I recently had an interview for a position as an Architectural Technician for which I am absolutely qualified! I prepared diligently for this perfect job opportunity with the employment counsellor, job developer and friends. I practiced my presentation to death. I attended the interview skills workshop to reinforce my performance, and to make sure I didn’t miss a beat. To top it off, I received immediate feedback from the interviewer from the HR department that “You did a great job”.
I left the interview feeling hopeful and was sure to receive a job offer soon. Unfortunately, I did not get it! I was shocked. When I asked for feedback, the HR manager was vague at first, but I practically begged her to be honest. She said that I didn’t seem like I was interested in the job. I kept looking around the room and rarely looked at her. As painful as this was for me to hear, I was grateful for her honesty.
Do you have any suggestions as to how I can learn to make a better impression in the interview so I can get the job offer?
Signed: Honesty is Painful Sometimes (HPS)
Kudos to you for at least getting an interview. You are very lucky that the HR interviewer gave you some critical feedback, which can make a huge difference in your success with securing employment in your field!
Not all communication is verbal, posits Oscar Adler (2008) in his fantastic book “Sell Yourself in Any Interview: Use Proven Sales Techniques to Land Your Dream Job”. He adds that ideas and information can be communicated through gestures, facial expressions, attention, level, and many other nonverbal cues. According to Adler, this nonverbal communication and cues often speak louder than words!
According to the research of the famous 60’s psychologist Albert Mehrabian, people communicate only 7% of their feelings and attitudes in actual spoken words, 38% is the speaking tone and 55% is body language. This means that 93% of communication is nonverbal!
This information is important for your interview. According to Cynthia Shapiro in What Does Somebody Have to Do to Get a Job Around Here?: 44 Insider Secrets That Will Get You Hired (2008), hiring managers hire a person with whom they have experienced a personal connection and they feel comfortable.
You can make a positive impression and connection with the interviewer through nonverbal communication cues which is the trick to many job offers – does the interviewer like you? Some questions to ponder (mentioned in the JVS Toronto Job Search Workshop on Interview Skills) are:
- Evaluate your voice tone: is it a weak whisper or are you clear, confident and using a moderate tone?
- Is your handshake firm and confident or is it a loose arm?
- Consider your appearance: are you dressed appropriately?
- Assess your body language and eye contact:
- Are you looking at the person you are speaking to with positive eye contact and a smile?
- Are you slouching or fidgeting?
- Do you appear interested?
- Do you sit upright and lean slightly forward in your chair (recommended)?
- Do you wait to be offered a seat or ask where he or she would like you to sit (recommended)?
- Evaluate the physical space between you and the interviewer:
- Is there room between you when communicating in the interview?
- Are you right next to him or her (not recommended), or an arm’s length away (recommended)?
- Think through how do you discuss yourself: do you speak positively, confidently and demonstrate that you are listening by nodding?
- Do you take a couple of minutes to close the interview with a handshake, thank the interviewer and demonstrate enthusiasm for the position?
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