Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How to Create and Maintain a Positive Interview Impression - Part 1 of 2

As the old adage goes, you never get a second chance to make a great first impression. This could never be more true than in a job interview. Studies show that if you make a bad first impression, you have to meet that same person as many as seven times to overcome that negative opinion. Since you are most likely not going to get seven more interviews, that first impression is critical.

First let's look at the science of making a positive first impression when you meet the interviewer. This can be  called the "power opening" because it is a strategic 3-step method to making a positive first impression.

Step 1 - Enter the Interview with Confidence
In an interviewer's eyes, confidence is equal to competence. In other words, if you create an impression of self-confidence, they automatically assume you are good at what you do. Of course, you have to be able to back that up with facts and examples, but crossing that initial hurdle is key to interview success. In order to appear confident, hold your head up and put your shoulders back, make direct eye contact, smile, and shake their hand with enthusiasm and strength.

Step 2 - Use the Interviewer's Name
When you get the call for the interview, start gathering data about the interviewer. Get their first and last name and ensure you write out the pronunciation phonetically, especially if it is a difficult name or they pronounce their name in a non-traditional way. Address them by their last name, using Ms. for all female interviewers no matter their age or marital status, until they invite you to call them by their first name. If you can't get the interviewer's name before the interview, make sure you learn it, repeat it, and use it throughout the interview.

Step 3 - Introduce Yourself and Offer a Copy of Your Resume
Be sure to introduce yourself, with first and last name, at the start of the interview. You want to ensure your name stands out from the crowd. Once you introduce yourself, you want to give them your resume. Even though they invited you to the interview on the basis of your resume, take a copy with you on quality resume paper so they can refer to the document as they conduct the interview.

On Thursday, check back and we will look at how to maintain the benefits of that positive first impression by leaving them with a power close at the end of the interview.

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