How To Make A Good Impression During Your Interview(s)
First in-person impressions with a potential employer start when you walk through the door. Your mannerisms, word choice, response time, eye contact, voice inflections, and clothing choice are all features of your first face-to-face meeting.
Does the overuse of an eyebrow raise suggest arrogance or humor? Does a smirk when asked about your previous boss make you look dishonest? Between 65% and 93% of unspoken communication carries more impact than words.
Since people tend to get attached to their initial perceptions, establishing a confident, bold, and accurate first in-person impression can be vital to getting hired. In fact, take a peek at Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk—a discussion on how your body language may shape who you are. She explains how nonverbal behavior is so influential, it has profound impacts on your interactions and your self-perception.
Here are some easy tips for a lasting first in-person impression:
- Body Mirroring — Adjusting your body posture to reflect the person you’re speaking with signifies empathy. But don’t be too obvious about it, as it can come off awkward and insincere.
- Posture — Carrying yourself upright, not slouching or looking down, exudes confidence, and an awareness of your surroundings.
- Nonverbal Listening Cues — Nodding, head tilting, eye contact, and appropriate facial expressions all are indicators that you are actively listening to and absorbing what is being said.
However, don’t overuse these behaviors as it will make you seem robotic and disingenuous.
How To Prepare For Your Video Interview
During your video interview, your nonverbal behavior can be highly scrutinized as there are less mutual environmental stimuli to break attention. As interviews are now often occurring through video communications, preparing your environment, and practicing for your video interview will help you establish a strong impression.
Video interview etiquette includes:
- Be prepared for video use — Ensure you have a reliable connection and technology. Run a test meeting with a colleague and check that your tone, voice projection, and clarity are at the right levels. And have your resume printed and next to you to support your responses.
- Good lighting — Run a test through your room settings to ensure you have enough light. Using lamps around your video device can help brighten up a room and reduce shadows.
- Be centered — Make sure your face remains centered and well-framed with a neutral, uncluttered background.
- Wear business casual attire — Your color choice can be significant. It will help you stand out from your background and convey warmth. Stay away from prints as they can be distracting when viewed digitally, as well as all-white, black, or very bright colors.
- Reduce ambient noise — Using a headset may be necessary to achieve the best sound quality. And turn off notifications on all devices.
- Maintain eye contact — Eye contact is a particularly challenging component of a video interview. If you’re looking at your interviewer on the screen, your eyes are focused downwards, and it can seem like you’re not paying attention. Instead, when you speak or answer questions, look directly at the lens to simulate direct eye contact with your interviewer.
- Avoid fidgeting — When speaking, use hand gestures when appropriate, but avoid fidgeting or looking away from the screen. Continue to utilize nonverbal listening cues—smiling and nodding when appropriate to signify attention. Pause a few moments after a question is asked to avoid cutting off the interviewer.
Whether you’re in-person meeting or meeting online, body language remains incredibly crucial to a meaningful first impression. Awareness of how you’re presenting yourself will help you effectively communicate during your interview and increase your chances of being hired. And lastly, good luck!