6 Habits That Could Jeopardize Job Offers

How you say something is just as important as what you say.

Having solid answers to the interview questions is important. But how you act while talking with the recruiter affects your chances, too.

The suggestions listed are helpful guidelines when preparing for job interviews in the U.S.  Culture plays a big role in nonverbal communication. Different cultures share different views of the same action. For example maintaining eye contact is valued in some cultures but considered disrespectful in others. These differences make the job interview process challenging.

Check this list of what are considered unappealing nonverbal interview cues. Are you guilty of any? If so, follow the action items to improve what you’re silently communicating and improve your chances of landing a job offer.

Awkward handshake. A soft, limp handshake suggests lack of confidence. A crippling, knuckle-breaking handshake might imply arrogance. Handshakes lasting too long are inappropriate.

Action step: Practice shaking hands until you establish a firm, comfortable handshake. Always extend your right arm when accepting or seeking a handshake.

Bad eye contact. Find a balance between completely avoiding eye and staring intently to the point it’s uncomfortable.

Action step: Learn the difference between looking at someone and staring. There are many tricks that can improve your eye contact. For example, focus on a spot in between the person’s eyes, giving the impression that you’re looking directly at them.

No facial expressions. Employers are people, not robots. And they want to hire people, not robots. Showing no facial expression tells the employer you’re bored.

Action step: Think of the interview as a conversation between two people. It’s okay to smile, laugh and even make a funny (appropriate) comment now and then.

Poor posture. Slumping in your seat could mistakenly express boredom. Leaning forward across the desk is aggressive. Neutral posture is relaxed and confident.

Action step: Sit up in the chair, lean slightly forward.

Distracting gestures. These aren’t just limited to wild hand movements while talking. Tapping your foot, shaking your leg, clicking a pen, twirling your hair are also interfere with what you’re saying.

Action step: Identify any distracting gestures and look for ways to minimize them. Placing your hands on your lap, not crossing your legs and not carrying a pen are all helpful ideas.

Inappropriate interview attire. You must present yourself as a polished, well-groomed person to be taken seriously as a candidate.

Action step: Check out resources for learning about suitable interview attire.

The final action step for avoiding all of these behaviors is practice. Watch yourself in a mirror when answering questions. Schedule a mock interview with a career counselor. Ask the counselor for feedback about nonverbal cues you have specific concerns about.



6 steps to complete the week after the Career Fair

If you attended last week’s Career Fair, there’s still work to be done. Follow these six steps to increase your chances of landing an interview with the employers you spoke with.

Send thank you notes. If you haven’t done so already, take the time to send a thank you email to the recruiters. Hopefully you secured a business card before leaving their table. If not, check EmploymeNC, the Career Services job searching database, to see if the company’s contact information is listed. A thank you note can make or break employment opportunities.

Contact employers you didn’t speak to. If you weren’t able to talk to every employer on your target list, it’s not too late. Check out the Career Services Career Fair Pinterest board that highlights every company who attended the fair.

Don’t panic if you don’t hear back. Recruiters receive many emails and can’t reply to every single one. If you don’t receive a reply to your thank-you note or follow-up correspondence, it doesn’t mean the door is closed. Allow time for employers to evaluate the resumes and applications received. If recruiters mentioned a date of when you might hear from them, follow up within a week after that date if you still haven’t received any correspondence. Persistence is good, just use moderation.

Follow employers’ follow-up instructions. Whatever additional steps employers requested – sending additional information, applying online, contacting them – do it. And do it this week.

Review your strategy. What worked and what didn’t? If you don’t receive follow up from any employers, consider meeting with a career counselor to review where your approach could be improved.

Continue to use other job search methods. Job searching isn’t reserved to a one-time event like the Career Fair. It’s important to continue using other resources (networking, online job boards, social media) to maximize your job search.