First impressions count.
This is more than just a cliché, especially when it comes to your job interview. And by first impressions, I do mean first impressions. Though you may not yet have met your interviewer or entered the interview room, you’re being evaluated by a prospective employer from the moment you set foot on their property. So be prepared, be confident and above all else, be professional. Leave your laid back, weekends-wearing-sweat-pants self in the car, along with any mannerisms or attitudes that go with it.
The Importance of Image
People create an impression of you within five to 30 seconds of your initial introduction. And 70 percent of organizations have ruled out job candidates based on inappropriate behaviour exhibited before or during a job interview.
You may not think your appearance while sitting in a waiting room apply, but think again. Body language is a leading factor in the overall impression you create. A recent Stamford University study on successful interpersonal communication revealed that:
- What you say accounts for 10 percent of your success.
- Your tone of voice follows at 20 percent.
- Body language and image lead the way, at an astounding 70 percent.
The Best Waiting Room Etiquette
It’s natural to be nervous while waiting for your interview to begin, but at the same time, it’s essential to maintain a positive attitude and a confident, professional appearance. Keep these tips in mind:
- Treat everyone you meet with courtesy and respect. This starts with parking lot attendants, security and front desk personnel. You never know who you may be talking to – and word spreads quickly, especially when it concerns a potential new team member.
- Make eye contact. Otherwise, you may give the impression that you’re hiding something, lying or lacking confidence.
- Wait to be told to take a seat – and where. Then say thank you. Once seated, don’t fidget or slouch. Sitting up straight not only makes you appear more self-assured, but it also aids breathing and thus eases your nerves.
- While awaiting your interview, do not: Chew gum, smoke or ask for the location of the smoking area. Talk on your phone, text in an obtrusive manner, eat, drink, or pace the floor. If refreshments are offered, it’s okay to accept, but be conservative. Don’t devour food as though you’ve never seen a bagel before. And you want to avoid spilling coffee or crumbs all over your newly purchased or freshly dry-cleaned interview suit.
- Smile. Offer handshakes as appropriate and use a sincere greeting with anyone you meet. Be conservative; for instance, say “It’s nice to meet you,” despite how casual the other person may be. This is not the occasion for a high five or a “Wassup?” Read the mood and follow along while remaining courteous and professional.
As you meet your prospective employer and future colleagues for the first time, it’s critical to build rapport while demonstrating that you’ll be a positive and valuable addition to the team. Make that happen … and you’re already off to a great start!
Consider working with a career coach from Employment Professionals Canada as you strategize and execute your successful job search. Give us a call today!