By: Shaun Z. Stevens
The first thirty seconds of the interview will ultimately determine if you get the job or not. Not only are first impressions crucial they are everything. If you have created a bad first impression you are sunk dead in the water. It would have been much better for your career and employment prospects if you had never shown up for the interview, called in sick so to say and stayed in bed at home for the day.
You have been screened into an interview because you have appeared qualified on paper. The employer uses the interview to learn whether or not you have the personal qualifications needed to fit into the organization. As well the interview process is used to confirm and further conform you work habits and work performance skills in action.
The first thirty seconds count most. People form basic opinions as well as basic assumptions about you within the first 30 seconds of meeting you. These opinions and assumptions may be conscious choices by the interviewer. In many cases this process in an unconscious one. The interviewer may never realize that they have determined basis assumptions of you - that determine you career path. It may never be acknowledged that these prejudices so to speak are even recognized as being held never mind acknowledged in conversation. The role of assumptions in our daily lives is integral.
If we did not make assumptions about people and places we encounter we would be spending most of our daily lives starting from scratch on everything in order to determine information, tactics and strategies.
The first thirty seconds do count. Interviewers will often say that they usually form strong opinions about applicant in the time it takes for the job seeker to walk across the room and say "Hello".
How can you make those first impressions and those vital 30 seconds work for you as opposed for against you in your quest for that job or gainful employment or gainful advancement.
It comes down to 2 concepts. Preparation, presentation and attitude.
Prepare to be be prepared. Arrive on time with the essentials. Never arrive late or if an emergency arises phone ahead. Show that you are a person of honor, integrity and respectful toward others.
If the interview requires some preparation or tools plan ahead to either do the task or bring the equipment. Many a job interview is sunk even before the event when a potential job seeker does not bring a pen to fill out an application. Strike one. It is reasoned by many gatekeepers of the first step in the organizational hiring process that if a person cannot even prepare to bring a pen to fill out the application form then they are a person who cannot plan ahead for tasks and are a poor choice for employment at that place of work.
Second in the list of concepts is presentation. Dress well and appropriately. Be neat. Details count down to clean fingernails and clean and polished shoes. How to dress? Generally look at the industry and its employees. Do not overdress to impress the interviewer. If you are applying at an organization where people dress in a jacket and tie it is wise to dress as such or one step up. To come in an expensive tailored Armani suit may not be a wise idea.
Attitude after the previous two concepts are attended to can be the number one factor. Attitude is said to be the primary factor that influences an employer to hire. First of all concentrate on being likeable. Interviewers want to hire pleasant people whom others will enjoy working with on a daily basis.
To project that you are highly likeable it is best to be friendly, courteous and enthusiastic. Speak positively. Use positive body language. Smile.
It is best to project and air of pride and confidence. Act as though you thoroughly want and deserve the job - not as though you are desperate for the job.
Demonstrate enthusiasm. An applicant's level of enthusiasm often influences the employer as much as any other interviewing. The applicant who demonstrates little enthusiasm for a job or even life will never be selected for employment positions.
It is best to demonstrate knowledge of and interest in the employer. Saying that "I really want this job" is not convincing and mature enough. Explain in the interview why you want the position and how that position fits into your career plans and ultimately benefits the employment organization. It may even be that the employer's position or firm offer unique opportunities or training that are highly relevant to your career and personal growth.
Perform your best at every moment. It is not as if you are on parade or presenting a false show. Be sincere but remember that there is no such thing as "time out" during an interview. Even from the beginning treat even the receptionist courteously. You may want to enquire about his or her name and conduct basis small talk. In the end it can be said that you never really know who can ultimately help or hinder your job employment prospects and success.
Lastly remember that an interview and the interview process is a two way street. You should project a genuine and sincere interest in determining whether you and the employer can mutually benefit from your gainful employment.
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