Going into an interview can be intimidating to even the most confident of candidates. You can have all the experience and knowledge in the world but, at the end of the day, you’ve only got one shot to prove yourself. Fail to do so, and it could cost you the job.
While every interview is unique, there are a few boxes that need to be ticked if you want to leave a good impression. So rather than waiting until the interview is over to ask yourself how you did, take some time beforehand to think about what you need to do to leave a good impression.
There are few ways you can bungle an interview before it’s even started, but showing up late is a surefire way to do so. It immediately calls into question how seriously you take the opportunity, and how reliable you would be as an employee. So make sure you plan your journey in advance, and try to be in the area a good 20 minutes before the interview is due to start. But don’t arrive at their door too early either, or you could be inconveniencing the interviewer. They asked you to come at a specific time for a reason, so make sure you stick to it.
Although it may seem a very subjective experience, we can actually determine whether a person’s handshake is good or bad. Take for example a study in which four judges rated the handshakes of 320 participants based on strength, vigour, duration, eye contact, and completeness of grip. The results showed that the judges agreed on whether a handshake was good or bad a whopping 92% of the time, proving that handshakes are more objective than subjective. This means that if someone says you have a bad handshake, others will probably agree, so it’s time to take the gloves off and start practicing.
Meeting someone with a bad handshake is one thing, but meeting someone with poor personal hygiene is a different kettle of stinking fish altogether. A hiring manager might be able to forgive a weak handshake, but if you show up unshowered or in dirty clothes, it’s going to be hard to take you seriously as a candidate. So have your clothes ready the night before, shower on the day, and make sure you’re ready to impress.
Body language during an interview is one of the most influential factors on a hiring manager’s decision, so it’s important to make sure your body isn’t saying anything that your mouth wouldn’t. Eye contact is perhaps the most important element of this, so be sure to look at your interviewer, especially when they are doing the talking. Slouching in your chair will indicate that you are lazy or disinterested in the job, while crossing your arms will make you look defensive or closed off. If it seems like watching your body language is too much of a distraction, just remember to smile, make eye contact, and sit up straight. Those are the most important points.
We’ve all heard the story about the person who shoves an innocent bystander out of their way to get to an interview on time, only to discover that they’re being interviewed by the same person. As bad as it sounds, you don’t need a situation this extreme to drop the ball on your manners. Be sure not to interrupt at any point, show a genuine interest in whatever they have to say, and thank them for their time at the end. And remember, any time you go in for an interview, you’re not just meeting the interviewer. Whoever greets you will probably report back to the interviewer, so stay polite from start to finish, and save the pedestrian shoving for your free time.
These things may not make the interview for you, but they can certainly break it. Jobs are about more than just skill these days, so no matter how impressive your CV may be, it’s up to you to leave a good impression.
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See what else employers say can ruin an interview in our latest employment monitor.