It’s hard to get a job. It’s even more difficult if you are not well connected. That said, if you get to the interview stage you can control whether or not you get the job by behaving in the right way. The below tips will influence whether or not you get the job.
If you believe that you are a worthy candidate, it will show in your interview. Doing your research will help to build your confidence; don’t underestimate the competition; there are many high quality candidates out there.
Finally, there is a thin line between confidence and arrogance; don’t cross it. A whiff of arrogance and your interviewer will do their damnedest to make it a ‘challenging’ interview.
2. Smile even as you speak
It makes you seem more likeable and will help to build a rapport with the interviewer. Smile at someone and most of the time they smile back!
Give a firm handshake at the start and at the end
A firm handshake is the only physical contact that takes place (or should take place) between interviewer and interviewee and can set the tone for the rest of the interview.
Some research argues that lightly patting the elbow of the person whose hand you’re shaking with your free hand is helpful in building a rapport. You might have seen politicians doing this on TV.
Why does the handshake matter?
According to Paul G. Mattiuzzi, Ph.D., research has shown that your handshake actually reflects certain personality characteristics and can make a real difference in certain settings, e.g. interviews and business meetings. Furthermore, research also suggests handshakes might be a bigger self-promotion engine for women than for men.
He quotes an article by University of Alabama psychologists, William F. Chaplin et al, published in 2000 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. In this study a panel was trained to recognize and classify: completeness of grip, temperature, dryness, strength, duration, vigor, texture, and eye contact. At a high level, there was a close correlation between the handshakes that were classified as creating a ‘good impression’ versus a ‘poor impression’.
When matched up against personality, those with a firm handshake were found to be the same people that were extroverted and more open to new experiences. The rest were more anxious and shy. The benefit of a firm handshake was found to be stronger for women because women were less likely to give one so the ones that did stood out more.
That concludes my tips for this piece. Next week I will give you four more tips on how to do well in interviews plus a description of what a bad handshake looks like.
“People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.” Andrew Carnegie
For 2 years until early 2014 I wrote a weekly personal finance and business column for Malawi's leading media house, The Times Group. The target is middle-class, working African women.
This is a reproduction of the articles that appeared in the weekend edition of Malawi News.