The single thing that's crucial for job interview success...

The single thing that's crucial for job interview success...

If there's one thing which can make or break your job interview success, it's the impression you make as soon as you walk in through the door. 

The evidence is clear, with study after study confirming that people form opinions of others within seconds of seeing them. Some studies show that this takes place within a fraction of a second! 

And although most people claim they don't judge others, they do. Why? Because it's a survival mechanism–we wouldn't be here today if we and our ancestors hadn't made snap judgements. I'm sure you'd agree, at some point you've crossed the road or altered your direction to avoid an iffy looking character. 

Most of these judgements take place on a subconscious level. However, in an interview, interviewers are there to make judgements, so both the conscious and subconscious are at play. 

 

Confirmation Bias

 

Research has also found that once these snap judgements have been made, they are very difficult to change, due to something called confirmation bias. In a nutshell, this means people work to back up their initial perceptions, making it almost impossible to reverse the opinion.

If you make a bad impression, everything you say and do after that will be seen in a negative light. Whereas if you've made a good impression, everything you do and say will be seen in a more positive light and most mistakes will be cast aside. 

While the thought of these snap judgements can be daunting, realising the power of the first impression can be empowering. Especially for introverts and people who feel less confident. Because it means we have a small window to focus effort, and when we do, we can disproportionately sway the perceptions of the interviewers–as an introvert, I rejoice at this opportunity.

What's more, there are small alterations which we can make to our body language and expression, to come across as being more trustworthy, confident and competent. Trust and competence are critical factors we subconsciously seek out when we meet someone for the first time. Research has found this is universal, across all humans, regardless of culture. 

I'll explain how in our next Interview with Impact workshop. 

 

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