No matter how politically correct we tend to get these days, basic facts about human psychology and social behavior remain constant; we receive a lot of information on the outside world through visual ques, and first impression can really stick in a person’s mind.
Taking this into consideration, here are a few steps you can take in order to make a good impression on your potential employers.
Learn all you can about the company
When applying for a job, be sure to do a decent amount of research and find out a few more details about the line of work the company is in; look at past business practices, when the company was established and by whom, what exact jobs are available at the local branch, and of course find out all you can about the specific skill sets needed, work ethic and demands of the job you are applying for. This will help you formulate good answers to various questions you might be asked in advance.
Every major athlete and stage performer has his or her own method of â€œgetting into the zoneâ€, a way to calm the nerves and enhance focus â€“ a steady mind is a ready mind. So take 10 minutes, pour yourself some coffee, put on some classical music, do a little shadowboxing to the â€œRockyâ€ soundtrack – do whatever it is that gets you in a good mood, no matter how silly it might seem.
Practice in front of a mirror
It is important to really play out the job interview scenario when preparing, just like a method actor would prepare for a serious role. If you have a sense of humor, you can even weave in a few light jokes into the conversation, but donâ€™t turn into a stand up comedian.
Watch your facial expressions and small body movements; try to seem confident and honest, especially when smiling. People get smiles wrong all the time; they end up looking robotic and seem like they are trying too hard. A genuine smile involves the eyes as well, not just the mouth – so think pleasant thoughts and try to really lighten up when you smile. At this stage, it is good to prepare all the things you will bring with you, and write down the questions you are going to ask the interviewers.
Dress for the occasion
You will want to dress up for the interview, but only slightly. So if it is a manual labor position in the construction industry, a good pair of jeans and a nice shirt will be just fine. If it is a higher position in management, a suit and tie is recommended and perhaps a decent quality watch to give off the impression of punctuality and a clean shave.
Leave yourself enough time to get there 5 minutes early in the worst case scenario and once you arrive, be sure to let the receptionist know you are there for the appointment and be relaxed; waiting can be boring but try and seem calm and focused.
Calm and assertive body language
There is a show called â€œThe Dog Whispererâ€ in which a world renowned dog trainer takes problematic, angry dogs and turns them into quiet and lovable pets in a matter of days or even minutes. He stresses the use of calm and assertive body language like sitting still and relaxed and moving at an easy, slower pace as well as talking loudly enough to be heard clearly but keeping a softness to one’s voice, as opposed to squirming around uncomfortably, speaking in a high pitched voice, making a lot of unnecessary pauses when speaking and looking at your feet.
If it can make a big, mean Pitbull take you seriously and want to be friends with you rather than attack, you can be sure that it will work when talking to a group of well mannered, civilized people judging your character, especially if you are applying for a job where leadership skills are needed.
The most important thing is to seem relaxed, but serious – to seem like someone who would be a pleasure to work with and at the same time a person who will stay focused and get the job done. Be well prepared, stay â€œin the zoneâ€ and at the end of the interview, ask a few questions that will make it clear that you are interested in the job and have done your homework.
Damian is a freelance writer and online consultant for http://www.skyerecruitment.com/. He mostly writes about business, career and self improvement topics.