The Art of the Interview: The 12 x 12 x 12 Rule

“You only have one chance to make a first impression,” and the interview is no different. It’s all about that first impression. It’s all about the impression you make initially and more importantly the impression you leave with the interviewer. Whether an interviewer notices it or not they are judging you by three very specific things: What you look like 12 feet away, what you look like 12 inches away, and the first 12 words out of your mouth.

12 Feet Away

What do you look like when the interviewer first notices you sitting in the waiting area? What are you wearing? When the interviewer notices you from across the room, what are they seeing? As a Recruiting professional, I expect to see a candidate who is well groomed, and looks like someone I’d want to spend 30-60 minutes speaking with. I know they say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but if the cover looks good, you may just be more open to reading it.

12 Inches Away

Once you get up (if you were seated), and begin to make your way over to the interviewer, how do you look? How are you walking over to them? It’s best to greet your interviewer in a way that is professional and leaves the impression that you are comfortable and at ease. Make eye contact and greet the interviewer (or person greeting you – which may be their assistant) with a warm smile and a firm handshake.

The First 12 Words Out of Your Mouth

How do you introduce yourself? Remember that this is a professional setting so you should be using your complete first and last names. Your middle name is not necessary. Also, what is the conversation like on the way to the meeting room? This brief time between the waiting area and the meeting room is crucial for more than one reason. This is a way for you to break the ice which makes YOU more comfortable.

Remember to keep this rule in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to the Offer Stage!

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