Preparing for a job interview? Watch that handshake

WASHINGTON — If you’re getting ready for a job interview, keep this in mind: Nearly half of employers know if a candidate is a good fit within the first five minutes, according to a recent HR survey.

And your body language could make or break the deal.

“It’s not just what you say or what you do, but it’s how you do these things, and nonverbal cues are being picked up just as much as your actions, so you really want to be careful with body language,” Ladan Nickravan-Hayes, at CareerBuilder told WTOP.

Eye contact tops the list. Failure to smile is an interview killer. So is using too many gestures.

While a firm handshake is always considered important, you don’t want it to be too firm.

“You don’t want to come off too strong,” Nickravan-Hayes said.

“Ideally, your handshake is one that conveys you as being open and friendly. It still portrays you as being confident and important too, so you want to be careful not to be too hard or too soft,” she said.

Appearing arrogant, and believe it or not — hiring managers say it does happen — using foul language, are also instant interview killers.

CareerBuilder’s survey of hiring managers also lists fidgeting, bad posture, and crossing your arms over your chest as bad interview body language.

The number one interview deal-killer is straight forward: A candidate is caught lying about something.

CareerBuilder’s survey, based on interviews with about 1,000 human resource managers between Nov. 28 and Dec. 20, 2017, also reveals some of the most unusual things people have done in job interviews.

One candidate did not have the skills to do the job and stated, “fake it until you make it.”

Another candidate called a government job “something goverment-y.”

Other unusual actions include, asking to taste the interviewer’s coffee and offering the interviewer pumpkins saying they transfer good energy.

One candidate leaned far forward with his head down during the first five minutes of the interview and memorably another broke out in song in the middle of their interview.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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