guardian.co.uk, Thursday 21 July 2011 10.00 BST
Three-quarters of interviews are failed within three minutes of entering the room. Interviewers are put off by weak handshakes, a lack of eye contact, poor body language, poor posture (slumped shoulders suggest a lack of confidence) and a grim demeanour. Many recruiters make early judgements about your trustworthiness, likeability, competitiveness and professionalism and spend the rest of the interview confirming these opinions.
You should shake hands firmly and warmly, but wait to be invited to sit down. Handshakes originated as a way for knights to show that they didn't have concealed weapons. They communicate sociability and friendliness: normally desirable qualities in candidates whereas weak handshakes may communicate introversion and shyness. At the start of the interview you should smile at and maintain good eye contact with the interviewer. Try to relax without perching on the edge of your chair, but don't slouch either. Speak clearly and not too fast. Give yourself a moment to think about your replies. Avoid fidgeting and using phrases like "you know" and "I mean".
Tim Reed is a careers adviser in the Careers Advisory Service at the University of Kent