Shakespeare was right: first impressions are indeed lasting impressions, but it is still possible to gain ground at the very end of the process. So here are some simple tips to ensure the impression you leave is a positive one.
At the end of an interview you may well be asked if you have any questions. Make sure one of them is something like: “I think I’ve covered most things in our discussion but are there any aspects of the person specification you feel have not been covered by my answers? Can I fill in any gaps?” Most interviewers don’t do it regularly; they are grateful for a chance to put right any mistakes or gaps.
When the interviewer closes by saying something like “Well thanks for your time”. Respond swiftly, “Thank you – I have really enjoyed the interview today”. OK, if it’s been a disaster then maybe temper that down a bit, but really what have you got to lose? Whatever, it will make the interviewer feel better and they will associate that good feeling with… yes, you guessed it… YOU.
Stand and shake hands
At the end of the process, stand up to shake hands. It will affect the dynamic in the room making you at least an equal and making you appear confident but not aggressive. Make sure it’s a good handshake as well; neither a limp wet fish or a bone crunching arm-wrestle.
If there is an internationally accepted means of communication, it’s this. Smiling. It says more than words and builds on the Thank you, and the Handshake. It’s the simplest thing and does not have to be a lengthy grin that lasts all the way to the door of the main building, just for that final eye contact and turning to head for the door.
Shake and smile again
If you are accompanied beyond the door of the interview office/location, then shake hands again and smile again when you reach the actual parting point. Perhaps somewhat more briefly than before. Touch is powerful – don’t miss the chance to re-inforce it’s power.
Do these things work? Well maybe not if everyone did them, and you do still have to have the right qualifications, experience and abilities. But it could make the difference between you being the appointed candidate or a close second; or making the final short-list or not!