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Job interviews in the pharma industry are daunting experiences - there’s no denying it. You may have spent weeks reading up on the pharma job and company, you’ve memorised the hiring manager’s LinkedIn page, and you’ve got a list of questions prepared as long as your arm to ask at the end.

But simple things like how you hold yourself during the pharma job interview or what you do with your hands could have an unexpected impact on how the interviewer perceives you and ultimately could determine whether you land the pharma job or not. You may have mastered your verbal communications but your non-verbal communications also play a vital role in the interview process. Simply take note of the tips below though and you’ll be able to leave your pharma job interview knowing you did the best you could.

• Walk up to your interview as if the Hiring Manager/interviewer was with you. You never know – they may have been on the same train as you coming in, been a passenger with you in the lift, or may have clocked you walking up to the building from the office.

• Be as nice to the receptionist as you would to the hiring manager. Receptionists are often asked for their opinion on a potential candidate as they’re usually the first people they interact with when entering the building. You don’t want to be lovely to the hiring manager for them to then discover you were rude to the people on reception.

• Be open. Whether while waiting for the interviewer or during the interview itself don’t hunch your back, cross your arms or tuck your chin into your chest as this will make you come across as a closed character.

• Don’t be cluttered. Try not to have too much stuff on your lap or on the desk. It’s fine to take a portfolio with you but try to keep everything else in either a handbag or briefcase. This will make it less awkward when you need to stand up to either go into the interview room or leave afterwards, and will help you avoid that awkward moment of desperately trying to gather together three notebooks, a laptop, iPad, headphones and a million pens . Also avoid keeping a bag on your lap during the interview as you may appear as if you’re trying to form a barrier between yourself and the interviewer.

• Handshakes – get it right. Too firm and you could come across as aggressive. Too limp and they may form an opinion of you as being a weak character. If you think you might suffer from clammy palms be sure to pop to the bathroom once you’ve arrived at the offices and run your hands under some cold water. It might also be worth dabbing some on the back of your neck to bring your entire body temperature down a few notches and hopefully banish those sweaty hands for long enough.

• Sitting – who knew how you sat could give off so much about yourself. Try to keep a straight back with an open body posture – imagine there’s a piece of string from the top of your head to the ceiling pulling you up. Try to keep both feet on the floor, as opposed to crossing your legs, as this will help keep you more steady and prevent you accidentally kicking someone under the desk as you re-cross your legs. If you must cross your legs do it at the ankle and not the knee as this will allow you to uncross them without anyone noticing.

• Hands – Knowing what to do with your hands and arms can be a difficult one. It’s good to talk with some hand movements but try not to over gesticulate. If you really struggle with this one ask if it’s ok for you to take notes, as having a pen in your hand will help to relax your body language. Although be sure not to then fiddle with any stationary you’ve laid out in front of you.

• Don’t nod excessively. It’s good to show that you’re listening and in agreement with what is being said, but you don’t want to run the risk of looking like a nodding dog.

• Eye contact. It’s important to keep someone’s eye contact as it shows you’re engaged, but you don’t want to end up staring them out. Regularly look away to break the contact. Similarly, looking upwards or looking distracted could suggest a shifty character and may lead people to believe you’re not telling them the truth.

• Finally – remember to smile! Even if your nervous try to smile whenever you can.

If you're looking for a new pharma job take a look at our latest vacancies here

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