Job interviews are a heck of a lot like dates. Not only are first impressions crucial, but the entire result hinges on one significant pont -- will you connect with this person? Here's how to make your interviewer a lot more likely to like you (and as a result, want to hire you).
Find out about them ahead of time
You want to know something not only about the company, but also the particular job and the person interviewing you. Start with Google (GOOG), but go beyond that first step. "LinkedIn (LNKD) is a terrific resource for gathering the basics about the people you will be meeting, like schools, career history, participation in professional organizations and maybe even people you share in common," says Roy Cohen, career coach and author, The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide. Showing that you've done your homework will flatter your interviewer.
Offer a firm handshake
A limp-fish greeting or goodbye won't make or leave a good impression. "If your handshake is weak, you may be seen lacking a backbone. But if you have a vise grip, you can give the impression that you're self-absorbed and unaware of your impact on others," says Cohen. So, be firm, but don't leave them needing medical assistance.
"An astute interviewer can easily identify someone who is trying too hard," notes Jean-Louis Van Doorne, master trainer for Dale Carnegie Training. Acting natural will get you hired, but super-stiff and desperate? Not so much. Just be yourself. "If that doesn't work in an interview process, it certainly won't work if you get the job," says Van Doorne.
Don't talk too much
Van Doorne says it can be easy to be excessively chatty and even interrupt, especially on a video chat interview. "We have found that people tend to talk more when they are over a screen. Make sure you also take the time to listen," says Van Doorne. Ask questions, which will promote a dialogue -- instead of a monologue on your part.
Look around the office
Developing a personal connection is crucial. So, see what interviewers are offering in the way of personal information by what they display on their desks. Says Nicole Williams, LinkedIn's official career expert: "It may be a picture of their kids, a sunset in Italy or an award or degree framed on the wall. Ask about it, and having given them the gift of sharing something they're proud of, they'll like you for it."