How not to lose that job in 2 minutes

  | James Innes

How not to lose your dream job in 2 minutes

Candidates cannot win a job within 2 minutes – but they can lose one!

Interviews are widely regarded as a stressful experience. A determined candidate may spend hours, researching a company, its service and products, preparing strong answers to tough interview questions, and creating mental lists of things to ask. Sadly, for many candidates, all this effort and mental anguish is in vain, as they lose all hope of getting the job they want before the interview has barely started! Numerous studies have shown that interviewers make their mind up about a person within the first 2 minutes, no matter how long the interview lasts.

To ensure they create a strong first impression, the wise candidate:

Turns up on time. Being late to an interview is a cardinal sin, as it casts immediate doubt on your suitability and professionalism. Allow plenty of time to get there, research public transport timetables and walking distances, know to which building or office you need to go.

Is well-groomed. Research studies show that 73% of all employers regard proper grooming as a strong influence on how they perceive a candidate. Shower before you go and use deodorant. Nobody with body odour succeeds at an interview. Make sure nails are clean and trimmed, and hair has been washed and brushed. Shoes need to be cleaned. Perfume or aftershave can be worn but apply lightly. Don’t overpower the interviewer! Ladies should be sparing with their jewellery.

Dresses appropriately. Whilst jobs in certain industries such as media, IT, and design, are associated with casual wear, never assume dress codes don’t apply. Research a prospective employer in advance and, if necessary, ring and ask about appropriate dress before your interview. If you are interviewing for a role in one of the traditional professions, such as law or accountancy, a suit or tailored jacket is a must, along with shirt and tie for men, or a well-pressed blouse for a woman. Make sure clothes are clean and ironed.

Gives a good handshake. For many interviewers, a candidate who gives a weak or limp handshake is at an immediate disadvantage, as it telegraphs nervousness and a lack of confidence. A firm handshake accompanied by direct eye contact with the interviewer, on the other hand, implies confidence and the ability to manage stress. But don’t go too far! You are not in a trial of strength with the interviewer, so don’t try and crush their hand.

If you pay attention to these key tips, you are much more likely to make that key strong first impression, and the interviewer will be ready to hear what you have to say. Then all that hard work and research may come into play. Neglect these basics, however, and you have wasted your time and the interviewers.

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