Resume Blog

More than a mere showcase of your paper qualifications and achievements, nuances of your appearance and attitude, which affect the impression you give and the outcome of your job interview. Get pointers on what you should take note of when meeting your prospective employer and more..

Interview Etiquette and Body Language

It is often said in an initial interaction, 97% of communication is through ones’ body language. Your body language is extremely critical to what might make your interview a success or a failure. Your body language expresses emotions, feelings, and attitudes, giving off telltale signs and sometimes even contradicting the messages conveyed by spoken language. Therefore you should use the following tips when finding ways to make your job interview a rousing success so it will not be too much of a risk.

1. Eye Contact is Critical

Of all body languages, eye contact is the most important, as the saying goes the eyes are the windows to the soul. Therefore you have to make eye contact at all times when talking with your interviewer. Not only eye contact but positive eye contact, where you show brilliance and enthusiasm to your cause. A interviewee who makes direct eye contact with a job interviewer will be interpreted as someone who is confident about themselves and feels positive about their prospects.

You should make and keep eye contact with all the interviewers the very moment you step into the room, when you shake the interviewer’s hand and when you answer the questions. Research shows that on average people only hold their eye contact 30% of the time but for people to develop positive feelings for you, you need to increase the eye contact to a minimum of 60%. Keeping eye contact during an interview also shows that you are focused and not easily distracted. Anyone who loses eye contract in the middle of the interview will certainly lose points with the interviewer.

2. Keeping a Positive Posture

A winning body involves having your head up, sticking your back straight and your chest out and forward, you should also relax your shoulders and not be afraid to take up more space. This is a posture of confidence and leadership, interviewers revealed that an interviewee with the right body posture usually has the right mindset. Leaning forward and nodding when your interviewers are speaking, shows that you are interested in what someone is saying, lean toward the person talking. But don’t lean in too much or you might seem needy and desperate for some approval.

Some of the body language that you should definitely not do are crossing your arms and legs and fidgeting around such as shaking your leg or tapping your fingers as these body languages show nervousness.

3. A Good Handshake

A handshake might sound like a basic activity but it is often the first thing an interviewer notices about you. In fact there are books written even for such a simple gesture, a good handshake doesn’t only stop at a firm and strong one, it tells a person about your character. For an aggressive person who has a higher authority or position between the two will usually have his hand slight over on top while the more passive person with lower authority will have the back of his palm facing down towards the ground.

If you have sweaty palms it always helps to go to the wash room before hand or have a handkerchief in your pocket so you can wipe your hands just before you step into the room.

4. Manners

Some basic manners you must have, however this minor details are so basic they might slip off your mind at times. Turn off your phone, don’t even put it to silent as it will interrupt your conversation or your train of thoughts even when it is on vibrate. Check your attire, make sure you have matching socks, your shirt and trousers should be well pressed. You should also carry a mint with you and pop one before the interview, but make sure you are not chewing gum or having a sweet in your mouth during the interview. Always smile, your smile is your best weapon and it shows that you are friendly and approachable, no company will want to hire someone who is antisocial.

The right forms of interview etiquette and body language will help you score some positive points which is crucial when it comes down to a close fight. Your body language is critical to your job interview. You have to ensure portray your best self, being confident and comfortable, giving your interviewer the impression that you are the right person for a job.

Ace that interview in Style

Be Prepared to Ace the Interview

So, you have gotten yourself that much anticipated interview for your dream job. Congratulations! But how prepared are you for the interview? You really need to prepare for the interview to increase your chances of earning the job you have always wanted. There are several things that you need to do to ace any job interview. Read on to find out what they are so that you will not waste a good chance!

Not one interview is ever going to be the same as the other as there are many variables such as the job scope as well as expectations of the employer. Thus, the key to all successful interviews is being prepared: in fact, being over prepared is better than not making any preparations at all. Trying to rehearse your answers for the interview is one of the ways to get yourself prepared. If you could, get someone to role play the situation with you. Trust me, you would not want to be “caught unprepared” and fumble over the questions.

Showing Enthusiasm

During the interview, it is pertinent that you show how keen you are to be part of the organization. Needless to say, employers would obviously prefer an “eager beaver” for the job than a disinterested candidate. Some ways that you could display your enthusiasm during the interview include:

  • Sound optimistic and cheerful during the interview to engage your potential employer. Most importantly smile as you speak and as be respectful as possible by addressing them as “Sir” or “Ma’am”.
  • Be confident and sound knowledgeable in areas that pertain to the job. You may therefore, do some research and read up about the company and job before the interview. However, do not put them off by showing that you know more than they do!
  • Look and sound like you are at ease when you are conversing with them. The interviewer may not have such a great impression of you if you could not express yourself well and seem like you are struggling to come up with the right words.

Do your research

It is critical that you have a sound knowledge of the company where you are applying the job. Do your own research so that you are familiar with their main strengths, focus and perhaps even their mission and vision. You should use some of the points you have read up about the company in your interview.

In addition, you must also be well aware of what is required in your job scope. Fully understand the requirement stated in the description and explain how you “fit in” the job. You may need to sell yourself here and elaborate on how you could add value to the company if you are selected. However, you need to be realistic about your own strengths and capabilities. Do not “over promise and later under deliver”. Do a self-check to ascertain if the skills listed match that of yours so that you could apply them later when you get the job.

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

To impress the panel of interviewers, you need to be able to give a good reply to any of the questions posed to you. It would also help a great deal, if you could further show them samples of your prior work and your job portfolio. A winning employee is one that is prepared for whatever is to be asked of that person. You can show how ready you are for the job by providing the above.

A job portfolio is a file binder with contents that include fresh copy of your resume on the first page followed by a table of contents. This would facilitate your ability to navigate between the pages to find relevant items quickly. Place the rest of the contents in clear plastic folders in the binder.

To make it more impressive, you need not confine your portfolios to just work samples, as there are other things that you may include to improve to your credibility as a candidate. These include the following:

  • Information about the company that you are applying for.
  • Your skills list (Ensure that it is matched to the job you are applying for).
  • List of workshops and and trainings you have attended.
  • Names of a few referees and their assessment of you.
  • Any letters of commendations and testimonials that highlights your abilities and skills

Do ensure, however, that the letters are genuine and authentic. It is unethical to come up with your own letters of thanks and misquoting others.

During the interview, you also need to convince the panel by using concrete examples of what you can do if the job is assigned to you.

Honesty is Always the Best Policy

You need to be totally honest during your interview as it shows how earnest and sincere you are about the job and how willing you are to open up with other people. The employers will perform background checks on you so this makes it even more important to be totally honest about everything in the interview.

Speak Convincingly and Effectively

You should be as professional as possible during the interview and this equates to maintaining a positive attitude and replying the questions correctly while maintaining your composure.

  • Be Calm and Positive

You have to be very calm during your interview as well. An employer will notice you if you feel nervous. That employer can see that you are shaking or struggling to find words.

When asked to give an opinion about certain matter, you should never reply with “I have no idea,” as it will almost definitely put the interviewer off. You have to think fast and plan what you are going to say before you actually speak. Keep your tone positive and sound cheerful when you speak. Employers would be on a look out for people who are passionate about what they say. Look them in the eye and have a strong personal conviction of what you are saying. However, you must maintain your calm throughout the interview. In the course of the interview, you may want to make a point but the important thing to remember is to refrain from interrupting anyone, especially the person who is interviewing you. If you do, it may be misconstrued as being rude and it will definitely get in the way of the interview.

Always be ready for whatever the moment might bring you. Thus, make a list of all the possible questions they may ask and be prepared to answer all of them. Get yourself a reliable partner to rehearse the questions with.

At the start of the interview, and depending on the persona of the interviewer, you may want to be a little more casual when starting your conversation. You can indulge them in small talks about the weather, for instance. This could create a calm and relaxing mood in the interview room.

During the interview, highlight and reiterate what you can offer to the company. Show the employers how spontaneous you can be and how ready you are to face any issues that may arise.

Your responses should be precise yet brief and straight to the point. You would most definitely not want to bore people with extended stories or drawn-out responses to whatever people ask you. In addition, please remember not to say anything negative about other people you have dealt with in the past.

Do remember, however, to be as earnest and sincere as possible as employers are always taken in by honesty. You may need to explain and elaborate a bit more when the questions demand you to do so: but give only succinct and relevant details.

 

  • Stay Focused

 

A sure way to not get shortlisted for the job would be to look and sound distracted. It is easy for the average person to lose his attention to anything in the world. After all, there are so many forms of stimuli in our everyday lives. However, you should always maintain full attention during the interview and never let anything else distract you. Employers prefer people who focus on their jobs and will only hire those who are focused on their interviews. It is important, therefore, not to continue texting or have your earphones on to listen to music during the interview or while waiting for your turn to go into the room as it may create an impression that you may not really be interested in the job.

As an earnest applicant for the job, you should show candor especially towards whoever is interviewing you as it reflect the respect you have for the person or persons interviewing you.

Questions about Your Employment History

There may be instances during the interview where you will be required to talk about your past employment. For instance, they may position it in a question such as “Why did you leave your last job?” In such a situation, you have to be mindful of what you say. While it is good to be honest, it will hurt your job prospect if you are too blunt about your previous employers. You may talk about your experiences and how you have learned from the previous jobs but you should refrain from being too judgmental and calling anyone names or putting forth a very strong opinion about them.

Ask Questions

There would also be instances in an interview when they would ask you if you would like to pose any questions. At this point, you can negotiate your position better so that they would think that you are very engaged and involved in the interview. The way to go about doing this is perhaps to do one of the following:

  • Ask the employer about their expectation of the ideal employee. By doing so, you would be able to understand what they are looking out for. Reply by adding how you could fit in their expectations or what you would do to improve your performance with that goal in mind, for instance.
  • You could also ask about what kind of attitude they expect their employers to adopt. In doing so, again you would be more aware of what they expect and how you could arrange your life to minimize disruptions to the job. If required, offer suggestions such as how you could place your children in a daycare so that you can concentrate on your job during the day.

Ending the Interview the Right Way

Employers make decisions about the right candidate for the job the first few minutes of the interview. However, the last few minutes of the interview are just as important to make the final impact. Here are some tips on how you should end the interview to better your chances of being selected.

  • Offer to come back at a different time to have a deeper conversation with the employer. This will reflect your sincerity and your earnestness.
  • End the interview by thanking the interviewers. Shake their hands firmly and look them in the eye, but do not try to extend the interview longer than necessary. Employers like brevity in their prospective employees.
  • You may also include in your concluding statement what you will do if you are selected.. You could for instance, suggest that you will consider taking additional training courses in a certain field or even being more attentive during on-the-job training.

Once you have done what you can, there is only one thing left to do after the interview – wait and hope for the best! If you have done most of the things recommended, it is highly likely the good news will be on the way in a matter of time. Good Luck!