First impressions are important. And there is no place that they are more important than in the job interview. A smile and a handshake can make the difference between walking out with the job, or walking away with your tail between your legs.

Presenting yourself for a job interview

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It takes just seven seconds from meeting somebody to form an opinion on them. With such a small window to impress, and so much at stake, it’s important to know how to make that winning first impression. Read about the things interviewers notice first at money.usnews.com/money/careers/slideshows/the-7-things-interviewers-notice-first/1

The handshake

A simple handshake can instantly portray confidence, politeness and professionalism. It says ‘I’m cooperative’ and ‘I mean business’. The trick is getting the balance between a limp stroke and a tight squeeze. Practice shaking hands with a variety of people. When you go into the interview ensure that you shake hands with all the interviewers, not just the chair or person in the middle. Great each of them separately. In addition to giving a good impression, this may also help to ease any last minute nerves that you have. Though the interviewers are likely to have your resume or file in front of them, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself when you shake their hand. Simply saying, ‘Hi, I’m Alex’, will help to break any tension.

The winning smile

Facial expressions play a major role in first impressions, and your expression will say more about you in a split second than five minutes of words ever could. Avoid a false or cheesy grin which will come across as fake, arrogant or nonchalant. Come across as outgoing and warm with a smile that says that you are a nice, fun person wishing to chat about your possible future at the company. Your interviewers should spend the first seven seconds thinking that you are professional and confident, something which is helped by you smiling, not frowning, grimacing or displaying a poker face.

Make and maintain eye contact

Failing to make or maintain eye contact can give the impression that you are nervous, rude or shifty. Make and maintain eye contact with members of the panel as you introduce yourself, but don’t stare or do it in a creepy way. Again, this is something that requires practice.

Read more about the initial impressions and the first seven seconds at forbes.com/sites/carolkinseygoman/2011/02/13/seven-seconds-to-make-a-first-impression/

Some other tips

It is essential that you arrive a few minutes early. Remembering the names of the interview panel will also give a good impression. If you don’t understand a question, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. Trying to answer the wrong question doesn’t give the impression that you could follow instructions. If you need time to think, pause rather than rushing into an answer. Any silence will only seem long to you.

Why not visit a specialist for advice, Employment Agency Cheltenham Buzz Recruit could help, they help hundreds of people find jobs and will offer friendly advice, if your further afield why not visit a local agency to you.

Remember don’t dress or behave too casually. While you want to look and smell your best, you should avoid wearing strong scents. Avoid talking incessantly and don’t beg for the job.

And finally, just be you.