Smiles and other facial expressions are a critical aspect of human interaction. Even our pets can recognize when we’re smiling and what it means. For candidates interviewing with prospective employers, this means it’s time to limber up those cheek muscles and practice getting your toothy grin on.
Want to hear how to use your smile to positively affect your job prospects? Read on!
Why it Matters
Have you ever sat through a meeting or first date, one on one with a straight-faced counterpart? If so, you know just how awkward the scenario can be. You’re asking questions, their answering back, but it’s like pulling teeth and at the end, you leave feeling like you haven’t made a connection with the human on the other side of the table.
This is much the same in an interview room. A light, relaxed smile helps put others at ease and conveys a sense of calm, control and even confidence. Smiling can help diffuse a wrong answer, fill in the gap in a lull in conversation or convey a sense of humor or light sarcasm if the situation calls for it. While it’s your qualifications and skills that will ultimately land you the position, being the more likable candidate can help sway a hiring manager’s opinion where there are other applicants with similar backgrounds.
Keeping it Real
When it comes to smiling during your interview, think less amateur beauty pageant or those clown dolls that tormented you as a child. What you’re aiming for is a relaxed, natural grin that won’t have you come across like a deranged comic book villain with a penchant for green hair. While this advice may sound reasonable, perfecting a natural smile is harder than it looks.
First, practice answering questions with a smile and relaxed facial expressions in front of a mirror. Be sure not to overdo things either. The smile should be used as an accent and not permanently plastered to your face in a way that comes off as disingenuous. After enough in-person interviews, you’ll be a smiling pro, but in the meantime, you need to get some non-career impacting practice in.
In addition to trying the grin on for size, be sure to relax prior to your interview, arrive with plenty of time to spare and engage in other interview prep activities that will help ease your nerves. All of these activities are designed to help boost your confidence which will allow that to smile come more naturally.
Buff Up Those Pearly Whites
When you smile during an interview it’s almost inevitable that your teeth are going to take a starring role. If you’ve eaten a meal before your interview be sure to take a quick glance in the mirror to ensure no remnant spinach leaves will throw off your grin or create an awkward “you have something in your teeth” moment. Similarly, if you decide to wear lipstick, take a quick glance that nothing has transferred onto those pearly whites.
If you smoke or drink red wine, it may be worth a trip to the dentist for a whitening session. Good oral health also helps with personal hygiene and aids in eliminating unpleasant, bad breath, a conversation killer no matter the setting. Finally, if you must chew gum or mints, be sure to ditch them prior to the interview. Chewing down during your interview is not only impolite, it can also distract your interviewer from the words coming out of your mouth or cause your speech to be unclear.
Follow our quick words of wisdom and you’ll be well on your way to impressing your next interviewer with Madonna-worthy smiles sure to help score you a call-back or job offer.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Simply Hired.