Practice For Your Job Interview With This Two-Minute Drill

Studies have shown that most people form an opinion about another's ability or competence within the first two minutes, and as much as 93% of a person's communication effectiveness is determined by style ¬ how someone comes across. In today's tight job market making a good impression is not only desirable - it is essential.

A look at a worst and a best-case scenario illustrates the point.

Worst Case

Jack is nervous about his interview as he sits in the lobby. Anyone watching can see the signs ¬ his foot is tapping rapidly, he is muttering to himself (obviously rehearsing his lines). He is slouched down in his chair. When he spots the interviewer coming down the hall he begins to wipe his sweaty hand on his pant leg. He stands, but as he does the magazine on his lap falls to the floor. When he bends to pick it up, he knocks over his portfolio and papers fall out. The interviewer stands to the side observing his behavior. She is thinking to herself, "This guy is a basket case. He doesn't look like the kind of person we want representing our product line." When Jack does pull himself together, he holds out his hand, but his handshake is weak. This interview is already headed in the wrong direction.

Best Case

Joann feels prepared and confident as she waits in the lobby for her interviewer. She knows she looks good, and, as a result, she feels good. She has practiced and prepared, and knows she can do this job. She will concentrate on selling herself as the solution to the employer's problems. As her interviewer approaches she stands and smiles looking directly in his direction. She notices the color of his eyes as she extends her hand. She gives a firm shake and smiles. "This is a very confident woman. Someone who shows real promise," is the thought going through the interviewer's mind. The first impression has been made ¬ and it is a positive one.

More Companies Using a Chef Job Interview Phone Screening

Planning and preparing before you begin to send out resumes could save you some embarrassing moments when you receive that unexpected call.

You just never know when that phone is going to ring. Let's say the phone rings just as you are about to sit down for dinner, but this time it's not a pesky telemarketer -- it's a company recruiter calling. The voice on the other end of the phone says she is calling about a resume you sent in six weeks ago. "What -- six weeks ago? I sent out 40 resumes in the past six weeks? Who exactly are you and what was the job you are calling about?" You've been caught off-guard!

The telephone "screen call" can come at any time -- day or night. Some interviewers find evenings the best time to catch people at home, where they will be able to talk more candidly. That being the case, you should be on-call and prepared to receive a telephone interview at any time.

Pesky Job Interview Questions That Keep Coming Up

Those same questions keep coming up – in every interview. They can be tough ones because they are about you and your thinking process. Preparing for them ahead of time can save you some grief during the interview.

What are your weaknesses?
The most dreaded question of all. Handle this question by minimizing the weakness and emphasizing the strengths. Stay away from personal qualities and concentrate on professional traits: "I am always working to improve my communication skills so that I can be a more effective presenter. I recently joined Toastmasters which I find very helpful."

Strategic Interview Attire

"How to dress for interview success" is a frequently requested topic in the workshops and support groups I conduct. Here are a few strategic suggestions on looking your professional best, no matter your shape, size, gender, or age:

If the job is a major step up for you: Dress the part. If that means borrowing a great watch and/or investing in a fabulous new suit and shoe leather, then do it. Don't forget to check out factory outlet and thrift shops for real deals. Be prepared to mix and match so you'll have enough outfits for multiple interviews.