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Perception is everything: 5 interview tips

June 1, 2010
by Bernie Reifkind
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If you are a healthcare employer and you just received a fantastic looking resumé and you have arranged an interview with the applicant, here are five interview tips that you need to know:

  1. Judge a book by its cover. I know that this is exactly the opposite of what your mother told you but sorry, Mom, on an interview, first impressions can be lasting impressions. How is this person dressed? What an applicant wears on an interview speaks volumes in the silent language of perception. Regardless of the position or age, a serious applicant should always dress professionally for an interview. It's a sign of respect and a signal of how serious someone is about his or her career.

  2. Be aware of eye contact. If the “eyes are a window to the soul” then it is vital to observe a candidate's eye contact during an interview. Be wary if there is little eye contact or if someone has “shifty” eyes. Also be aware of someone who tries too hard at making eye contact. Are you being stared down? See if the applicant's eyes match the tone of the dialogue that you are having. Eye contact is huge in an initial interview.

  3. Honest handshake? When you shake hands with someone that you meet, a lot can be determined. If the handshake is too easy and awkward, what does that mean to you? Have you ever shaken hands with someone who grips you so hard that you feel like a bone in your hand might break? I personally don't like either style, but an old-fashioned mutual handshake can transmit honesty, warmth, and enthusiasm.

  4. Chemistry matters. As you are interviewing an applicant, do you feel a chemistry or warmth with this person? Sometimes we meet people and although their resumé is perfect, they say all the right things, and their references check out, something is still missing. Chemistry is that unspoken connection with someone that is either there or it isn't. It's a feeling about someone, a hunch if you will. Chemistry should be a big factor in your hiring decision.

  5. Make sure you are hiring to solve a need. This may seem obvious but it is critical only to hire someone when you necessary or if you need a better employee to solve an immediate business need. Hire to solve a need that you have right now. Never hire someone just because you might need this person sometime in the future. Hire for right now if the need exceeds the want.

Bernie Reifkind is CEO and founder of Premier Search (, a healthcare executive search firm in Los Angeles. He can be reached by e-mail at or (800) 801-1400. Long-Term Living 2010 June;59(6):52