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Interview Questions – How Do I Make a Great FIRST Impression in the Interview?

“You are the Message” is the title of the book by media guru Roger Ailes.

The same thing is true on the interview. Everything you say, everything you do, contributes to the overall impression you create on the interview.

How long does it take to create a first impression?

5 minutes? 2 minutes? 1 minute?

Nope, try 10 seconds. That’s how long it takes to create an initial impression. Most of the impression is subliminal. And, once that impression is created, it takes a lot to change it.

Many of you may know that over 90% of an impression is non-verbal. Your body language and your tone of voice. Less than 10% of the initial impression is based on what you say. So, you have spent hours preparing for your interview, hoping that what you say will land you the job. It might. The preparation is important. But, equally important is paying attention to what contributes to the 90% of the initial impression.

BODY LANGUAGE: The way you present yourself physically has the most to do with creating a positive impression. Things to watch:

1) The Way You Walk: Do you stride with confidence, shoulders back, eyes straight ahead? Or do you sort of shuffle with your head down? It matters.

2) Your Posture: Do you stand straight? Nothing conveys lack of self-confidence than bad posture. Slouching connotes insecurity. So, stand tall.

3) Handshake: Connect, shake hands firmly and look the person in the eye.

4: Facial Expression: Do you smile easily? Are you relaxed or are you clenching your jaw? It’s easy to spot stress in someones face.

TONE: Your tone of voice matters. In fact, tone of voice is almost 40% of how a first impression is created. So, make sure you don’t sound nervous, forced, or even worse, cocky or arrogant. Leave the sarcasm at home.

You’ll want to sound sincere, confident and sure. Don’t be sing-songy.

The best way to figure out whether your “tone” needs work is to do a mock interview with a friend and tape it. It can be video or audio. Or you can even practice and tape alone, by answering questions you think you might be asked. Listen to the tape when you are done. How do you sound? Flat? Inspired? Bored? Nervous? Tone conveys a lot. Sometimes all it takes is a little energy in your tone. Practice moving around when you speak and see how that changes your tone. In the interview, all it might take is leaning forward or pressing your heels into the ground, anything that might help you get some physical energy expressed. Experiment in the privacy of your home. Practice. Practice out loud. It might feel silly. That’s OK. Do it any way.

WORDS: The most ironic part is that statistically, words constitute only 7% of your initial impression. Yet, we stress and worry about the correct thing to say. I’m not suggesting that words are not important. It does matter what you say and how you express things, but just know that words are not the only thing. I encourage all my clients to practice answering possible questions BEFORE they get to the interview.

Pay attention to these three things — body language, tone, and words

— and you’ll be successful in creating that important first impression!

And if you enjoyed these interview tips, I invite you to download two FREE Interview Mini-Coaching sessions — to help you answer two of the toughest questions. Just go to http://www.TheVirtualCareerCoachBonus.com

You can listen online or receive MP3 files that you can download onto your iPod so that you can listen anytime. Each coaching session lasts about 15 minutes. And, it’s FREE! Enjoy.

From Leslie Evans Thorne — The Virtual Career Coach

BoomersNextStep Guest Author

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