Students often have the misconception that the interview process starts when they shake hands with the interviewer, but in reality the interview process starts as soon as they drive into the employer’s parking lot.
The Office of Career Development recently held a workshop to inform students about how to create a lasting first impression during an interview.
The workshop, titled “Surviving the First Four Minutes of an Interview,” took place on Nov. 9 in the Lee Nursing Building Auditorium. This was the final workshop of the semester hosted by the Office of Career Development.
Presenter Dollie J. Newhouse, director of the Office of Career Development, explained to students the importance of a first impression.
“When speaking with employers, we have discovered that the interviewer has already formed an opinion of the potential employee based on their initial interaction with you before asking any questions,” Newhouse said.
The workshop addressed how students can improve their interview sessions and create a good first impression.
Tips that were given to students were to arrive on time to the interview, go alone, be polite, give a firm handshake, stay focused, have the proper body language, wear appropriate attire, and go to the interview prepared.
Students who attended the session were given examples and tips on how to give a proper handshake. The proper handshake consists of a firm hand grasp, eye contact and a smile. Improper handshakes are too firm or limp. Giving an improper handshake can make the interviewer uncomfortable or display nervousness.
Newhouse went on to explain how an improper handshake can change the atmosphere of an interview.
“It is important to avoid improper handshakes because it makes the person giving the interview uncomfortable, and it indicates immediately that the person being interviewed is nervous,” Newhouse said. “When someone is really nervous it changes the energy in the room and creates awkwardness. Creating awkwardness early on in the interview process is something that needs to be avoided. ”
Newhouse also gave advice about body language. She explained that distractions can be caused by the interviewee being visibly nervous.
She suggested that when entering an interview, the interviewee should sit at the edge of the chair. This provides better posture and a sense of attentiveness. It is also important to smile to put the interviewer at ease. Fidgeting and excessive hand gestures should be avoided, as well as crossing and re-crossing of the legs.
Junior Adam Dillihay, a marketing major, went to the event to become more informed about being prepared for an interview.
“I came to the event because I had an interview and I wasn’t sure if I did a good job during the interview,” Dillihay said. “I got the job, but I felt as if I could do better, so I came to the event so I could gain more knowledge. So when the next interview comes along, I will be better prepared.”
Senior Elisabeth Dobek, a psychology major, went out to the event to receive reassurance and to learn some new tips.
“I graduate in December, and I figure being able to conduct an interview properly will allow things to go smoother,” Dobek said.
The Office of Career Development will resume holding workshops in the spring of 2011. On Feb. 5 the Office of Career Development will be offering free practice graduate exams to any interested students. More information can be obtained by calling (843) 661-1676.