When you hear footsteps approaching, you casually glance upwards, make eye contact with the person walking toward you (who is obviously the interviewer), and smile as you stand to greet them.
Maybe they were expecting (or hoping for) someone younger. Or maybe they had a picture in their mind of someone else...
But as your eyes meet, you can immediately sense some awkwardness. You spot the familiar micro-expression that betrays their disappointment.
Maybe they were expecting (or hoping for) someone younger.
You pretend you didn't notice as you shake their hand. And they, in turn, pretend they didn't notice that you noticed – which makes it even worse.
That, right there, was your first impression.
Now, a lot of candidates would give up at this point and assume that they just blew it. After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression... right?
Well, not necessarily.
Yes, it is absolutely true that the hiring manager (or HR rep) has probably just made an adverse judgment about you and your suitability for the job.
They've sized you up in a heartbeat and decided you're probably not a good fit.
HOWEVER, you can absolutely turn it around. And the most powerful way to do that is through projecting strong and confident body language.
There have been many scientific studies on the importance of body language, and virtually all of them concluded that, if you want to change the way others perceive you after they have unconsciously sized you up, tweaking what your body language communicates is probably the most powerful way to do that.
Do you know what the difference is between an "old" employee and an "experienced" employee? It's all about perception – i.e. how you carry yourself.
If your body language tells interviewers that you are unconsciously apologetic about your age, they will perceive your age as a negative.
On the other hand, if your body language tells hiring managers that you are confident in your abilities (because they've been tested many times), and that there's no situation you cannot handle (because you've seen it all before), your experience becomes an asset. Hiring managers will value it.
This is probably the most important insight I want you to take away from this email today: body language is a double-edged sword.
If your body language is working *for* you, you'll be able to bring a skeptical interviewer over to your side, get them to trust you, and make them want you.
But if you body language is working *against* you, even the most compelling interviewer answers may still fail to overcome that initial negativity.
Next time, I'm going to share with you the most important thing you need to know about body language. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions when it comes to using your body to communicate confidence and value.
If you've ever tried a few body language "techniques" in the past, and found they didn't have the desired effect (or worse, that they backfired), I'm willing to bet my right arm that it's because you didn't follow this important principle.