Do you know how much time you have to win over a hiring manager when you interview for a job? It isn’t much, according to an Accountempts survey in which 60 percent of human resources managers polled said they form a positive or negative opinion of a job candidate in the first ten minutes or less of an interview.
Some form those impressions even more quickly, with about one in five (18 percent) saying they draw conclusions in five minutes or less during an interview.
The survey findings are based on telephone interviews with more than 500 HR managers at US companies with 20 or more employees.
“Candidates are under scrutiny from the moment they arrive for an interview,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Job Hunting Kit For Dummies, 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).
“Job seekers should convey their professionalism, including through their body language, and be able to quickly highlight the value they bring to the organization using a well-honed elevator pitch.”
Accountemps offers five tips for getting the job interview off to a good start:
- Pay attention to the details. Extend a firm handshake, maintain eye contact and present a professional image. This includes ensuring your shoes are shined, clothing is pressed, and nails are clean and trimmed.
- Ace the likely questions. Make sure you know how you will respond to predictable questions, such as, “Can you tell me a little about yourself?” Research the firm before your interview and tap your network for their insights to enable you to couch your answers in the context of how you can help the company.
- Don’t be cocky. Strike the right balance between presenting your accomplishments in a positive light and coming across as overly confident. Being arrogant is one of the worst mistakes a candidate can make.
- Tell memorable stories. Give specific examples of how and why you’ve been successful. You’ll make a positive impression on hiring managers by sharing interesting anecdotes about how you solved a tough business problem or saved an employer money.
- Be yourself. Avoid coming across as overly rehearsed. Interviewers want to get a sense of your personality and how you would fit into the office culture.
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