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  • RB Kelly

What To Do In The First 5 Seconds Of Your Job Interview

Updated: Feb 22, 2019

When walking into an interview, your nonverbal communication makes a first impression long before you get a chance to speak.


But, most people focus on WHAT to say, and completely ignore HOW TO SAY it.


That's a mistake - and for some people, that mistake costs them the interview.


People will judge you by your nonverbal communication before you ever have a chance to make your case verbally, so it's crucial to be certain that you know what your nonverbal communication is saying.


Here are the most important nonverbal signals to focus on:

1. Your Walk. People can read your mood, sex, and comfort level just from the way you walk, so make sure that your walk is showing confidence and comfort when you enter the room.  When people are anxious and stressed, their walk is tight, tense, and hunched. When you're relaxed and comfortable, your gait is purposeful and expansive. Use your stride to broadcast comfort, ease, and confidence as you enter the room. 

2. Your Posture. Your parents were right - you do need to stand up straight. Do that now. Straighter. Straighter. Keep straightening until your posture would make the Queen of England proud. Then relax your shoulders, so you look more comfortable. Your posture tells people if you're a winner who can handle anything life throws at you, or a loser who's in a really bad slump. People like to hire winners, so make sure your posture broadcasts just how capable you are. 

3. Your Eye Contact. When we're intimidated, nervous, or haughty, we avoid eye contact with the other person. You don't want your interviewer to associate those ideas with you, so make sure to make eye contact! If you're a reader in the United States or Canada, it's typical to make eye contact for 2/3 of the conversation. If you're in Asia, then 1/3 or less is more typical. Your eye contact should focus on the eyes, but can frequently wander down to the nose, mouth, cheeks, or chin. This makes your eye contact feel engaging, instead of like an intimidating stare-down. 

4. Your Friend Signals. When we someone we like and are truly happy to see, we'll send one or more 'friend signals' to let them know we're happy to see them and we're not a threat. Those friend signals include smiles, head tilts, eyebrow flashes (typically women) and chin nods (typically men). Be sure to send 1 or 2 friend signals to the interviewer/potential client/boss as soon as you enter the room, as this will make them feel special and make them like you more. 

5. Your Hands. You must make eye contact before, during, and after the handshake. Don't make them feel ignored as you stare at the floor and thrust your hand out at them.  An excellent handshake is one of your best marketing tools. Handshakes that are too firm, too limp, too long, and too short can leave a nasty impression, so be sure your handshake is firm, dry, and lasts for 2-3 seconds long. Make sure to follow the other person's lead, because they happen to think they have a wonderful handshake, and if you mimic that handshake, they'll think YOU have a wonderful handshake, too! 


If you follow these cues, you'll make a fabulous first impression on the interviewer in the first 5 seconds.


After that, you just have to live up to the hype!


Want some expert feedback? I've worked with transitioning veterans, military spouses, engineers, researchers, and factory-workers to help them ace the interview and get the job of their dreams. I currently enjoy a 100% placement rate for my job interview coaching clients.


Do you want to look like the #1 most eligible candidate when you walk into the interview? Take a minute to set up a consultation with me to learn more about job interview body language, to discover your unique body language habits, and get concrete strategies for making your new body language habits easy and comfortable.


Your interviewer will believe your body language, not your resume. Are you 100% confident you're sending the right nonverbal signals?


Too shy for a 1:1 conversation? You can still get some good tips for getting the job of your dreams in this video:


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