Here are three pieces of advice for your job interview: put your best foot forward, make a good first impression, look your interviewer in the eye.
Pretty standard fare, you might be thinking. You’ve heard these tips numerous times. But have you considered what they mean and how important they really are? If not, here are some reasons to do so for each one.
1. Put Your Best Foot Forward
The wording here is a bit odd. It implies that we have three or more feet. It would make more sense and be grammatically correct to say: “Put your better foot forward.” But knowing what it means is what really matters: To start on a journey or task with purpose and gusto. In other words walk into your interview with a determined step, a smile on your face, a friendly handshake, and expectancy in your mind and heart. Be your best self and trust that your authenticity will compel the interviewer to take a good look at YOU, in person and on paper.
2. Make a Good First Impression
It has been said again and again that the first impression is the last impression. How can that be true? People judge one another by what they see and hear first. It stays with them, regardless of what happens next. So it’s worth your time to express your true self rather than to try to impress with affectation and showmanship.
Hiring managers are looking for authentic individuals who are honest, open-faced, quick to smile and shake hands firmly, ask intelligent questions, and speak openly about their qualifications for the job in question. Be positive and optimistic. Show your appreciation for the opportunity, get to the point of how you can benefit the company with your skill set, and avoid throwing verbal stones at previous employers or co-workers.
3. Look Your Interviewer in the Eye
You’ve probably heard the saying, “The eyes are the windows to the soul.” And you know it’s true when you encounter other people. Our eyes sometimes say more than our words. So when you’re in an interview, look the hiring manager in the eye.
Listen and focus on what he or she is saying. And when it’s your turn to respond, hold your gaze and avoid distracting gestures such as playing with coins in your pocket or flicking your fingernails. One way to lose points fast is to look over the interviewer’s shoulder or glance around the room or stare at the floor when you and he or she are engaged in conversation.
The next time you’re preparing for a job interview, review these three not-so-secret secrets, put them into practice, and the wait for those seven magic words, “we’d like to offer you the job”.
Related: The Psychology of Job Interviews: How To Prepare Mentally.