It's tough, when you've been out of work for a while, to muster the energy and focus for a job interview. Which reminds me of guy who was painting graffiti on a wall in Palm City, Fla. Turns out that midway through his artistic endeavor or vandalism, depending on how you see it, he ran out of purple paint. So he left a message taped to the wall explaining what had happened to "Solo," his title for his project.
Police say he'll face criminal charges if they find him. And like him, leaving your performance incomplete in a job interview can get you in hot water. I've included three Do's and one Don't below to help you finish the job in your next interview. For more, check out Jeffrey G. Allen's book "Instant Interviews" (Wiley, 2009).
-- DO make direct eye contact. People who fail to make direct eye contact often come across as shifty, with something to hide. So even if you are a shifty person with something to hide, train yourself to look right into their eyes. If that sounds unnerving, Allen makes an interesting suggestion: Look at the spot between their eyes.
-- DO smile. Smiling really matters more than most of us realize. I used to have a photo attached to this column that I really liked. But I wasn't smiling, and people would write to me about it. Then I replaced it with a smiling photo, and the reaction was totally different. Smiling matters. One trick you should try is to practice smiling in front of a mirror. Maybe it sounds silly, but anything that increases your smile ratio is worth the time and trouble.
-- DO greet people by name. We've all met the annoying people who keep repeating your name when they first meet you -- are all you insurance agents and car salespeople out there listening? But just because people practice annoying name-learning techniques doesn't mean that we should all just nod at each other anonymously. Learn people's names and use them. You'll notice that most people really appreciate your acknowledgment of them.
-- DON'T wimp out on the handshake. It sounds like a cliche, but a firm handshake really sends a message of strength and confidence. On the other hand, dead fish handshakes just make most people want to keep their hands in their pocket. And this isn't just something for men; women need to learn how to give a confident handshake as well. It's no different than the old rule about how you get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice.
Follow these tips and you won't be going solo for long; you'll be hired after your next interview.
YOU LOST ME AT HELLO: JOB INTERVIEW SUCCESS TIPS, EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
-- DO make direct eye contact.
-- DO smile.
-- DO greet people by name.
-- DON'T wimp out on the handshake.
LIST OF THE WEEK
From Associated Press
Retirement -- Are You Kidding Me?
-- 82 percent of those 50 and older expect to work during retirement.
-- 39 percent say they have $100,000 or less saved for retirement.
-- 24 percent have less than $10,000.
-- 33 percent of retirees say they didn't have a choice on retiring.
"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is." -- Yogi Berra
(Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Also check out the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best-seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via email@example.com.)