Making sense of making an impression












SECONDS – all it takes for bosses to decide if they’ll hire you. That’s why making a good first impression at your job interview counts. These tips will help you help your interviewer make bettersense of you.


· Look your interviewer in the eye. According to a study led by Professor Nora A. Murphy, maintaining eye contact while speaking enhances your perceived smartness. “It significantly correlated with IQ, was successfully manipulated by impression-managing targets, and contributed to higher perceived intelligence ratings.” If you’ve got dark circles, which make you look sleepy, get them covered. Alternatively, wearing thick glasses makes you appear clever too.

· Look sharp. 65% of bosses indicate that between two equally eligible candidates, clothes could be a deciding factor. In a British-Turkish study, participants looked at photos of men in tailored versus off-the-peg suits for just five seconds, with the guys in tailored suits rated as more successful and having a more positive image. Of course, this attire doesn’t suit all job interviews. Pay a quick visit to your potential workplace to get a sense of how current employees dress. The bottom line? Present yourself in the best possible way.


· Go subtle on the scents. Fresh from the shower is best, but if you really need a dash of perfume or cologne to lift your confidence during the interview, then less is more. Don’t distract your interviewer or leave him/her sneezing during your meeting.


· Give a great handshake. The way you greet your interviewer will set the tone for the rest of the interview. A good handshake will build rapport right from the start and could even help you seal the deal. With dry hands, eye contact and a smile, aim for a firm palm-to-palm grip for three shakes. Don’t seem in a hurry – you want your interviewer to know you’ve got time for them and are enjoying your chat. Don’t forget to trim and clean your nails. Ladies, opt for a nude shade of nail polish.


· Speak Expressively. Don’t bore your interviewer by sounding monotonous. “If two speakers utter exactly the same words, but one speaks a little faster and louder and with fewer pauses and greater variation in volume, that speaker will be judged to be more energetic, knowledgeable, and intelligent,” writes Leonard Mlodinow, author of Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior. “Expressive speech, with modulation in pitch and volume, and a minimum of noticeable pauses, boosts credibility and enhances the impression of intelligence.” Keep your interview upbeat!

With these tricks in the bag, you'll be able to engage your interviewer in every sense, and walk away from your interview confident that the first impression you made is a lasting one.