How to Conduct Yourself During an Interview
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A job interview is your opportunity to make a great first impression and demonstrate your poise, sincerity and respect. Demonstrating personal likability and positive mannerisms can have as much or more influence on the hiring decision than what is listed on your resume. A hiring manager assesses your talents and abilities relative to the needs of a position, but will also look at your attitudes and behavior as projected in the way you conduct yourself.
It may sound like a cliche, but the first few moments of an interview carry lots of weight in the hiring manager's impression of you. Walk in with a friendly smile, a warm greeting and firm, professional handshake to get things off on the right foot. Engage the interviewer in some friendly conversation by complimenting his office decor or a recent company accomplishment. You might also bring up a current event, such as a major sporting event, to potentially uncover a mutual interest.
In many cases, interviewers want to see how well you handle yourself on the hot seat. This is especially true in jobs that require grace under pressure, such as sales, paralegal work or teaching. Some amount of nervousness is normal in an interview. Making small talk and taking a few deep but not overly obvious breaths at the onset can help alleviate the jitters. Sit with a relaxed but firm posture, maintain eye contact and smile.
You may spend hours researching a job, preparing your answers and rehearsing with a friend. However, the hiring manager wants to see you as a sincere, genuine person, rather than a robot reciting a script. Remain engaged with the interviewer and answer questions concisely and honestly.
Politeness and Respect
The line between confidence and arrogance is a fine one. If you act too much like you deserve the job, the hiring manager may view you as disrespectful. Show basic politeness and courtesy in your mannerisms and answers. Don't interrupt or talk over the interviewer. Don't mess with items on his desk. Avoid any types of disrespectful or abrasive answers or potentially controversial topics. Thank the interviewer for his time and ask some insightful questions about the job that show a genuine interest.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.