Blanchard & Walker Weekly

Topic of the Week  You Lost Me at Hello: Job Interview Success tips

  • DO make direct eye contact.
  • DO smile.
  • DO greet by name.
  • DON'T wimp out on the handshake.


You Lost Me at Hello: Job Interview Success Tips

It's tough when you've been out of work for a while to muster the energy and focus for a job interview. Very tough. Which reminds me of guy who was painting graffiti on a wall in Palm City, FL. Turns out that midway through his artistic endeavor or vandalism, depending on how you see what he does, he ran out of purple paint. So he left a message taped to the wall explaining what had happened to "Solo," his title for his project.

Police say he'll face criminal charges if they find him. And like him, leaving your performance incomplete in a job interview can get you in hot water too. I've included three Do's and one Don't below to help you finish the job in your next job interview. For more, check out Jeffrey G. Allen's book "Instant Interviews" (Wiley, 2009).

DO make direct eye contact. People who fail to make direct eye contact often come across as shifty people with something to hide. So even if you are a shifty person with something to hide, train yourself to look right into their eyes. Allen does make an interesting suggestion, if the person is ugly, look at the bridge of their eyes. Wow, I would have never come up with that gem on my own, that knowledge would have made it so much easer to survive high school in New Jersey.

DO smile. Smiling really matters more than most of us realize. I used to have a photo attached to this column that I really liked. But I wasn't smiling. And people would write to me about it. Then I replaced it with a smiling photo, and the reaction is totally different. Smiling matters. One trick you should try is to practice smiling in front of a mirror. Sure it sounds dumb, but anything that increases your smile ratio is worth the time and trouble.

DO greet by name. We've all met the annoying people who keep repeating your name when they first meet you, are all you insurance agents and car salespeople out there listening? But just because people do annoying techniques to learn your name, doesn't mean that we should all just nod at each other anonymously. Learn people's names and use them. You'll notice that most people really appreciate your acknowledgement of them.

DON'T wimp out on the handshake. It sounds like a cliché, but a firm handshake really sends a message of strength and confidence. On the other hand one of those dead fish handshakes just makes most people want to keep their hands in their pocket. And this isn't just something for men, women you need to learn how to give a confident handshake. It's no different than the old rule about how you get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice. All bets are off however, if Avian flu ever strikes our shores. Elbow bumping anyone?

Follow these tips and you won't be going solo for long, you'll get hired after your next interview.


Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via


Thought of the Week

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."

–Yogi Berra

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

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