Landing a new job can have as much to do with your state of mind as your resume. Use these techniques to ace your next interview.
1. Compliment, make eye contact, and connect.
In other words, “schmooze.” Studies have shown that interviewees who make positive remarks about the company, seem excited about the position, maintain eye contact, and make conversation are more impressive to their potential employers than those who spent the majority of their time touting their professional skills and accomplishments.
2. Talk (or imagine) yourself through it.
The night before an interview, or even while you’re waiting in the reception area, giving yourself an internal pep talk or visualizing yourself feeling confident and in control actually can improve your performance during the interview.
3. Work the handshake (but skip the perma-smile).
It turns out that your grandfather was right on the money—a firm handshake evokes confidence and capability, and does indeed play a part in hiring decisions. That cheesy grin plastered on your face throughout the interview, however, has the opposite effect. It’s important to smile and be enthusiastic, but make sure it comes off as genuine or risk turning off a potential employer.
4. Reveal your weaknesses up front and save your strengths ‘til the end.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but research has shown that interviewees who are honest early in the interview about things such as gaps in their work history or lack of experience in a specific area impress employers more than those who conceal weaknesses until the end, or fail to mention them at all. In contrast, starting off an interview by describing your greatest professional feats can make you seem self-promotional rather than accomplished, while closing an interview by focusing on your strengths will leave the interviewer with a positive lasting impression.
5. Make yourself memorable—in a good way.
A recently published 2011 report revealed that interviewees who offered creative answers to typical questions impressed interviewers more than those who simply stated the facts. They key is figuring out a way to make your responses stand out, while not seeming pretentious or contentious. Think novel or original rather than precocious or outright weird. And keep your “likes” and “ums” to a minimum—one study showed that interviewees who peppered their speech with such fillers were less likely to be hired than those who sounded more professional.