Not only SKIN AND HAIR YOU NEED That seven seconds – FULL CIRCLE OF BEAUTY
It’s Interview day. You’ve polished your resume until it’s fit to publish in Forbes magazine. You’ve polished your pitch until it’s so good, only Al Pacino could deliver it better. And you’ve polished your best shoes so enthusiastically that you will have to wear shades at the interview to avoid glare from the toecaps.
It’s all hanging together. How could you fail to get this job? Surely you are but an hour away from ordering a brand-new company car.
Or are you?
Who amongst us has not been in this dangerously cocky situation? If only the shine on our shoes, a prepared speech and a blockbuster CV were the only challenges, we had when prospecting for a job. But, they’re not. Far more important considerations such as body language, dress, and confidence sway interviewers more than most people think. And faster than you might believe too.
Some say that seven seconds is all that we need to form a first impression of someone. Research shows that fifty-five percent of that first impression is based on how we look, the clothes we wear, and the way we stand.
As the promo-spiel for the old anti-dandruff shampoo commercial ran, You never get a second chance to make a first impression. I wouldn’t want to scare you, but this means a prospective employer could mentally bin your CV along with your career prospects before you’ve even shaken hands. You’re going to need some coaching.
Here is some body language, appearance, and confidence tips that might just give you a fighting chance of becoming gainfully employed by the end of the day.
Sit back in your seat:
Don’t slouch, you’re not on your grandfather’s porch swing.
Don’t go for direct eye contact:
In some contexts, staring can be appropriate. Staring down some dude across a saloon card table during a game of five-card stud was perfectly acceptable in Dodge City circa 1868. But deploy your Charles Maison, thousand-yard stare at an interviewer, and not getting the job will be the least of your problems. Security will put you in an arm lock and crash you out through the fire doors, using your head as a battering ram.
Use hand gestures while speaking:
Moving your arms in a meaningful way, convey positive energy, and compliments articulate speech. Keep it light, though. Waggle you’re arms every which way, like one of those aircraft carrier guys that waves table tennis bats about to land planes, and you’ll be quickly diagnosed as manic. Especially if you start knocking over coffee cups, or in extreme cases, coffee tables.
Show your palms:
This is an open, non-threatening gesture, likely to endear you to the interviewer. Some say it originates in the days when people carried bladed weapons. An open hand meant, look — I carry no weapon. If you bury your hands in your armpits or coat pockets. Or conceal them behind your back, you run the risk of seemingly hiding a mace or even a double-handed battle ax behind your back. This is not behavior likely to cause the interviewer to write in his notes, ‘Possible good team player.’
To Plant your feet on the ground. This will make you looked grounded. Don’t swing your legs as if you are on a park bench. Also, if you suffer from restless leg syndrome, remember that whirling your legs about like a Riverdance hoofer on steroids may blind your interviewer to your finer points.
Walk the walk:
Chuck Berry duck-walk your way into the interview room, and you’ll be Chuck Berried straight out again into the land of the unemployable. Walk confidently but avoid swagger. Rule out any streetwise hip-hop influenced strutting. And any form of locomotion those even hints at intoxication. Just walk in confidently and sit down. Simple.
Breathe deeply, and speak on the out-breath.
Panting like a Husky halfway to the South Pole will only make you look exhausted and over-anxious. And although drawling like John Wayne in Stagecoach is equally likely to kill the job stone dead, talking in a calm, measured tone is highly recommended.
Nod your head while listening:
This shows the interviewer that you are listening and following what he says. Remember, nodding does not actually require you as the interviewee to be mentally engaged in any way. You could be thinking about whether to have Chinese or Indian food for supper. Just make sure you are nodding while you’re doing it. One final caution about nodding. It should not be random, or you’ll look like a Parkinson’s sufferer or one of those nodding dogs, which were popular as dashboard furniture in the nineties.
Act confidently, even though you may not feel confident. There’s nothing wrong with reckless bravado in the right place. There’s an old story that illustrates this quite well. Two half-starved slaves are waiting to be thrown into the Coliseum in Rome, to face the lions. While they wait for the ferocious, half-starved lions to be unleashed, one says to the other, ‘Didn’t you say you’d got a letter from your girlfriend? Any news?’ And the other slave raises his fists in a boxer’s stance and says, ‘I’ll tell you in a minute or two. Let’s sort out these lions first!’ If you can muster this level of confidence, it’ll stand you in good stead at any interview.