What do first dates, puberty and interviews have in common? We all go through these milestones at some point with varying levels of trepidation and hormones. Scoring an interview’s easy, but what about clinching your dream job, internship, university or spouse? Here are 5 tips to save you the embarrassment of looking like SMRT (read: a train wreck) in front of prospective bosses! 

1. Shake the Hand that Feeds You

Before the interview starts, you’ll most likely be extended a handshake from the interviewers. Don’t worry; no one’s inducting you into some creepy brotherhood or fraternity—unless Lady Gaga tracks start playing and you’re offered a cup of blood to drink from. A firm and confident handshake, complete with eye contact, reveals professionalism and the candidate’s ability to remain calm amid pressurising situations. Just make sure your palm isn’t sweat-stained. That’s not what people refer to when they boast of leaving their mark somewhere. 

2. Love at First Sight

Though not offered as a Mathematics module, first impressions still count. Many HR managers and top executives attest that the decision to hire is made seconds after the applicant reveals himself to his / her interviewers. Place resumes, stationery, mobile phones and other random pieces of your life into a briefcase to avoid looking like you’ve walked into the wrong room and planet.

3. Less is More

Unlike the Ministry of Education’s mantra of “Teach Less, Tuition More”, the concept of minimalism works wonders in an interview. Cut down on flamboyant outfits, questionable hand gesticulations, Zoolander-style eye contact and exaggerated torso swivels—unless it’s an interview for visual prostitution along Knightsbridge.

4. Size Matters

Since the beginning of time, spherical objects such as lollipops and hope (bet you didn’t know it’s circular!) have hinted that one is as comfortable as the radii of his / her movements. Keeping arms and elbows close to your body indicates shyness and vulnerability, which will be taken to detrimental effect if you’re trying to snag a sales position, or a grave at law school. 

5. Go the Extra Smile 

While smiling throughout the interview comes across as a toothpaste ad gone wrong, the magic of showing teeth isn’t ruined if utilised with prudence. Punctuate long answers with occasional glimpses of canines and incisors. This establishes emotional proximity and invites the interviewers to spot their own reflections in your pearly-whites. 

Of course, body language shouldn’t be the main focus of your preparations. How delicious you look cannot compensate for a lack of knowledge about the company you’re applying to. Only after doing your homework will you be able to arrange stuffed toys on a swanky new desk!