Plan how you want to be perceived during job interviews. The all-important first impressions count heavily. Some of the critical factors are:
1. Physical presence. Dress appropriately for the culture you are entering. Be sure your grooming is immaculate. Assume a posture that is neither too relaxed or sloppy, nor too tense or forward. Express your energy and fitness. Avoid awkward hand poses or seating positions. Avoid excessive jewelry, perfume/cologne, smoking, and gum.
2. Movements and mannerisms. Use your natural gestures; don’t close your hands. Avoid fidgeting, scratching, or fussing with objects such as a pen or glasses. Move around naturally and avoid looking stiff or awkward.
3. Manner of speaking. Make sure you can be heard; be aware of the interviewer’s reaction to your voice. Do not mumble or drop your voice to a whisper toward the end of your sentences. Avoid sing-song or monotone recitations, which will give the impression that you are over-rehearsed. Also, avoid slang and colloquialisms like “Ya know,” as well as grunts, hems and haws, and other verbal sounds.
4. Demeanor. Convey the appropriate amount of enthusiasm, warmth, and sincerity to suit the dynamics of your interviewer. Be positive; avoid negative topics, and don’t vent hostility. Smile!
5. Listening skills. Listen with full concentration and maintain eye contact 90 percent of the time (without staring). Indicate attention and acceptance with nods and smiles. Avoid interrupting; allow silence when thought is needed.
6. Communication skills. Mirror the style and pace of your interviewer. Answer forthrightly and credibly, and stop when you have answered the question; don’t over-elaborate with details and anecdote; don’t ramble. DON’T INTERRUPT. Organize your thoughts with a logical structure. If you don’t know something, say so. Clarify a question if you don’t understand it. Listen before you talk.
7. Interview techniques. Get names and exact titles; exchange business cards. Elicit company or departmental needs early in the interview using open-ended questions. Weave in your strengths and accomplishments as responses to those needs. Respond to doubts or objections positively without being defensive. Keep to your allotted time frames; redirect the interview as needed. Show your knowledge of the interviewer’s company without sounding arrogant. Try to get a commitment for a follow-up interview or a visit to the work scene. Learn if other people might need to see you. Evaluate the impact of the interview when you are leaving. Re-affirm your interest and enthusiasm without sounding desperate.