Offer a firm (not bone-crushing!) palm to palm handshake. If you aren’t sure you currently shake hands this way, practice and get some feedback. There is nothing worse than shaking someone’s hand who is trying to crush your hand or whose hand recently passed away and is lifeless in yours; find the middle ground.
Make good eye contact with your interviewer. Don’t engage in a stare down, however. If you are interviewing with more than one person, typically called a panel interview, begin your response to each question by looking at the person who asked the question, then make eye contact with the other members of the panel as you go through your response.
A key to making a good first impression is to build rapport. An easy way to do this is to reflect your interviewer’s body language. If they are sitting up straight, do the same. If they are a little more laid back, mirror that. This does NOT mean that you should mimic or imitate them, but the fact is that at a subconscious level, people like people who are like them. So if you mirror someone’s body language, and even the pace of their conversation, you will build rapport with them.
How should you approach an interview?
Simply put, you are selling yourself in an interview. Similarly, the employer is attempting to sell you on how wonderful their organization is. But if you don’t consider yourself a great sales person, what can you do?
What are you trying to accomplish in the interview?
Your mission going into an interview is to understand, as quickly as possible, what that employer is looking for in the ideal candidate. Salespeople call this uncovering a prospect’s needs and wants. Once you identify what the employer is really most interested in, then you know how to talk about yourself. You know what to focus on and what to emphasize. And when the inevitable “Why should we hire you?” question arises, you simply recap what you have spent the entire interview talking about. It is the easiest question you’ll ever get!
What’s the best way to do it?
The way to find out what an employer is really looking for in their next employee is to do what top salespeople do – ask good questions and listen carefully to the answers. But isn’t the employer the one asking all the questions? Only if you don’t ask any questions! The more you can turn the interview from an interrogation into a conversation, the more successful you will be in interviews. And you do that by asking good questions. You can begin asking questions almost immediately. The easiest way to start is in your response to the most common first interview question, “Tell me about yourself.”
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