First Impressions Set the Tone in an Interview

Anyone who has been or will be in an interview needs to recognize an important fact: first impressions truly make a difference.

Someone who looks good on paper, or who speaks well on the phone, may sound like the right candidate, but a face to face meeting may prove otherwise. In person, non-verbal communications play a big part in analyzing character and even ability.

Although knowledge and skills are key elements in hiring decisions, a person who does not make a good impression in person may well be passed over for a job. The first 15 seconds of an interview can determine the fate of the applicant.

So how do you make a first impression that will get you past the initial interview hurdle? Here are some suggestions from the experts:

  • A firm handshake is always a plus. Look the person in the eye while shaking hands. But beware - a shy person lacking confidence can be betrayed by other body language when trying to fake a firm, confident handshake.

  • Be enthusiastic. Sit on the front of your chair and look the person in the eye when talking.

  • Adopt similar mannerisms. Don't be obvious in mimicking the interviewer by crossing your legs or folding your arms at the same time, but try to develop a rapport by subtly adopting similar voice and gesture mannerisms.

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