Considering President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney are seeking the nation's top job, watching the debates could be just the prep needed to ace your own next job interview.
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. Given that you only have seven seconds to make a good first impression, it's important to make every second count. 75% of the impression you make comes from body language such as strong eye contact, a slight smile and a firm handshake, Pleasant conversation accounts for the other 25%.
Executive business coach Melvin Scales says, "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. Job candidates should seem confident, not cocky. When it comes to composure, practice makes perfect, regardless of the setting."
His advice? Keep your 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.
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.
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