Candidates Who Do It with Style Do It Better!

What’s a smile worth? The New York Times Job Market undertook a survey that found that 84 percent of hiring managers in the New York metropolitan area believe a positive, enthusiastic attitude is the most appealing behavior candidates can project during an interview.

Two hundred and fifty hiring managers were asked to identify traits and behaviors they consider most and least appealing during a job interview. In ranked order these managers cited confidence (79%), being articulate (78%), honesty (76%), timeliness (75%), good listening skills (74%), eye contact (71%), good body language (68%), firm handshake (59%), and traditional business attire (46%).

What turns them off? The following traits in ranked order: a negative attitude (83%), tardiness (79%), poor listening skills (76%), being inarticulate (69%), arrogance (64%), inappropriate body language (63%), poor eye contact (60%), lacking confidence (59%), focus on salary/benefits at initial interview (51%), revealing too much personal information (50%), and casual attire (31%).

What sells? Apparently, image. It’s no real surprise, when we read this, to see that many hiring managers still over-emphasize visual and interpersonal factors regardless of the nature of the job for which they are recruiting. When we interview, we should never forget that the Halo Effect can easily creep into our evaluations and threaten the objectivity of our decision-making. And that’s not always easy to do, especially when it’s a critical job that has gone vacant for a long time.

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