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12/03/2013

First 5 Minutes- How to kick off a successful interview in the first five minutes.

Many HR recruiters can predict within a few minutes whether you will be a good fit for the job. So, the first five minutes are pretty crucial if you want to succeed in the job interview.
If that sounds unfair, wrong or short-sighted then you need to remember that we are all human. And that we all react very quickly to a variety of stimuli. Many of them are ones that we cannot even identify. Just a feeling but one that stays with you all the way to the group meeting where the candidate’s fate is decided.
You know what they say about a good first impression, right? So, here’s what you should do in the first five minutes.

First MINUTE
Your approach is important. The way you walk and carry yourself.  The way you communicate with whoever is guiding you to the HR office matters. You should be confident but not full of yourself. Friendly but not too comfortable. If you are tentative on the way in, that’s a problem.  It’s important that you
act as if you deserve to be there.
Look nice. No frayed shirts.  No twisted neck ties.  Shine your shoes.  New, clean coat.  Should be obvious.  Be hydrated. Dry mouth helps no one.  The presentation of you as a candidate starts with how prepared you look.  How you speak.
Your handshake says something. We all know this, right?  So why are there so many bad handshakes? A confident, inviting smile tells someone you are relaxed. That helps everyone else relax.  Immediate and consistent eye contact. Introduce yourself to the recruiter.  

Second MINUTE

Say “thank you” for the opportunity and grab a seat once the HR recruiter grabs hers. Tell the recruiter something that lets her know this is an important interview and that you are excited for the opportunity.  Not desperate.  Appreciative.

Have a few intro questions to lighten the moment.  Allows recruiter to see you as a possible co-worker.
Appear comfortable. Be interested in the recruiter and in the company from the start. And also? Provide
long or short answers to each question, as appropriate. Open ended questions are asked to elicit a deeper, more detailed response.  Have one ready.  Closed ended questions are asked to get specific details during a successful job interview.  Be ready with those, too.

Third MINUTE
Keep eye contact. Have good posture.  Says you haven’t relaxed or become complacent. When in doubt, provide a shorter answer. This allows you to hit with your best points
Ask the recruiter to clarify a question if you haven’t understood it.

Fourth MINUTE
Be real.  Be honest. Give the sense that you are the real person the recruiter is interviewing. Not someone who is trying desperately to fit a certain stereotype. If you get a question that forces you to admit a lack of perfect fit, admit it and move on.  

 Fifth MINUTE

Look for an opportunity to ask a follow-on question. Keeps interview conversational.  Like the beginning of a solid and trusting partnership.  Inquire about the recruiter’s challenges, team objectives and goals for the next few years.

Be interesting. Make key points by inflection and emphasis.  Displays focus, understanding, and passion.  In short, give solid indications that you are someone that the recruiter should spend the entire 45-60 minutes.  Make her want to get deep into your background. Tease me with an interesting story of how you creatively solved a big problem.  

Establish yourself not just as a pursuer but also as the pursued. The recruiter expects to be interviewed as well. Early and throughout.  You are not taking over the interview, but rather looking for openings to gain the information you need to make a separate and independent decision about whether the company is right for you.
So . . .
Your first five minutes should convince the recruiter that there is a great story with you. That you are a great character.  Well developed, interesting and driven to have a big impact.  One that compels her to dig deep and read on.  But don’t wait too long to begin sharing some of those juicy details.  Show your best traits early and keep the measurable examples coming.
In short, make those first 5 minutes count.

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