Congratulations! You’ve been invited to interview at a dream job. So now the preparation to shine begins, The focus when preparing for an interview is normally on the difficult questions you may face and the professional yet friendly and thorough answers you will provide. However, before you even start answering questions you will be making a first impression. What does yours say about you?
According to research initial impressions are made in the first seven seconds of meeting someone. That’s no time at all to get it right. But, there are some easy tips to help show interviewers you could be the perfect person to join the team. And they start from as soon as the door opens.
Smile and Relax
Firstly, make sure you smile. This may sound both obvious and simple. However, when nerves are at their peak and the last ten minutes wait is spent going through perfect answers in your head, a smile could be the last thing on your mind. As it approaches the time of interview take some deep breaths and try to relax as much as possible. An interviewer could be intimidated by a manic grin. Therefore, a natural smile as the interviewer opens the door can actually decrease harmful stress hormones according to many studies. Plus it makes a positive, friendly first impression.
As you enter the room and are introduced to the people conducting the interview, there are a couple of things to consider. It is likely the people in the room will be introduced to you by name. It’s a great way to break the tension, but also helps you to remember names, It shows that you listen which is a great start to any interview.
Here’s a top tip to stand out – if one of the interview team stands and greets you with “I’m Jane.” try responding with “Hi, I’m Kirsty. It’s good to meet you, Jane.”. We used to say that this was often the time for a handshake, but since covid, this may have changed. Be respectful to your interviewers personal preferences. However, if a hand-shake is on the cards, it can be an opportunity to strengthen the good impression you are making. It’s been said before, but with good reason, the best way to show confidence is a firm handshake but not too tight. Try it out with someone you trust beforehand.
Body language is known to be vitally important in the impact we have on other people. This can be as simple as making eye contact as you talk to people. Looking at someone as you, or they, talk shows interest in the conversation and conveys confidence. A useful facet of body language and psychology for the interview scenario is the mirroring effect. There is a neuron in the brain, which affects the body when recognising faces and different facial expressions. This neuron causes mirroring, which is when you smile in response to someone else smiling. This can work both ways.
Therefore, if you can note the body language of an interviewer and copy elements of it, it sent a non-verbal message that you feel what they feel and have something in common. This means smiling in response to a smile or crossing your legs in a similar way, not exactly copying an interviewer’s exact pose but changing it as they do. After a little practice, this will become very natural.
Finally, beyond all the non-verbal tips, it is also vital to ensure you speak clearly. It is tempting to try and say everything as quickly as possible so you don’t forget it. But, try to talk slightly slower and more calmly than may feel natural. It will help you to appear confident and knowledgable. Good luck!