Want to know the secret to getting a leg up on your competition during a job interview? It’s all about how you handle the initial meeting with the hiring manager, also known as “The Hello.” Studies have shown that everything from the handshake to the smile of the initial hello shapes the way that hiring managers think of candidates during the interview. Here is the advice you need to nail “The Hello” and get your interview off in the right direction:
Be Smiling Before “The Hello” Commences
People want to interact with others who seem positive and happy, and there is no better way to show this off than your smile. If your natural resting face is anything less than smiling and enthusiastic, practice and be aware of how you carry yourself from the moment you drive onto the parking lot. You never know who is going to see you or when, and it may be too late to put on a big smile if you wait until your name is called in the lobby.
Let Eye Contact Show Your Confidence
Eye contact is important to maintain throughout the interview, as it shows you are engaged and confident in your abilities. This engagement needs to be shown from the very start. When the hiring manager first comes to greet you, try to lock eyes before you start your handshake. If you have a bad habit of not making eye contact during conversations, train yourself by doing it with people you deal with on a daily basis. A couple of hours of looking people in the eye as you talk will reverse your bad habit and make it a regular part of your conversations.
Squeeze… But Don’t Crush: Find the Right Balance for Your Handshake
The perfect handshake is all about finding the right balance: it needs to be firm, but not so hard that it feels crushing. As you approach for the shake, remember to keep smiling warmly and make confident eye contact. Connect with palm to palm contact instead of just reaching for the fingers. Keep the grip for one or two pumps, and then release. As with other aspects of your job interview, practice your handshake with friends and family, and be willing to hear advice from those who give plenty of handshakes throughout their workday. If your palms get sweaty when you’re nervous, consider keeping a hanky in your purse or pocket so you can give your palm an unobtrusive wipe before you meet the hiring manager.