You know you need to make a solid first impression during your interview. You may not have realized, however, that it can make or break your chances of landing the job.
Unless there has been no application vetting process whatsoever, interviewers already know plenty about who you are from your resume, background checks, and social media investigations.
Interviewers have also ranked you among other candidates that they will meet with for the same opportunity, according to Phil Rosenberg. For this reason, the purpose of the interview is for employers to confirm that you really want the job, that you can back up your success stories from your resume and apply them to their problems, and that you are a solid cultural fit for the organization.
So how do you instantly connect with your interviewer, and let them know that you are the right fit for the team? Here are 6 quick and easy ways to make a solid impression.
Non Verbal Cues
A solid handshake, good posture, eye contact, and a smile are critical. These will be your very first interactions with your interviewer, so make them count! Come Recommended reports that interviewers know if you are the right fit for the job within 90 seconds. If you can’t appear like-able during this minute and a half, chances are high that the interview will fall flat for the remaining 28 and a half.
Match Their Energy
After a few minutes, you should be able to get a good read of your interviewer’s energy. “You can notice the speed at which they talk” said Executive Coach, Susan Bernstein in a recent Online Class. Take note if they have a slow, laborious and pensive tempo in their speech, or a much faster and energetic patter. “Match them as best you can,” says Bernstein, “this brings resonance between people – they feel more in alignment.” This can apply to your physical gestures too. Some people tend to emote through hand gestures, arm movements, etc. Be sure to apply these techniques to phone or Skype interviews as well!
But whatever you do – don’t over do it. You don’t want to get to the point where you feel uncomfortable as you try and match their style. And also don’t try to over-match their energy, or else it will feel like you are trying to one-up, or even mock them!
Ask Questions to Get Them Talking
Want to make the interviewer feel warm and fuzzy inside? Take a page out of Dale Carnegie’s book: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” – “talk to someone about themselves and they will listen for hours.” If you open them up and get them to talk about how their day is going, what they did, what problems they are facing, they will talk your ear off. Which is a good thing in an interview. The more the interviewer reveals, the more fodder you have to talk about how you can help them with their problems.
Find Common Bonds
Go ahead and do some snooping around online before the interviewer. Bernstein recommends visiting the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile. See which companies they worked for and where they were located, what university did they attend, what interests do they have (sports, groups, affinities, etc.)? These are great opportunities to build rapport, and have you in mind as someone they would want to be working with day to day.
Captivate them With Stories
One of the best ways to engage any listener is through stories. “When you are interviewing with someone you don’t know, you want to help bring them in to your world” says Bernstein. Paint visual pictures to transport the interviewer out of the room, and into your story where you made a big impact.
Pretend you Have the Job Already
This doesn’t mean relax and feel all high and mighty! Bernstein recommends using ‘Future Forecasting’ to illustrate how you would work with the interviewer, or their team.
Simply stating what you achieved at your previous company only illustrates what you have done for them. Instead, introduce phrases such as “If I were lucky enough to be hired to work with you…” then follow by illustrating how your role with the team, and the company would look. You want them to be able to visualize you on the job.
What projects do you envision you would be leading or supporting, and how would you be handling them? What levels of success do you imagine you would achieve together?