Professional Presentation: How Are You Perceived in An Interview?

We’ve discussed “putting your best foot forward” many times on the PHR blog, but usually, it’s pertaining to your resume, the content of your interview, or even what you wear to an interview. However, an important aspect of interviews that isn’t mentioned nearly as often is how you behave in an interview. No, we aren’t referring to behavior in regards to being too loud, to rowdy, and so forth. Rather, we mean behaviors such as…

  • eye contact
  • strength of your handshake
  • clear, articulate speech
  • posture

These items seem insignificant, however, these traits can actually stand out in a big way when you are sitting across the table from your interviewer. If you have poor eye contact and posture, it can send the message of being too shy, or not being confident enough to fill the need of the company in question. Poor speech and failing to enunciate words correctly could cost you a job, especially if it would require you to speak to fellow employers and/or customers or clients over the phone or in person. We understand that some of these characteristics are deeply rooted, but there are ways to improve your behaviors and prepare for your next interview. How?

First, practice appearing confident. Look people in the eye when you talk to them. If speaking to a group (such as in a room with several interviewers or a team of HR staff) make sure to make momentary eye contact with each member of the team. Unless you are speaking directly to one person (such as when they have asked you a specific question), attempt to scan over the group instead of focusing on one or two people the entire time. Additionally, watch your posture! Slumped, slouchy posture (due to lack of discipline, not posture caused by medical diagnoses) not only looks unprofessional, but can make you appear smaller, and although inaccurate, can lead people to assume that you are shy, weak, etc. Sitting and walking tall are important to appearing confident, so spend time strengthening muscles needed to help you improve your posture. Finally, your handshake says a lot about you as a person. A firm, confident handshake is a great way to give a good impression to potential employers. This is easy to practice with friends or family as you prepare for your job application and interview process.

Additionally, work on your speaking skills and professional speech. This goes beyond using proper grammar and pronunciation, and extends into how you enunciate words, the speed at which you talk, and the volume of your voice. Talking too softly can make you hard to understand and can give the impassion that you are shy, while talking too loudly and too quickly makes you appear obnoxious and can be off-putting. Clear, concise speech is important when trying to sound professional!

Finally, put yourself in situations that require you to practice the above corrections on a regular basis. Let friends and/or family know that you are working on specific traits, and let them help you point out when you might need to make improvements, or what you could be doing better in regards to the behaviors in question. By taking time to prepare you are more likely to land the job you want faster.

PHR Staffing Solutions is here to help you improve your professional profile while you work on preparing yourself for your various interviews. We work to match you with compatible job openings with some of the top companies in the Central Florida area, and we will walk alongside you from building your resume, to post-hire support. We are Polk County’s trusted recruiter, and we are ready to help you get hired!