Washington, October 21: Watching President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s presidential debate could benefit those who are preparing for their next job interviews.
While pointing fingers, interrupting and smirking are never recommended in a professional setting, job seekers can learn a lot from the candidates’ speech and body language, according to Melvin Scales, executive coach and Wake Forest University Schools of Business Assistant Director of Student Career Services.
“Regardless of your political affiliation, the debates are a one-stop shop for observing what body language and speech styles reflect the impression you want to leave with a potential employer,” said Scales, who has more than 35 years of combined executive coaching and brand management experience.
“Job candidates should seem confident, not cocky. When it comes to composure, practice makes perfect, regardless of the setting,” he added.
Given that we only have seven seconds to make a good first impression, it’s important to make every second count. Scales said 75 percent of that impression comes from body language such as strong eye contact, a slight smile and a firm handshake; pleasant conversation accounts for the other 25 percent.
At Wake Forest, Scales coaches students to control their body language using a technique he calls “head, shoulders, knees and toes.”
Regarding head he suggests interview candidates to keep their eyes focused on the interviewer without staring. Blink, but don’t wink.
Smile now and then to assure the interviewer that you understand what is being asked, as well as during your responses. This generates confidence.
Don’t look up or from side to side when responding to a question. Averting your gaze makes you seem less certain, trustworthy and truthful, he said.
When it comes to shoulders, he asked candidates to keep their back straight, head up and with their arms at their side or hands clasped below their waist.
Minimize the use of hands during the interview. They should remain below shoulder level at all times, he said.
When you want to make an emphatic point, lean slightly towards the interviewer without invading his or her space, which is about three feet, he added.
About knees and toes, he suggested that men should sit with backs straight and feet flat on the floor. Women’s legs should be crossed at the ankles underneath the chair.
If part of the interview is conducted while walking and talking or standing, be careful not to shift your weight or rock, he added. (ANI)