First Impression Blunders To Avoid

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Preparation

Preparing for an interview requires hard work and preparation. From researching what the position requires to perfecting your response to typical questions, one should be prepared to answer any inquiries the interviewer throws out. However, the interview is not only judged by what you say, but by how you say it and the manner in which you present yourself.

The Greeting

Job interviews will usually begin and end with a handshake, a subtle chance to give the desired first and last impression. Deliver the handshake with confidence; one that is limp conveys uncertainty while one that is crushing would cause the interviewer discomfort. Your shake should be smooth, yet firm, and not be overly enthusiastic.

The Smile

The best way to approach the interview is to think of it as a regular formal conversation where non-verbal communication is just as important as what is said. Projecting a facial expression which is appropriate to the situation builds a sense of trust and allows the interviewers to have a better sense of what kind of person you are.

The Appearance

To establish a professional physical appearance, make sure that your hand gestures are appropriate and not overly exaggerated. Talking with your hands may be important in certain circumstances, but having them all over the place is not conducive to building your image as a professional.

The Look

Appropriate eye contact throughout the interview is another signal of confidence and professional demeanor. Find the balance between awkwardly staring at the interviewer and looking all over the place.

Casually break your glance when appropriate for brief periods of time, but make your actions appear unforced and natural. When interviewing in front of multiple individuals, shift your glance from person to person, as if you are talking to them individually, but give the most attention to the person who asked you the question.



The Conversation

Non-verbal communication allows the interviewer to make assumptions about your character; it is your job to make sure that those assumptions are positive. But there are other verbal means than what is explicitly said that determine the path of the interview. Voice volume and the use of the dreaded "umm" are two verbal cues which must be controlled.

The Bottom Line

The manner in which you project your answers, verbally and non-verbally, has a strong impact on how the interviewer will view you. First impression blunders, such as an improper handshake, poor eye contact and inappropriate speech volume can easily be avoided through practice and a conscious awareness of one's behavior. Even if you have to think about your actions constantly, practice will help your behavior appear natural.
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