By Elizabeth Ndembei
Your CV is nothing short of perfect and so is your Cover Letter. When you get that phone call inviting you for an interview, you are not surprised. You’ve prepared well, practiced your interview questions, chosen the perfect outfit and you believe you are now ready.
We all know that interviewers will always acknowledge our attire immediately they set eyes on us. But here are many other things, they will also take note of during an interview. Before you even say “hello”, interviewers can already make sense of your character.
That which you don’t say also counts in your interview; your arrival time, your outfit, your non-verbal communications are also under review. Your attitude and enthusiasm towards the position will be quickly screened by the way you behave in an interview.
Here Are 5 Top Things Interviewers Take Notice of When They Meet You
1. Your Appearance
Your outfit during an interview will always leave an impression, positive or negative. It’s all dependent on you. You already have that outfit you always wear when going for an interview because it’s official and comfortable. Looking the part is not just about wearing a sharp suit, killer shoes or drowning yourself in a bottle of perfume, it’s about paying close attention to details.
If you look like you need a shave in two days, do it now. Your nail polish is all chipped off, fix it. “Don’t wear heavy jewelry and visible piercings, go as professional as possible, groom well to impress the interviewer and boost your confidence”, advises Carolyne Kariuki, Recruitment Manager at Corporate Staffing Services.
2. Arrival Time
We receive calls from candidates apologizing for being late because of “traffic”. You were told your interview will be at 10:00 am but you decide to be the traffic commandant of the day and say there will be no traffic and leave Embakasi at 9:00 am for an interview in Westlands at 10:00 am good luck!
Arrive on time; be there 10-15 minutes before time. “Being early goes a long way to show that you are professional and that your time management skills are on point”, says Ms. Carolyne. Never make an interviewer wait for you, it goes to show you are lazy and lack discipline in the workplace.
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3. Body Language
Body language will always communicate more than what you have to say verbally. When meeting the interviewer, offer a firm handshake matching that of the recruiter. Don’t slouch in your chair or look too relaxed, carry yourself with confidence. When called in, remember to knock the door as this shows you are disciplined.
Always try to maintain eye contact when listening and answering interview questions, but don’t stare. Maintaining eye contact shows that you are attentive and confident. Don’t cross your hands or legs, especially if it will be visible and don’t fidget with your hands out of tension and/or nervousness. “Don’t play with pens, hair or jewelry, use hand gestures when communicating, but also, don’t be too dramatic”, warns Ms.Carolyne.
A positive attitude is a key aspect in an interview. Your attitude speaks to how you can mingle with your colleagues and handle things in the workplace. Don’t be overwhelmed by the questions and the probing that comes your way, be calm and composed. This will go a long way in showing that you can handle the pressure. Smile gently time after time, you don’t want to come out too bored or so uptight.
“Show your flexibility, how much are you willing to trade for the organizational culture and goals? Let it come out clearly and confidently. If you have any reservations to the conditions, wait till you are being offered the job to address them”, advises Carolyne Kariuki, Recruitment Manager at Corporate Staffing Services.
5. Empty Fillers
We all use them! Empty fillers are those “um’s” “ah’s” and the “eh’s” we always use in conversations when we are not sure or trying to buy time to think things out. During an interview, you want to avoid the empty fillers as they make you look unsure, nervous or unprepared. When preparing for an interview, pay attention to the number of times you use such words in an ordinary conversation and what happens when you do.
When you get stuck, pause for a second and recollect your thoughts. To avoid boring the interviewer with the empty fillers, use phrases such as “that’s a great question” to buy yourself time.
Make your first impression count. I know you think these five things are petty compared to the big interview questions, but believe me when I say interviewers take notice of these and factor them in your evaluation.
Before every interview and during the interview, ensure that you pay attention to these “petty” things so the interviewer will be left to focus on your skills and qualifications. Make sure you don’t lose an opportunity because of something as basic as your outfit or arrival time.
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Looking to practice the above pointers through Interview Coaching? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a session.
The writer is a Communications Officer at Corporate Staffing Services, a leading Recruitment firm that offers CV Writing, Job Placement & Career Advice.