First Impression Interviewing Fail

Interviewing is a highly stressful situation. As the interviewee, you feel like the interviewer has all the power. If you have been job seeking for more than a few months, it may be difficult to feel confident. The voice in your head tells you this interview is just another firing squad of questions which will bring no results. Our self-esteem is fragile and we become vulnerable.

These mindset gremlins contribute to many job seekers making one very simple fail in their first impression- the barrier!

When we are feeling vulnerable or less confident, it is natural to protect ourselves. (The more times you have been unsuccessful, the easier it is to fall into this trap.) As humans, we want to protect our emotions and well-being. Physically, we do this by protecting our torso which is where our vital organs are and where we feel emotional- the heart. We cover our torso in what I call “the barrier.” Our resume folder or notebook is held across our chest when you stand up in the lobby on first greeting.

A purse or briefcase crossing the body is another layer coming between you and your interviewer. Do not undermine your confidence by creating subconscious barriers between yourself and the interviewer.

Keep “stuff” at a minimum during an interview.

If you have a notebook and pen, hold them in your left hand so you are open for the hand shake. Keep to one briefcase or purse which stays on the ground or hangs at your side through the first impression greeting and hand shake. If you have a coat, ask the receptionist if you can hang it up. If not, leave the coat on your chair until after the greeting.

Barriers are perceived as you hiding something, protecting something or simply that you are less organized or sloppy. In the interview process, you can not risk making a poor first impression by something as silly as a notebook.

When seated, put your notebook on the table or on the ground at your side until something comes up which you need to write down. Don’t hold anything on your lap because this will inhibit your natural movement and makes you look less confident.

You have remembered to smile, keep eye contact, stand straight and not cross your arms—don’t let your “stuff” sabotage your interview from the start.

Want more great interviewing body language training?

There are many more moments where subconscious behavior tanks interviews. Learn how to read your interviewer’s body language to answer questions the way they want to hear it! Join Moving Image on July 19 10:30-12:30 CST live or virtually for the Mastering Interviewing Body Language Seminar.