Body Language - The Handshake and what it says about you.

July 23, 2009 on 9:37 pm | In Body Language, Interviewing, Job Hunting | No Comments

I’ve written a few posts about body language, and how you come across in your video resume or job interview. I recently received a request to talk more about the topic (and I aims to please), so today’s topic is the handshake. - Although not relevant to a video resume, very important in an interview or face-to-face networking.

And that’s the first point. The handshake IS important. When you meet someone, SHAKE THEIR HAND. If your hands are full, free them. If they’re standing across the room, approach them. Ignoring a handshake can be seen as disrespectful, so stand up, free your hand, approach the other person and give them a good firm handshake while making eye contact and smiling.

Now, a few tips about the handshake itself:

Warm your hands. Before you meet with the interviewer, rub your hands together to warm them up, and wipe them on your clothes to make sure they’re dry. You can also sit with your hands underneath your legs to keep them warm and dry.

Free your right hand. When the interviewer enters the room, make sure your right hand is free and clear for the handshake.

Go the distance. Stand too close and you’re invading their space. Stand too far away and you appear uncomfortable and isolated. You should stand far enough away to “extend” your hand to shake theirs, but don’t stand so far away that your body has to lean forward to reach them. If’ you’re not sure, stand still, extend your hand, and let them step in to a comfortable distance.

Get a grip. Never EVER grip too tight, especially if you’re a man shaking a woman’s hand. But a weak handshake is not good either. (ladies, NEVER do the little “fingertip handshake”). Give a good solid handshake without squeezing. It’s courtious and shows confidence.

Good hand positioning. Believe it or not, the angle of your hand is significant. An “underhand shake”, where your palm is up, is a sign of submission. An “overhand shake”, where your palm is facing downward, is a sign of dominance. It’s best to make sure your palm is facing sideways, not up or down. If the interviewers palm is facing upward or downward, you should take their hand and adjust so that both your hands are vertical. This indicates a partnership and equality.

A good general rule of thumb… follow the other person’s lead with everything EXCEPT positioning, which should ALWAYS be vertical.

Hope this helps!

For more information, visit the resource center at www.cnvideoresumes.com

Using Good Posture when Recording your Video Resume or at a Job Interview

July 10, 2009 on 8:10 am | In Body Language, Interviewing, Job Hunting, Video Resumes | No Comments

Good morning and happy Friday everyone! Today’s topic is on Posture.

A straight posture is imperative when recording your video resume, as well as during a job interview or even networking in person.

To help achieve good posture while looking relaxed and confident:

Take a deep breath and pull your shoulders back while sitting (or standing) up straight. Then relax your shoulders and exhale. Do this more than once if you’re particularly nervous. It gives you a burst of confidence and allows for good breathing. It can also help you to avoid or reduce feelings of nervousness and discomfort.

While attended a huge networking event last night in St. Louis at Bar Italia in the central west end, I ran into a friend I’ve known for a while, but have never met in person. He suggested that you take both arms and put them straight up in the air while taking a deep breath. (come on, those of you reading this… get those arms up). Now slowly drop your arms down to your sides while exhaling. (feels good, doesn’t it?). This is also a very effective way to relax and show good posture, though you may not want to do this one in the lobby while waiting for your interviewer. ;)

Have a great weekend!

For more information, visit the resource center at www.CNVideoResumes.com

Having Trouble Landing the Interview, And the Job?

July 3, 2009 on 9:05 am | In Interviewing, Job Hunting, Video Resumes | No Comments

I was talking with a client last month about how things were going since the production of her video resume. She had previously been looking for a job for over 6 months, and only landed 2 interviews.

The good news is, she had 5 interviews (4 in person, 1 over the phone) in the last month. The bad news, the interviews didn’t seem to go well. She said they would ask her a few questions, and then seemed to lose interest and the interview was over. So I pitched her a few standard interview questions to gauge her responses and I think we found the problem.

I didn’t put 2 and 2 together until yesterday, when I was producing an interview style video resume for someone else. I had sent him the instructions for preparing, and called the day before the appointment to make sure he didn’t have any questions. When he showed up for the appointment, he hadn’t even selected his interview questions, thinking he could wing it. He checked off a few questions on the spot and said “Just ask me these. I can do this.”

Ok, the customer is always right, right? So I pitched him a few of the questions (off camera) to see how it went…

Have you ever answered an interview question, then later thought “ugh, I should have said…”. Or even worse, realized you should have said something different while answering the question, started back peddling and trying to correct the answer and end up rambling? Things can sometimes sound better in our heads then they do when they come out of our mouths! And sometimes, we don’t even realize how the things we say come across at all, especially when we’re nervous, under a microscope being interviewed by someone else.

Both clients seemed to have similar difficulties answering interview questions :

  • Concisely including all pertinent information
  • Coming across positive

Below are a few tips I tell my clients when filming an interview style video resume to avoid the “foot in mouth syndrome”. These also apply to telephone or live job interviews.

Never be negative. ALWAYS be respectful of others and do not place blame. State your answers in a positive form.

Examples:
WRONG: I’m looking for a new job because there aren’t any opportunities available at my current company.

RIGHT: I’m looking into new opportunities that might be available in other companies and industries that can help me to grow professionally.

WRONG: There was an occasion when this customer was being irate and yelled at me.

RIGHT: There was an occasion when I helped a customer who was very upset because…

Never interrupt. Wait until the interviewer is finished asking the question. Take a moment to pause and consider the question before you start to answer. Then answer the question clearly and completely.

Tell the Story. Use the STAR method of answering interview questions. Describe the Situation or Task clearly, discuss the Actions you took, and talk about the positive Results that occurred due to your actions.

Do not ramble. Listen carefully to the question, and answer it concisely without unnecessary background information. Once the question has been answered, stop talking. :)
Do not back track, reiterate, or continue adding more information.

For more information (or for help landing the interview), visit the resource center at www.CNVideoResumes.com

HAVE A GREAT AND SAFE INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Tip: What to do with your Hands and Arms when Interviewing or Filming a Video Resume

July 1, 2009 on 5:04 am | In Body Language, Interviewing, Job Hunting, Video Resumes | 2 Comments

85% of what you communicate is not with words. It’s through the tone of your voice, the way you sit and a wealth of other messages that your body involuntarily sends.

What to do with hands and arms when interviewing or filming a video resume:

  • Clasping your hands is a signal that you are closed off.
  • Putting your palms together with one thumb over the other says that you need reassurance.
  • You should never cross your arms over your chest, since this gives the impression that you are not in agreement, closed off, defensive or insecure.
  • Open hands and showing palms show that nothing is being concealed.

To come across confident, have your hands open and relaxed on the table or at your side. When your body is open, you project trustworthiness and will actually feel more confident. It is ok to use some hand gestures, as long as they’re in sync with what you’re saying, and not too wild.

For more information, visit the resource center at www.CNVideoResumes.com

Tip: How to Use the STAR Method for Behavioral Interviewing

June 29, 2009 on 5:21 pm | In Interviewing, Job Hunting | No Comments

In order to be successful in behavioral interviewing:

1. Wait until the interviewer is finished asking the question, pause and think about the question and your story before answsering the question.

2. Make sure you answer the question completely. If they ask a question with “and why” make sure you explain why.

3. Use examples of situations from your experiences on your resume where you demonstrated desired behaviors.

4. State your answer as a story that you can tell.

5. Be specific and detailed. Make sure the story relates to the question and isn’t too general. Briefly tell them about the situation, what you did specifically, and the positive result or outcome. Your answer should contain these four steps Situation, Task, Action, Result or “STAR”) for optimum success.

6. Quantify your results. Give specific numbers whenever possible. For example: “I was a supervisor.” could be “As Supervisor, I trained and evaluated 6 employees.”

For more information, visit the resource center at www.CNVideoResumes.com

Tip: Behavioral Interviewing and the STAR Method of Answering Interview Questions

June 27, 2009 on 6:22 pm | In Interviewing, Job Hunting | No Comments

About Behavioral Interviewing and the STAR Method

Behavioral Interviewing is a style of interviewing that is becoming more and more popular with organizations in their hiring process. The basic premise is that the most accurate predictor of future performance is understanding past performance in a similar situation. It focuses on experiences, behaviors, knowledge, skills and abilities that are job related.

The STAR method provides a logical approach to answering questions by describing one of your past successes in responding to the question.

What is STAR

STAR = Situation or Task - Action - Results

Situation or Task
Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. from a previous job, volunteer experience or any relevant event. Make sure you describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Give enough detail for the interviewer to understand.

Action you took
Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did — not the efforts of the team. Don’t tell what you might do, tell what you did.

Results you achieved
What happened? What was the outcome? What did you learn? Discuss how the task was successful as a result of your action.

For more information, visit the resource center at www.CNVideoResumes.com

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