Job interviews are a necessary evil in life. Whether it’s physical or phone dialogue, it can be a nerve-wracking experience for candidates as they search for the perfect responses. There are plenty of ways to prepare for it: from asking a friend to do a mock interview with you, to scouring the Web for practical resources.

So you’ve polished your shoes, made a second copy of your CV, and even practiced smiling in front of the mirror a dozen times. Still, there’s no assurance that you’ll bag that post. But with a couple of “secret” tricks, you could be one step closer to snagging that dream job. Here are the top six tips to help you ace your next interview – or any interview for that matter.

1. Wear Something White

You already know the importance of good attire for a job interview – but did you know how crucial color choices are, too? The right hue of blouses, shirts, pants, as well as accessories can give off different signals. Like it or not, your recruiter (and everyone you meet at the interview, like the receptionist) will make snap judgments about you based on your outfit.

Here’s where the color white comes in handy. It’s a safe, neutral color that can complement other shades. At the same time, the wearer will look gentle, friendly, and approachable. Not bad traits to have during a job interview. Don’t like how white looks on you? You can balance the attire by adding bold accents such as a red scarf or a simple, gold bracelet.

2. Be Friendly with the Receptionist

Receptionists or secretaries are the gatekeepers of every company. One of the main reasons why you need to be punctual (even better: be 10-15 minutes early) for your job interview is so that you can observe your future workplace AND show your friendly nature to the staff. You don’t need to be chummy. Flash a genuine smile, and answer questions when asked. If it seems like the receptionist is initiating small talk, be game! Remember: there are firms that include their receptionists’ feedback when hiring candidates. So be warm and approachable to everyone you meet.

Pro tip: if there’s a place at the receptionist’s desk for business cards, ask if you can include yours. Giving your business card provides people more reasons to stay in touch with you, plus it helps to solidify your presence in their organization.

3. Strike a Power Pose for Two Minutes

Superheroes, particularly Wonder Woman, have special poses that help us identify them as people of authority and competence. But did you know that this nonverbal cue could also help you win that coveted dream job? Also known as “power pose”, it’s been proven to lower stress hormones and boost confidence in demanding situations (like your job interview).

Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, Amy Cuddy and her team performed an experiment that showed how open poses, like those of Wonder Woman, improved feelings of authority. That’s because doing power poses for two minutes increases testosterone levels, the hormones responsible for feeling powerful and in-charge.

Need a quick confidence boost? Excuse yourself to the restroom or strike a power pose while inside the elevator. You’ll feel instantly alert and ready to take on the challenge!

4. “Anchor” Your Handshake with the Forearm Tap

This trick could go horribly wrong if done incorrectly. Before implementing, make sure you have mastered the art of shaking hands, which has three important aspects:

  • Relaxed eye contact
  • Open palms, not just fingers
  • Mirroring the other person’s grip

According to Phil Bridge, author of Interactional Psychology: Behaviour & the Mind, you can use touch to confirm trust and encourage communication. Now a good handshake could go a long way – but if you want to go the extra mile, gently tap the other party on the forearm with your other hand. This method is known as “anchoring” and it is believed to help other people associate good feelings with meeting you.

A general rule when shaking hands is to smile and always appear sincere. You may also mention the other recruiter’s name for emphasis. If your hands are usually wet, wipe them with your handkerchief or tissue first before touching the other person.

5. Be the One to Break the Ice

Initiating small talk during your job interview has two big benefits: a) you set the tone for the dialogue; and b) you appear to be a warm and engaging person, characteristics which are especially important for work with a lot of customer interaction. Recruiters would normally play mind games with candidates to catch inconsistencies or to spot anxious individuals. One of these tricks is the awkward dead air. Starting the conversation yourself will help the interviewer see you as a problem-solver.

You don’t need to pamper the recruiter with compliments as an ice breaker. In fact, that’s a red flag! When giving compliments, keep it professional and focus instead on the company’s recent achievements. Great conversation starters could be things you have observed in the office, like a trinket or souvenir item. This will show that you’re observant and you have an eye for detail.

6. Ask at Least One Question

Don’t let the interview end without asking at least ONE question! This will show that your curious and smart, which are always good traits to have. As much as possible, avoid asking about benefits or pay – everybody else would have done that and it doesn’t really help you stand out. Remember, this is your time to shine!

Show how insightful you are by inquiring about company culture, the organization’s goal for this year, or expectations from you. Asking questions is also a great way of steering the interview in your favor because you show how interested you are in the job.

Make The First 5 Seconds Count

Cliché as it sounds, but first impressions DO matter. How you present yourself after that further reinforces the first image others have of you. The most crucial moments are within the first three to five seconds, so make it count! Flash your most sincere smile, relax your shoulders, and keep your posture open.

You can’t control everything during your job interview, so just focus on doing your best. By being the best version of yourself, you easily increase the chances of snagging that dream job.

Featured photo credit: COD Newsroom – flickr.com via flickr.com

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