5 Ways to Impress Your Job Interviewer In the First 90 Seconds

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iStock

You finally snagged an interview for your dream job, so obviously you've studied the company, and you can talk for days about why you’d be a perfect fit. But it turns out that 33 percent of bosses will determine whether they’re going to hire you within the first 90 seconds of meeting you, according to a survey by Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and HR technologies. Want to ace the interview? Here are the five top tips from the pros.

1. DON'T OVERDRESS.

You want to impress, so you should wear the best suit in your closet, right? Actually, if you’re wearing a suit and everyone else in that office wears leggings and flannel, then it’s a dead giveaway that you’re not going to fit in with their team, says Steven Rothberg, president and founder of College Recruiter.

If you’re unsure of what to wear, you can ask. Also, different people within the same organization may dress differently. Higher level people may dress in suits, while lower level people may be dressed casually, so you’ll want to be dressed as well or slightly better than the level for which you're interviewing so that no one will feel uncomfortable. Sixty-five percent of interviewers say that clothing choice could be a deciding factor between two nearly identical candidates, Come Recommended's survey found.

2. SHOW UP AT THE RIGHT TIME.

This doesn’t mean to arrive too early, says Brandi Britton, district president of OfficeTeam, a staffing service specializing in administrative and office support professionals. “Plan to show up five to 10 minutes before your interview time,” Britton says. “Arriving any earlier than that may catch the hiring manager off-guard and make them feel like they’re expected to drop everything to meet with you ahead of schedule.” Factor in time to get through the office building's security and the elevator system so that you’re not late, either.

3. BE POLITE... TO EVERYONE.

One way employers judge potential candidates is to see how they treat the first person they meet (usually the receptionist), Britton says. “Not only are your actions before the interview indicative of your manners and personality, but the receptionist or other individuals’ input can be obtained to sway the final decision,” she says.

4. BRING SOME GEAR.

You’ll need a good quality pen (not one with a bank or hotel logo on it), along with a blank pad of paper, says Barry Drexler, president and founder of Expert Interview Coach. If you’re interviewing for a tech job, swap out that paper notepad for the latest tech notebook or tablet.

5. LOOK THE PART.

“Be mindful of what your body language is saying,” Britton says. “Slouching, constantly shifting in your chair, crossing your arms, or wearing a tense expression can signal nervousness or disinterest.”

In a survey, bosses 'fessed up that body language faux pas translated to interview fails. Want to have a fantastic interview? Then sit up straight (33 percent of interviewees have bad posture), look friendly (21 percent cross their arms over their chest), have a strong hand shake (26 percent have a weak handshake), don’t fidget (33 percent fidget), smile (38 percent don’t smile), look the interviewer in the eyes (67 percent fail to make eye contact), and don’t play with or touch your hair (21 percent have this habit), according to Come Recommended.

It’s National Cookie Day! Here’s Where to Score Some Free Treats

UMeimages/iStock via Getty Images
UMeimages/iStock via Getty Images

If you plan on eating as many baked goods as possible this December, now's your chance to get a head start. Today—December 4—is National Cookie Day, and chains across the country are celebrating by handing out free cookies. Here are the best places to snag a treat before the day is over.

    • Great American Cookies, a chain that's concentrated in the southeastern U.S., is marking the day by rewarding members of its loyalty program. If you already have the loyalty app, you can swing by a participating location any time today and pick up your free original chocolate chip cookie without making any additional purchases. The promotion only applies to customers who signed up for the program before midnight on December 3, so you aren't eligible for the free snack if you download the app on your way to the store.
    • The cookie giant Mrs. Fields is also participating in the holiday. Buy anything from one of the chain's stores on December 4 and you'll get a free cookie with your purchase. If you spring for the Nutcracker Sweet Tower, which is made from five festive containers of baked goods, you can send a Mrs. Fields Peace, Love & Cookies 30 Nibbler Tin to a friend for free.
    • But what if you're looking for a free cookie with no strings attached? Surprisingly, a hotel chain may be offering the best deal for National Cookie Day. Throughout December 4, you can stop by a DoubleTree by Hilton and ask for a free cookie at the front desk. DoubleTree provides complimentary cookies to guests at check-in all year round, and every year on National Cookie Day, the hotel chain extends that offer to everyone.

There's no shortage of great cookies across the U.S. If you're willing to travel to satisfy your sweet tooth, here are the best chocolate chip cookies in all 50 states.

License to Bird: Meet the Real James Bond

American ornithologist James Bond, circa 1974.
American ornithologist James Bond, circa 1974.

On January 4, 1900, a child was born in Philadelphia. His name was Bond. James Bond. He would not grow up to be a globe-trotting, license-to-kill-carrying playboy spy like the other James Bond. Instead, he became an ornithologist, and lived a fairly quiet, normal life—until someone borrowed his name.  

Bond lived in New Hampshire and England while growing up, and developed an accent that a colleague described [PDF] as an “amalgam of New England, British, and upper-class Philadelphian.” After graduating from Cambridge, Bond returned to the U.S. to work as a banker, but his childhood interests in science and natural history spurred him to quit soon after and join an expedition to the Amazon to collect biological specimens for Philadelphia’s Academy of Natural Sciences.

After that, and with no formal training in the field, he started working as an ornithologist at the Academy, and was “among the last of a traditional museum breed, the independently wealthy, nonsalaried curator, who lacked advanced university degrees.” Working at the museum, Bond became an authority on the bird species of the Caribbean, and his 1936 book, Birds of the West Indies, was considered the definitive guide to the region’s birds at the time. 

Despite his many scientific accomplishments—which included dozens of papers about Caribbean and New England birds, more books and field guides, numerous medals and awards and other researchers using the term “Bond’s Line” to refer to the boundary that separates Caribbean fauna by their origin—that book would be what catapulted Bond, or at least his name, to international fame.

In 1961, Bond was reading a London newspaper’s review of the latest edition of his book and found eyebrow-raising references to handguns, kinky sex, and other elements of a life that sounded very unlike his. He and his wife Mary quickly learned that another James Bond was the hero of a series of novels by Ian Fleming, which were popular in the UK but just gaining notice in the U.S. Mary wrote to Fleming to jokingly chastise him for stealing her husband’s name for his “rascal” character. 

Fleming replied to explain himself: He was a birdwatcher and when he was living in Jamaica beginning work on his first spy novel, Birds of the West Indies was one of his bird “bibles.” He wanted his main character to have an ordinary, unassuming name, and when he was trying to drum one up, he remembered the author of the book he turned to so often. “It struck me that this name, brief, unromantic and yet very masculine, was just what I needed and so James Bond II was born,” Fleming wrote to Mary. (Fleming later called “James Bond” the “dullest name I’ve ever heard.”)

Fleming told Mary that he understood if they were angry at the theft of Bond’s name, and suggested a trade. “In return I can only offer your James Bond unlimited use of the name Ian Fleming for any purpose he may think fit,” he wrote. “Perhaps one day he will discover some particularly horrible species of bird which he would like to christen in an insulting fashion.” 

He also invited the Bonds to his home in Jamaica, which they took him up on a few years later. During the Bonds’ visit, Fleming gave James a copy of his latest novel, You Only Live Twice, inscribed with the message “To the real James Bond from the thief of his identity.”

For the next few decades, until his death at the age of 89, Bond’s famous namesake caused the ornithologist a few minor annoyances. Once, he was supposedly stopped at the airport because officials thought his passport was a fake, and the occasional bank teller would likewise think the same of his checks and refuse to cash them.

Young women would often prank call the Bond house late at night asking to speak to 007, to which Mary would reply: “Yes, James is here. But this is Pussy Galore and he's busy now."

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