Lasting impressions are formed within 90 seconds of a first meeting, maybe even more quickly. When you interview for a job, focus on wowing potential bosses with your knowledge and enthusiasm — not distracting them with these annoying habits.
They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but that is exactly what happens at job interviews. It’s not just what you say, or what is on your resume or in your transcript. It’s what you do, right there in real life, face to face.
Do you have annoying mannerisms? Ask yourself — or, better yet, ask a trusted friend or family member. Hiring managers assume that if you are a little annoying at an interview, you’ll be a lot more so once you’re hired (and presumably off your guard).
Lasting impressions are formed within 90 seconds of a first meeting, maybe even more quickly. In your interview, focus on wowing potential bosses with your knowledge and enthusiasm, rather than worrying that they’re watching what you do instead of listening to what you say. Make an effort not to do any of the following at job interviews:
- Chew gum
- Twirl your hair
- Avoid eye contact (overly intense eye contact is also weird)
- Jiggle your knee
- Drum your fingers
- Sigh or yawn
- Watch the clock
- Bite your nails
- Play with your pen
- Smack your lips
- Check your cellphone (or text)
- Jingle your keys or change
- Sniffle excessively
- Kick the interviewer’s desk or chair
- Tap your feet
- Pick at, rub or scratch any part of your body
- Wave your hands while speaking
- Fiddle with your cuffs, the hem of your skirt or anything you’re wearing
- Rest your chin in your hand
- Smile too much (or not at all)
OK, you know all this; these are no-brainers. But here’s the rub: Many of these behaviors are the kinds we don’t even know we have.
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Just in case, before that next interview, go to those trusted friends/family members/advisers and ask them you if are ever guilty of any of the above. (Bet you didn’t know there were so many ways to be annoying.) Videotaping yourself is also a handy little tool. This could be the easiest, best thing you do for your job hunt.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.