Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Improving Your Executive Presence

I recently read an article on The Wall Street Journal online titled “How to Look and Act Like a Leader". It was written towards individuals already employed and how to change their leadership image within their organization. However, much was applicable to conducting yourself in an interview. The concepts and principles are the same. For example specific listed tips included:

Perfect Presence

To Improve Your Executive Presence:
• Sit on one hand if you gesture excessively
• Avoid interruptions by counting to four before you reply
• Stand or sit large to demonstrate you take up space
• Use few qualifiers as they imply lack of confidence
• Don't clasp your hands behind your back because you'll look deceptive
• Practice a firm handshake

Well, I can’t suggest sitting on your hands during an interview, but being conscious of excessive gesturing is certainly a good interview tip. This all reminds me of feedback I received from an executive who interviewed a candidate I referred to him years ago. After the interview this executive called me and said, “Scot, such & such is no doubt highly qualified for the position. I have to tell you, however, they sure were relaxed during the interview. In fact they leaned back in their chair and propped their feet on my desk.”

Through the years I’ve heard just about every story you can imagine. I’ll share one more... A hiring manager calls me after a candidate completes an interview. Once again the hiring manager explained that the candidate certainly appeared to be qualified, but went on to say, “Scot, I just can’t get past the scratches all up and down such & such’s arms. They should have at least worn a long sleeve shirt. It was very distracting.”

Preparing for a face to face interview is a very important part of the process. Careful attention must be given to every detail. This week’s Quick Tip is Part 1 of Face to Face Interviews.

View Quick Tip: Part 1 of Face to Face Interviews
(Follow link, or copy and paste the below link into your browser)

1 comment:

  1. I once went through a mock interview that was filmed for review after the fact. I was horrified to watch myself spinning an ink pen in my hand. My body language was very loud expressing a lack of confidence and I had no awareness of it before I watched the film.

    How you present is important and a good understanding of what your audience sees and needs (Meyers-Briggs anyone?) is crucial to getting your point across, but nothing replaces having something to present. If you do not have a valuable contribution to make, no amount of image consulting will create that value.