First impressions matter, which is why it's essential to your job search that you present yourself professionally during a job interview. Increase your chances of a job offer by paying close attention to detail when preparing for that first meeting and showcasing your qualifications to potential employers.
Formalize Your Speech
Many times, candidates get too relaxed during a job interview. While it's important to let your personality shine through, if you're speaking too informally, it can communicate that you're not taking this opportunity seriously. Enunciate your words clearly, eliminate any jargon or slang words from your speech during the meeting, and address the interviewer formally when answering interview questions to further impress the hiring manager.
Pay Close Attention to Body Language
Your facial expressions and mannerisms often communicate much more than your words during a job interview. Avoid showing any telltale signs that you're nervous or less-than-confident by keeping your body language in check. When dressing for that first meeting, eliminate any accessories that can distract you or the interviewer, such as scarves or noisy jewelry. Smile often and keep your hands in your lap if you tend to fidget. Make sure your tone is light and pleasant when answering interview questions.
Dress for Success
Even if you know the company has a relaxed dress code, plan to put on your Sunday best outfit for that first meeting. A job interview begs the need for formal wear, such as a pant suit, conservative dress or a tie. Wear neutral colors so your outfit doesn't distract the hiring manager.
Potential employers expect you to be prompt, or even early for the interview. Plan your trip accordingly and leave early if you foresee any traffic inhibiting your arrival time. Even if you have to wait in the lobby for a few minutes, arriving at least 15 minutes prior to your interview time is expected. It also shows you're eager and respectable of the interviewer's time.
Show Your Interest in the Position
Before the job interview concludes, express to the hiring manager that you're eager and readily available to begin work. Ask about a timeframe for when management plans to make a hiring decision and thank the interviewer for the opportunity to highlight your qualifications. Send a thank-you note or follow-up email the same day you meet with a potential employer to further indicate you're eager for this opportunity.
How you present yourself during a job interview can predict whether you receive a job offer or an opportunity to attend a second interview. Put your best foot forward by dressing the part, answering questions in a professional manner and following up to show you're eager and ready to join the company's team.
Photo Courtesy of Simeon Andreev at Flickr.com