In past blogs we have discussed preparing for the interview and some of the questions that you might get at interviews. When the subject of interviews comes up in discussion we are often asked “How do I make a good impression at the interview? I’m really nervous, I don’t know what to wear, I am from another country, are Australian interviews different?

Making a good Impression: First impressions are important. At an interview you only have a short window of opportunity to impress. You have your answers ready but how do you shine? You are on notice from the time you walk into the company and greet the receptionist, so ensure you appear confident, smile and look calm. A couple of deep breaths while waiting to go into the interview room will help to control the nerves and centre you. When entering the room smile and walk confidently to the chair. Make sure to close the door behind you if it has not been done.

When it comes to shaking hands, take your cue from the interviewer. If they put their hand out shake it, if not just acknowledge the introductions and sit down. When you are seated place any bags on the floor – if you have documents, a copy of your resume, place them on the table if there is one near you or on the floor. Don’t balance on your lap as you don’t want to be distracted by papers slipping off.

During the interview your non-verbal behaviour is important. Interviewers will pick up on non verbal behaviour that indicates nerves, unease or does not match the verbal points. Sit comfortably upright in the chair – do not slouch. Lean forward when making points to emphasise your point. Use appropriate gestures to reinforce your answers. Avoid fidgeting with jewellery or watches or fingers as this will indicate nervousness or even that you are unsure of your answers. Avoid crossed arms or legs as this may indicate being defensive or having a closed mind.

Maintain eye contact with the interviewer. This will include the interviewer in what you are saying – it will also indicate to the interviewer that you are believable. If you avoid eye contact or your eyes are flicking nervously around it will give a perception that you are nervous or even that you may not be completely truthful or sincere. If you are uneasy about looking directly into people’s eyes then a good tip is to look to one side of the face or just above their eyes. You will still give the impression that you are looking at them but it will be less daunting for you.

Handling the nerves: Preparation will help. Practise the interview – have someone be the interviewer and go through the process with you. It will help when you actually enter the real interview. Visualisation techniques can assist – go through the interview process in your mind. Think about what you will do and say. See yourself performing confidently. As mentioned some deep breathing just before going into the interview will help to settle the nerves. Be early, give yourself plenty of time to prepare and settle yourself. There is nothing worse than arriving late all hot and bothered.

These are some tips to handle first impressions and nerves. I have run out of time this morning to discuss dressing for the interview and tips for Australian interviews. I will discuss these next week.

Remember first impressions are important – give yourself the opportunity to shine at the interview.

Trish @Trischel

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