5 Ways to Make a Great First Interview Impression
There are very few things in life that you will never get a second chance at, but you never get more one chance to make a first impression on someone, so you need to make sure you do everything you can to make it a good one.
In a job interview, the first impression the interviewer gets from you is crucial. It's widely believed that interviewers will make a conscious or unconscious decision about a candidate in the first few minutes of an interview and spend the remaining time looking for clues and cues from you, the candidate, to justify their initial thoughts.
So how do you maximise the chance that an interviewer will make the right decision about you in those crucial first few minutes? Here's five essential things to remember that will definitely help.
Be on time!
Some advice is just simple, and this couldn't be any simpler. The interview time has been agreed in advance, so make sure you get there on time! Being late tells the interviewer that you're not organised, or worse, are not taking the interview seriously enough to make the effort to arrive on time. Does this mean you'll be unreliable as an employee? Possibly not, but will a prospective employer take the risk?
Arriving a few minutes early is usually a good tactic, as this leaves time for you to check in at a reception desk, and move between floors or buildings if it's a larger complex you're visiting. If you're not sure about arrival etiquette where you're going, call ahead and ask the reception staff what is needed and how long it might take, so you can make sure you've left enough time. A growing number of workplaces have secured access these days, so taking this into consideration is important.
Dress for the occasion.
A clich��? Possibly.
Make sure you turn up looking smart and above all, professional, irrespective of the job you're applying for, or what you think the dress code might be. Dressing smartly is something that may not even be noticed by the interviewer if you do it right, but if you turn up shabbily dressed or in inappropriate clothing, you will seriously hurt your chances of making the good first impression you need.
Equally, be careful not to overdo it. This isn't a black-tie dinner or a night out, and some of what you might wear when you wear your best gear might be stylish, but not necessarily appropriate for a job interview. Where possible, stick to understated but smart, making sure some element of your own personality and style can show through.
Do your homework.
Never go into an interview cold, knowing nothing about the company you're talking to. At the very least you should have visited their website, read about their products and services, where they're located and what values underpin their operations.
Look for the company in the news so you can see what they're up to and how they are perceived in the wider world. If you know people who already work for them, get in touch and explain that you've been invited for an interview and would like to know more about what they do and how they do it. Your contact may be able to point you in the right direction or even supply some materials for you to take a look at. Link your contact to the opportunity in your dashboard on TheJobWorx!
You don't need to be an expert in the company, but many interviewers will ask questions around what you know about the company and why you want to work for them, and it pays to have some background to use in your answer.
Control your nerves.
This is possibly one of the most difficult things to do. Being nervous in an important situation is natural, but to come across as confident and able, you'll need to keep the signs of your nervousness in check as far as possible.
There are a few things you can do that will help. Firstly, if you did the homework mentioned earlier, you can be confident that you know something about the company and that if pressed, you can speak about what you know.
Secondly, prepare for the interview by having a relaxing night beforehand so you can wake refreshed and on top of your game. Make sure you've had a decent and healthy breakfast, avoiding smelly foods if at all possible. Make sure you're comfortable in your interview clothes. If you think you look good, you'll feel good and that adds to your confidence level.
Try to think positively about the interview. You got this far, so there's definitely something that they like about you, your CV or what you've said so far in the process. Plenty of people have not made it this far - but you have. Remember also that an interview is a two-sided process. Bear in mind that you are also interviewing the company and the managers on the other side of the table. You need to be sure this is a company and a team you want to work with. Keeping this in mind can sometimes help redress the balance a little when you're nervous.
Sit up straight and crack a smile.
Possibly the simplest thing, but one of the most effective. Sitting up straight in the chair makes you look and feel attentive and cracking a smile makes you feel happier, helps to steady your nerves and tells the interviewers that you're delighted to be there.
Article Added: 02/06/2014
Posted By: Paul Docherty