Ace That Job Interview: Spoken & Body Language

I spent 25 years as manager of a 30-person creative division in a large company. In that time, I interviewed at least 700 job applicants, and hired more than 40. Of course, resumés, education and experience were important, but body and spoken language were also critical factors.

Consider a typical scenario when applicants learn about a job that could be an opportunity of a lifetime. You’re determined to do everything right. Compose a fantastic application letter and killer resumé. Get it out quickly and score an interview.

When the day arrives, consider ways to make your pitch for the job the best possible. As you sit down with the interviewer, create a positive image. If applying for a job at the local garage or construction site, you may not be expected to show up looking like a Wall Street executive.

However, even for jobs that don’t require business attire, applicants won’t go wrong by dressing their best. Basic neatness in clothing, grooming and other factors always assures a positive start of the interview.

Extreme jewelry, piercing, large tattoos, wild hair color and bizarre clothing may immediately turn off the interviewer. Is this applicant looking for a job or pushing an extreme social or political statement that will disrupt our daily workplace?

When you begin the interview, sit up straight, look the interviewer in the eye and be prepared to answer questions with a positive attitude. Slouching, mumbling and evasiveness will guarantee you won’t get the job.

Spoken language is as critical as body language. Be sure grammar and pronunciation are correct. When the interviewer asks specific questions, answer quickly and clearly. Do research before the interview, so you can respond intelligently to specific questions about the company and products.

Don’t volunteer extra information nor offer other unnecessary talk. A businesslike attitude will be appreciated, because the busy interviewer may have other applicants waiting.

The interviewer will let you know when the session is ended. Get up promptly, offer brief words of appreciation and leave. If you’ve aced the interview, expect a call to schedule a starting date, or for another session with company executives.

If not contacted in a week, you shouldn’t accept failure yet. Follow up with a phone call or email to the interviewer. Again offer thanks for the opportunity, and ask if more information is required.

Not every interview is for the job of a lifetime, but each should be considered as if it were. Along with experience and a strong resumé, effective body and spoken language are the keys to success in acing the interview.

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