at the ways that you can ensure you get off to the right start, by making a positive and lasting impression.
Since you are relying on your image and communication to answer the two main points above, it is crucial that you take into account even the smallest detail. However, remember it is an ongoing process to evaluate the impact of your appearance on others. So, you should periodically take into account; your attire, your grooming, body language and method of speech.
Asking the Right Questions
When evaluating your appearances consider the following:
- How do you think others will perceive you?
- How can your image affect others perception and opinion of you?
- How can you project trustworthiness and honesty?
- How can you inspire confidence in your skills and abilities?
- How can your image show that you are personable?
- How will your image present you with new career opportunities?
- Does your image enhance your status or disadvantage it?
Whilst it can be difficult to acknowledge faults, it is important that you be honest about what you want to achieve and whether you image is harming it, or enhancing it.
What Changes Can You Make?
Dress: This is the easy one, if budget allows. Consider, if your clothes project the right image for the role you are looking to achieve. For example, “Is this an executive or a creative role?” or “Will you be client facing, or looking to lead teams?”
Whatever the answer, you need to ensure that you dress appropriately and make changes to your wardrobe and hairstyle, so that you can obtain the overall look.
Communication: This might be slightly harder, as often you are unaware of how you communicate with others. We would recommend asking a friend to role-play with you, and where possible video the sessions so that you can play them back.
You should be looking to achieve confident, positive body language and good communication. You need to speak clearly, professionally and at a pace where each word can be understood. Also consider, how you shake hands, your posture, do you defensively cross your arms when responding to questions?
Try practice shaking hands, keeping the shake firm, but not so firm that you are endanger of breaking a few fingers. Make sure that body language remains open throughout the interview, that you show you are listening, and maintain a good level of eye contact with all persons taking part in the interview.
Attitude: It is amazing how many people are so caught up in nerves, or feeling harassed after a problematic commute that they forget to smile. Obviously, allowing yourself ample time to arrive at your destination, will give you the chance to focus, but more importantly never underestimate the power of a ‘smile’.