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Four minutes ! Studies tell us that is the crucial period in which impressions are formed by someone we have just met. Within a mere ten seconds, that person will begin to make judgments about our professionalism, social class, morals and intelligence. People tend to focus on what they see (dress, eye contact, movement), on what they hear (how fast or slowly we talk, our voice tone and volume), and on our actual words. Bungle a first encounter, and in many cases the interviewer will mistakenly assume you have other negative traits. Worse, he or she may not take the time to give you a second chance.

Most employers believe that those who look as if they care about themselves are more likely to care about their jobs. Research shows that physically attractive people are generally perceived by prospective employers as more intelligent, likable and credible. Your goal should be to come across in the best possible light-attractive in the way  you dress, in your gestures and facial expressions and in your speech. Here is how to make those crucial four minutes count.

Look your best. It signals success. Studies have linked clothing consciousness to higher self-esteem and job satisfaction. Forget about personal style. At work, your clothes must convey the message that you are competent, reliable and authoritative. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If you are scheduled for an interview at a company you have never visited and are not sure what to wear, send for a copy of its annual report and study what the employees pictures as wearing, or drop by ahead of time to see how they dress.

Monitor your body language. How you move and your gesture will greatly influence an interviewer's first impression of you. In a landmark study of communications, psychologist Albert Mehrabian discovered that 7 percent of any message about our feelings and attitudes comes from the words we use, 38 percent from our voice, and a startling 35 percent from our facial expressions. In fact, when our facial expression or tone of voice conflicts with our words, the listener will typically put more weight on the nonverbal message.

To make your first encounter a positive one, start with a firm handshake. If the interviewer does not initiate the gesture, offer your hand first. Whenever you have a choice of seats, select a chair beside his or her desk, as opposed to one cross from it. That way, there are no barriers between the two of you and the effect is somewhat less confrontational. If you must sit facing the desk, shift your chair slightly as you sit down, or angle your body in the chair so you are not directly in font of your interviewer.

Monitor your body language to make sure you don't seem too desperate for the job, or too eager to please. When a 26-year-old telemarketing specialist applied for a promotion, her interview went so well she was offered the job on the spot. "I was ecstatic," she recalls. "But I reacted to the offer with too much enthusiasm. Once the boss sensed how excited I was, he knew I wasn't going to turn him down. Consequently, he offered me a lower salary than I had hoped for. I am convinced I could have gotten more had I contained myself."

Say what you mean. Your goal is to exude confidence and be believed. Clinch that favorable first impression by making your words consistent with your body language and appearance. If they are not in sync, your misled messages are bound to confuse your interviewer. Open and close your conversation on a positive note. when you leave, summarize why you are the best candidate for the job and thank the person for his interest.

From paragraph 1 :
  1.

(a) What is meant by 'Bungle a first encounter' ?

(b) What effect will it have ?

   

From paragraph 2 :

  2.

(a) Explain what is meant by the expression 'in the best possible light'.

(b) Why is it important for one who is attending an interview ?

    From paragraph 3 :
  3.

Describe how one should dress when attending an interview.

    From paragraph 4 :
  4.

(a) What is meant by 'body language' ?

(b) Why is one's body language important when attending an interview ?

    From paragraph 5 :
  5.

Give two examples of how one can make the first interview a positive one.

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Answers
 

1.

(a) It means 'performing badly at the first interview'.

(b) It may form a bad impression to the interviewer.

 

2.

(a) It means ' as best as possible'.

(b) It will help one to be successful in an interview.

 

3.

One should dress for the job they want, displaying that they are capable, reliable and authoritative.

 

4.

(a) It refers to one's facial expression and gesture.

(b) It impresses the interviewer more than words.

 

5.

(i) One can start off with firm handshake.

(ii) If possible, choose a seat beside the interviewer's desk as opposed to one across from it.

 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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