It may not be possible to get a job within the first few minutes of an interview but you can certainly lose one in that time. According to our latest employment monitor, over 80% of hiring managers make a decision on a candidate in less than five minutes. Those snap decisions are likely to be made based on the same criteria.
Every hiring manager will notice four main criteria before you even start talking. It’s vital that you get each of these right to give yourself the best chance at interview.
This should be obvious but we still see candidates who look uncomfortable, uninterested or downright unhappy at interviews. Enthusiasm for the role is one of the key characteristics an employer looks for in a new hire. They want you to want the job and be excited at the prospect of working for them, the first step in communicating that enthusiasm is to smile.
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of body language and eye contact in an interview. The interviewer will know nothing about your communication skills before the interview. If you spend the entire interview staring at your shoes, they will assume that’s how you always communicate. That kind of behaviour doesn’t inspire confidence and makes it more difficult for the hiring manager to engage with you.
Just like eye contact, the handshake will carry a lot of meaning for a hiring manager. A weak handshake implies that you are meek or disinterested, but squeeze too hard and you come across as aggressive or overbearing. A quick, firm handshake usually does the trick and allows you to get on with the more important part of the interview.
Like a firm handshake, your clothes should register as appropriate and instantly lose all relevance to the interview. If an interviewer comes away thinking about your clothes more than your skills you are unlikely to be successful. As a rule of thumb, your interview attire should be a little smarter than the standard dress code in the office.
These may seem like minor, even trivial, factors but they could be the difference between success and failure at interview stage. It’s human nature to prefer talking to someone who smiles, dresses appropriately, makes eye contact and a comfortable handshake. Hiring managers and interviewers are human and if you want them to see your potential as an employee, you need to get past those issues first.