An article on Forbes.com refers to a Stockholm-based employer branding firm, Universum, which compiled a list of data citing traits that employers value. Among them: Professionalism, Confidence, and High Energy. How do you display these attributes in a job interview when you are feeling nervous and unsure? Here are my tips:
- Respect the interviewer’s time. Arriving “on time” is 5 minutes too late. Allow time to park, straighten yourself up and walk through the door. Turn your cellphone off before stepping out of your car and keep it out of sight for the entire duration of the interview.
- Hand the receptionist your business card. From the moment you walk through the door, you are being evaluated. The employer often asks the receptionist about his or her first impression. Have a clean business card made with your current contact information. Now may be time to create a new, more professional email address if yours is similar to “iheartpink89”.
- Make a powerful first impression. You are who you say you are by the way you show up dressed to the interview. First impressions are paramount to landing a job and launching a successful career. Even with a corporation that has a laid back culture, it’s important dress in a manner that shows respect for the interviewer and the company.
- Body language. Stand up for every introduction. Extend your hand for a handshake, offer 3 pumps and let go of their hand. Do not use two hands, or touch their arm. Whether at a business interview, or meeting across a conference table, keep your hands above the table. Don’t fidget or cover your mouth, which is a sign of nervousness and lack of self-confidence.
- Arrive prepared. Avoid, “I’m sorry I forgot to bring my resume.” It’s bad form to start off the interview with an apology. Bring multiple hard copies of your resume; research the key players, their community affiliations and online presence.
- Learn how to talk positively about your strengths (Brag a little!). Most people are uncomfortable talking about their professional accomplishments. It’s important to convey the message that you are competent and will be an asset to the organization. Rehearse what you are going to say with a trusted friend or business mentor to get comfortable with your delivery.
- An authentic smile and an agreeable nod. Not too much, and not too little, as there are signs to detect when a smile is real and when it’s forced. Your true smile should reveal your teeth, and your facial gestures should reflect the tone of the conversation.
- Use an engaged tone of voice. A flat, monotone voice sends the message that you may lack enthusiasm or motivation. Employers don’t want an employee they feel they will have to kick start each day. Your enthusiasm should be reflected in your (not overly) eager tone of voice.
- Have a conversational attitude. Knowing what to ask, and what to steer clear from is very important. Focus on the career path for the position, the training provided, and growth opportunities. Stay away from immediate questions about vacation, flex time and holidays. Also, read the latest headlines before walking out the door to be ready for a discussion on light current events.