How To Make A Good Impression At Your (First) Interview!

The most important part of the job interview are the first 30 seconds (unfortunately, I will explain later). In most cases, this is the only time you will get to make a great impression, or a poor one.

You will probably get more time than that but this is really the only opportunity to start off on the right foot, within the first few minutes of meeting your interviewer.  So let’s start by dissecting the anatomy of those first few seconds and what you really need to do to cement your position as the ‘right’ candidate for that job.

Practice

Practicing might not make you perfect, but it will help you make a good impression and build your self-confidence. Review our most common interview questions and answers and use our free online interview practice to get AI assisted feedback to improve your interview skills. 

Interview practice gif

Dress to impress

As the title suggests, don’t over or under dress. Dress to impress and avoid using over the top colors (ladies). Be professional, look professional. Employers are looking for individuals who can roll-up their sleeves and get the job done. 

Be prepared

Don’t leave yourself off guard and enter the battle-zone (interview room) unless you have researched the company, it’s culture & job opportunity thoroughly. This is the only way you can be prepared to answer the question: ‘what do you know about us?

READY FOR YOUR NEXT INTERVIEW?

Job interviews can be nerve wrecking. You don’t know who you are going to meet and what questions are going to be asked. Plus you only get ONE chance.

Company insights

The more information you have about the company, the more prepared and confident you will be. Information is king during the interview process and we have seen well researched job seekers swinging the interview in their favor compared to more qualified and less researched individuals. So take your research a step further and research the interviewer/s as well on various social media channels. 

Dissect the job description

Overconfidence will reduce your chances for success in the interview process. Don’t just read the job title and assume you know everything about the job. Read the entire JD, line-by-line, with a highlighter in hand. Highlight what you don’t understand.  (more on this later) Understand what the employer is looking for. Review your resume and prepare to present what value you bring to the job. 

30 minute rule

Considering the directions, traffic and parking challenges, try to reach your location at least 30 minutes ahead of your scheduled interview. This will give you ample time to find the location and parking. Get inside the office block. Make a quick trip to the wash/powder room for last minute touch up. Take the elevator to the office and still have 10 mins or so to get your thoughts together. 

Handshake (if you do make it count)

Handshake says alot about people’s personality. A soft handshake can indicate insecurity, whilst a quick-to-let-go handshake can suggest arrogance. 

In 2001, psychologist William Chaplin studied 122 college students and found that handshake types indicate personality type. Extroverts tend toward firm handshakes; introverts don’t.

Smile

Don’t overdo it, but think positive and smile when you’re meeting the interviewer and when it’s appropriate during the interview. Positive people with strong interpersonal skills are more likely to be hired.

Show your enthusiasm

One of the ways to leave an everlasting impression is to show your enthusiasm and passion for what you do. Let the interviewer know that you are excited about this career opportunity.

Right fit

Show the interviewer that you are the great fit for the job. Don’t just reply on the interviewers understanding (sometimes misunderstanding) of your skills. This is the opportunity for you to match your skills with the job requirements. Highlight them on paper, and open your notepad to walk the interviewer through. The trick here is to highlight every matching point in the job description, as the recruiter exactly what they are looking for and present your case. 

Don't panic, stay calm

There will be times when all the preparation in the world might not be able to prepare you for that one interview question. Don’t panic. Your reaction if you can’t immediately come up with an answer can be more important than the ability to deliver the answer. Maintaining a calm, confident posture when confronted with a tough question will help convince the recruiter that your inability to answer a question is an unusual occurrence for you.

Follow up

A final way to make the best impression and show you care about the opportunity is to follow up with a ‘thank you’ email or a quick call.  Make sure to include everyone who was involved in the interview process. This may be your final opportunity to once again show why you are the perfect candidate for the job. 

Best practice: send within 24 hours. 

BONUS: Sample Follow up email

Dear Mr./Ms. (last name):

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me for the (job title) opportunity. The position seems like a strong match for my skills and abilities, and I believe I would be an asset to your organization.

(add a short note on how your skills match the position)

In addition to my enthusiasm, I will bring to the position strong communication skills, attention to detail, and the ability to effectively and diplomatically resolve challenging customer issues. (replace with relevant content)

If you have any questions, or if I can provide you with further information regarding my candidacy, please don’t hesitate to ask.

I am very interested in working for your organization and look forward to hearing from you regarding the position.

Sincerely,

Your Name
Phone
Email

The first 30 seconds: most ‘professional’ recruiters will not pass judgement and establish their option based on a 30 second interaction. Even though it is only human nature to establish the unconscious bias, a profession recruiter should block their bias and give the candidates the opportunity to settle down to represent themselves. Most professional recruiters agree that the unconscious bias this must be avoided, if not eliminated, from the recruitment process. 

If you enjoyed the read: please join the discussion, like & share this article with your social network! 

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