September 3, 2018

Why is it Important to Smile During an Interview?

“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight – even your career!”

Whether you are a model, dentist, teacher or painter, a genuine smile can take you very far in life.

A smile is a symbol of well-being and self-confidence, both in your personal as well as professional life.  And the power of a warm smile is often underestimated during the process of a job interview. However, it is a very integral part of positive body language - which is again very important during an interview. Employers are always looking for someone who can gel easily with a team, and create a happy and positive work environment, thus boosting the company’s productivity.

Here’s why you shouldn’t forget to smile at your job interview:

1. for a good first impression

It is a fact that it only takes about 6-7 seconds for an average person to form an opinion about someone, when they are meeting for the first time. And when it comes to interviews, a good first impression can lead to better things in future.

So along with the all the interview preparation you do, a smile can instantly help you leave a good impression on your recruiter, right at the very beginning. You would come across as an amiable and enthusiastic person, who is easy to talk to – something that recruiters are always looking for, in a candidate.

2. Shows your confidence

Imagine a situation where, you are at your workplace, and you need some help with the work that has been assigned to you. You look over at your colleagues and see one with a frowning face, and another with a smiling one. Who would you approach for help? Obviously the smiling one!

Remember that recruiters are always on the lookout for those smiling colleagues, not the frowning ones. Nothing reveals the best things about your personality better than a smile. A genuine smile will always instil trust, exude confidence and at the same time convince people around you that you are approachable. All these qualities are highly desirable in an employee. Hence, it is important that you showcase these qualities right from the start.

3. Lets you recover from your mistakes

Studies reveal that if you smile after committing a small social mistake, it can actually help you to take control of the situation and rectify it. An embarrassed or sheepish smile is a sign that you realized you’ve made a mistake, accepted it and are ready to move on.

You may make a mistake during an interview process, probably due to nervousness, and the best thing to do for handling such a situation, is to shrug it off with a smile and rectify the mistake. This is a much better option compared to ignoring or denying the problem, and going back with regrets.

4. For a desirable and pleasant environment

Have you noticed the fact that you tend to get happy when you see people around you smile, even if you are meeting them for the first time? A smile is very contagious, and majority of people will smile back at you if you greet them with one. Smiling is also known to reinforce and promote happy feelings of pleasure and joy.

Therefore, if you want to enjoy your interview and create a lighter atmosphere in the process, make sure you smile when you meet the interviewer.

5. Smile in telephonic interviews

Interviews are not always face-to-face; they could be telephonic as well. Interview platforms like, allow you to schedule and take telephonic pre-screening interviews and create an audio profile as well.

Just because the interviewer can’t see you in a telephonic interview, don’t forget to smile! The sound of your smile reaches the interviewer through your voice. Smiling not only makes you sound confident and excited, but also takes away your nervousness and makes you feel better. You will be more attentive and engaged during the whole process, making your recruiter convinced that you are the best candidate for the job.

Beware of the Fake Smile

“Fake a frown, you hurt others. Fake a smile, you hurt yourself.”

A genuine and positive smile is important as it can prove to be a very big advantage during an interview. However, what is more important is that you do not force or fake a smile during the process.

People can easily recognise a fake smile, especially an interviewer who is well aware of the different body languages and behaviour of candidates. A fake or a forced smile is often associated with hiding your true self, by not letting the world know what you truly are. This can have a negative effect and you may come across as an insincere and dishonest person. In some situations, it can also make the interviewer feel uncomfortable, and you may lose the job opportunity even before realising where you went wrong.


You can practice introducing yourself or answering questions in front of a mirror, with a smile, to make sure that you are not overdoing it.

Smiling will mean showing your teeth. So if you have eaten anything just before an interview, check that there are not remnants of food stuck in the teeth that can lead to an awkward moment later!

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July 11, 2018

How to master a Skype interview

Job interviews over Skype are becoming increasingly common. You might be able to see one another, but a virtual interview over the internet is not the same as one face to face and you need to prepare accordingly.

Here are some considerations to help you embrace technology and master a Skype interview.

Dress professionally
Should you still dress as if you are in a face-to-face interview? Yes – general interview etiquette still applies. “The dynamics are different, with body language being the main barrier, so it is vital to make a good impression based on your dress and surroundings,” says Matthew Roberts, CEO at, a network site for employers.

Don’t be tempted just to dress smartly from the waist-up, assuming that’s all the interviewer will see, warns Graham Oates, CEO of Norrie Johnston Recruitment. “I’ve been in plenty of Skype interview situations where the candidate has had to stand up.” Being in formal dress will also help you to feel like it is a formal interview and put you in the right frame of mind, he adds.

Pick your backdrop wisely
How much attention will be paid to where you are sitting for the interview? The safe rule of thumb is to assume that a lot of attention will be given to your surroundings – so set up well in advance and take time to look at how the interviewer will see you.

“Find a neutral, tidy spot if possible. Mess, pot plants or food may subconsciously impact an interviewer’s view of the meeting and reflect badly on you,” says Jonathan Bennet, a director at Capita Resourcing. His advice is to set yourself up so the interviewer can see your face, hair, shoulders and upper torso. Consider the lighting and how you are sat too. “They don’t want a giant, poorly lit face talking at them for an hour.” Also, make sure you are in a quiet room which will not be interrupted.

Get to grips with the technology beforehand
Before you begin, make sure you’ve got to grips with the technology to avoid any last minute panic, especially if you haven’t used Skype before. “Set up a practice interview with a friend to make sure you are happy with how you come across on screen as well as being able to confidently use the system,” suggests Roberts. Check your microphone is properly set, your voice is audible, the picture quality is good and that you are in a spot with a strong internet connection.

But if technology fails midway through, don’t panic, says David Cairncross, director at Hays. “If a problem with your technology throws you off during your interview, just remain professional,” he says. The interviewer will be aware that some things are out of your control, should anything happen start the call again to regain a connection, and quickly make contact to update the interviewer so you can continue as soon as possible.

Don’t be late
“You wouldn’t dream of turning up late for a face-to-face interview, so having to delay one over Skype because you haven’t done your technical groundwork is inexcusable,” says Oates. Call and get it all setup a few minutes early to avoid any awkwardness. Equally, have your notes ready and a glass of water to hand so you aren’t fiddling with papers or getting a dry mouth once you make a start.

Remember body language
Skype interviews leave little room for those informal interactions you might have on the walk from reception or the ride in the lift - so it is important your eye contact and facial expressions are not compromised by the technology either.

“Remember to look at the camera – not the screen – that way the interviewer will feel you are maintaining eye contact,” says Oates. “Remember to smile and have an engaged and pleasant facial expression. Try to forget you are talking to a computer screen and imagine the interviewer being physically in the room with you.”
Author: Kirstie Brewer

June 1, 2018

11 Answers You Should Have Ready Before Any Job Interview

For any job interview, the overarching point you want to get across is why the prospective employer should hire you. The interview is your sales pitch that you are the ideal candidate for the job at hand. It is also a get-to-know-you conversation to show the company staff that they would enjoy working with you. So make your case and be likeable! Here are 11 questions to practice:

How much do you make?

This won’t be your opening question but you can count on compensation coming up early in the discussion. The company doesn’t want to waste its time if it turns out they can’t afford you. If you currently make more than the role advertises (for example, you are making a career change from a high-paying job) then focus on what you’re targeting for this role, so you can let them know that, yes, they can afford you. If you have been underpaid and don’t want the company to think they can get you cheaply, also focus on what you’re targeting for the role so that you keep the focus on the role at hand and not your low compensation. But you want to have something to say confidently and directly when the money talk comes up – don’t just wing it.

Tell me about yourself.

This also might be phrased as “Walk me through your resume” or “Walk me through your career” or simply “Why should I hire you?” It’s a common opening question where you get to summarize your background in order to point out the most relevant skills, expertise and accomplishments that make you the best hire. That second part is key – you want to highlight the relevant aspects of your background. You’re not just talking about yourself in general – that’s a date, not an interview.

What is your biggest strength?

Ideally you have already enumerated your strengths as you introduce yourself. But you may get a pointed question that asks you to choose one (or more) to specifically focus on. Pick your most relevant strength(s) for the job. Then give a specific example for each so that the interviewer can see exactly how your strength manifests itself in the workplace.

What is your biggest weakness?

On the flip side, you may get asked about your weaknesses. Here you pick a weakness that is NOT relevant to the job so that it’s clear it won’t impede your ability to perform. You also want to give a specific example to make crystal clear to the interviewer what you mean by your weakness, so that the interviewer isn’t left to imagine and possibly over exaggerate how bad the weakness might be.

What is your biggest accomplishment (or biggest mistake)?

Related to the strength/ weakness line of questioning, you may be asked for an accomplishment, or on the flip side, a mistake. While the strength or weakness is a quality or a skill, the accomplishment or mistake is an outcome that happened. Despite the subtle difference, this type of question should be handled similarly – pick an accomplishment relevant to the job and pick a mistake that isn’t so critical.

Give me an example of __________ (where BLANK is a key function of the potential job)

This line of questioning draws directly from the job description for the role you’re interviewing for. If a key part of the role is direct marketing, the employer may ask for an example of a successful email campaign. If the job requires managing a team, the employer may ask about your management experience and style. Go line-by-line through the job description and be prepared to give an example for each and every requirement.

Why do you want this job?

In addition to whether or not you can do the job, the employer will want to know that you want to do the job. Your motivation is very much under scrutiny in the interview process so you should have a genuine and excited response for why you want this job.

Why did you leave your last job?

Another way to gauge your motivation is by looking at past transitions. Why did you leave other jobs? Why did you make the career choices that you made? You will most probably be asked about your most recent job, but you may also be asked about every career decision you made. The interviewer is looking for what draws you toward and away from different opportunities.

What do you know about our company?

Yet another way to gauge motivation is by looking at how much preparation you did into learning about the company. When I recruited for a magazine publisher, I would ask candidates to list their favorite magazines that we published. I wanted to see how well they knew our products. If your interest is genuine you will know about the company and its industry, so the only right answer to this question is A LOT (and then proceed to share).

Where else are you looking?

Finally, motivation and genuine interest can also be gauged by how seriously you’re focused on the company’s industry and competitors. If you’re interviewing at a bank, but also a manufacturer and a leisure company and an energy company…, then your interests are all over the place. If you are pursuing diverse types of jobs, keep it to yourself lest you seem scattered and undecided. Let the employer know that you have eyes only for the role at hand.

What questions do you have for me?

The interview is a two-way conversation. This is your chance to learn more about the company and the role. Prepare thoughtful questions in advance. Having questions shows that you’re interested and curious. Having intelligent questions shows that you’re prepared and ready to talk business.

In addition to general interview questions, you may be asked specific technical questions or case-based questions (the case style of interviewing is most popular with management consulting roles, though other industries use this line of questioning as well). Research the company in advance – what types of interviews do they conduct? Will you be taking a technical test? I have recruited for companies that gave coding tests or analytical tests or asked for writing samples. Prepare for all types of interviews you might encounter.