During each of my last two job searches, I was in contact with two different organizations aimed at helping people learn how to find a job. In addition to the networking and resume writing workshops that were offered, I took part in a job interview session, where different people in the group performed mock interviews in front of the class to be critiqued and analyzed. The analysis was always the same: advising whoever was just interviewed to imitate the interviewer’s body language, appear unanimated and professional, have a good handshake and develop the interview and build it up as it goes along. At the same time, an old myth, really a mantra generally inconsistent with what we were learning, was often repeated: you only have half a second to make an impression that will determine everything.
Recently, a post on Pop Economics discussed this issue from an economic perspective, basing it’s guidance on research and numbers, instead of an HR guru’s gut feeling.
You really do only have a tenth of a second to make a good impression.
And if that wasn’t tough enough…
- Matching tone and body posture does not help
- You can’t fake a firm handshake
- You can’t train for most of the things that will determine your good first impression
- Attractive people have a better shot at making a first good impression
Sounds pretty pessimistic. In fact, this post paints a pretty bleak picture for balding overweight men like yours truly. But there are some things you can do to help yourself:
- Show emotion – any emotion, good or bad, builds rapport
- Finding something in common, or more precisely, anything in common, helps leave a good impression
Finally, the author leaves with some sound advice: Next time you’re in an interview, take it easy: You can’t control most of what will happen anyways, so just act naturally and throw the dice.
What has your experience taught you about job interviews?