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5 things you must do within the first 3 minutes of a job interview

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Leanne Ganley

You never get a second chance to make a first impression and the first three minutes of a job interview are the most critical.  Even in the logical world of engineering and manufacturing recruitment, most interviewers will form a sub-conscious opinion of you during this time, with the remainder of the interview being spent with their conscious mind feeding this perception with bias to confirm initial impressions.

Using the first three minutes of an interview to create a great impression is therefore essential to improve your chance of success.

The top 5 things to do in the first 3 minutes include:

1. Be on time

This is critical to avoiding having to make up lost ground before you even start.

2. Eye contact

Making direct eye contact with your interviewer, preferably whilst firmly shaking hands, creates a physical bond, shows you have a purpose and offers a positive body language message. Eye contact is seen as a window on the soul; our eyes reflect trust, confidence and integrity. The inability to make eye contact is viewed as having something to hide or not telling the truth. Therefore by offering eye contact you are more likely to be seen as someone who can be trusted in the job, instils confidence and sets the scene that the interviewer can be comfortable with you.

3. Smile

Again this action sends subtle messages to your interviewer that you are happy to be there. Smiling is also contagious and because smiling makes the person doing it happier, it will make your interviewer feel good, helping to relax the situation. Research also shows that smiling stimulates brain activity, your frontal cortex is the area which registers happiness and by smiling you activate the brain into being more alert; no bad thing if you are about to be asked lots of questions.

4. Mirror

People accept people like them more readily. You can align yourself to your interviewer quite quickly by mirroring them in pace, posture or poise. Mirroring is a non-verbal form of communication to demonstrate that you have things in common, this stems from times when understanding whether someone is positive or negative towards us was a matter of survival; a social device used to be accepted into a new group. Today these instincts persist as a way to build rapport.

5. Relax. 

Freeing yourself from anxiety will enable you to perform better at interview, convey a feeling of self-assurance and enable you to come across as a person capable of handling pressure situations. For tips on how to remain calm at interview you can read our guide to overcoming interview nerves.

Finding the right jobs in engineering and manufacturing can be a time consuming process, where you lack control over what is happening and communication is often poor. To avoid these common problems and improve your chances of being matched to a role that suits your values, skills and aspirations, register your CV with us and we will contact you to discuss potentially life changing opportunities in the automotive, aerospace, automation, food & beverage manufacturing, motorsport, medical device, engineering manufacturing and advanced engineering sectors.

Download our interview success whitepaper here.