Friday, January 25, 2013

30 Seconds or Less To Impress for that New Job


We have all heard that first impressions are lasting impressions. What you may not have heard is that you may have only 30 seconds or less to impress. When it comes to dealing with a prospective employer, this makes first impressions even more crucial. It has been said that up to 90% of all communication is non-verbal. That’s right. Our lips may lie, but our body language doesn’t. It is 60% of the first impression we make, and it doesn’t fool anyone. Our body language may be communicating our feelings that are not compatible with our verbal communication. 


We’ve all met people that we immediately liked upon meeting them. We’ve also met people where our first impression was not so impressive. Just by being cognizant of how your non-verbal language may be interpreted may help you to have an edge in the interviewing process. You may be the strongest candidate for the job but if you fail to smile, make eye contact, or have a limp-wrist, hand-shake, you may be out of the running before you have the chance to show how qualified you truly are. To make sure your interview doesn’t end before it begins, consider the following tips:

Exude confidence. You’re bound to be a little nervous. The key is not to show it. Breathe. Once the interviewer greets you s/he is immediately taking in your appearance; your hair, your face, and your attire, even before you have formally met. Enter the room walking tall and confident. Make eye contact and keep a smile on your face.  If you’re a man being interviewed by a woman, wait until she extends her hand to shake yours. If you’re a woman, extend your hand first to a male interviewer. We all know to keep the handshake firm, not bone-crushing, but it is worth repeating. No high-fives, please. 

When you have been seated, place your purse or briefcase on the floor. Do not cradle them in your lap, hunched over, clutching them for dear life.  Sit up straight, (Mom was right), no slouching in your chair with both feet on the floor. Do not cross your arms in front of you or hide your hands. Crossing your arms gives you a closed off, defensive appearance that says you’d rather be sitting in the dentist’s chair having a root canal done than interviewing. Do not be afraid to gesture. It can show you are open and enthusiastic. Open palms toward the interviewer shows you are an open person.

Don’t forget to make eye contact. This becomes really tricky when there are a number of people in the room interviewing you. Try to methodically make eye contact with each person in the room equally. Too little eye contact makes you appear to lack confidence. Too much eye contact can make you look like a stalker and be downright scary. Also remember to blink.

Don’t fidget. No tapping of your feet or playing with your pen or your hair. If it helps you to sit still, keep a legal pad with a nice leather cover around it in your lap with a pen in hand. In this way, if you must fidget, you can write things down the interviewer might say as a way to show you are interested in the job. 

The interviewer is looking for ways to set a candidate apart from others. Keeping your body language positive will go a long way to make the decision easier for the interviewer to choose you. Remember, you may have less than 30 seconds to impress. Make every second count.

Cathy L. Sage is President of Robert Sage Careers, LLC; an Executive Search Firm and Job Board Publisher that specializes in the Factory-Built Structures Industries.  Cathy can be reached at (727) 504-5350 or at cathy@robertsagecareers.com . For more information about the company and to visit the job board, access http;//www.robersagecareers.com.

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