When thinking about how to make a good first impression at a job interview, it is natural to skip ahead and start preparing for tough interview questions that could be the basis of whether you receive an offer for the role. However, there are other important elements to consider, such as what to wear and how to conduct yourself in person or via a video call.
A first impression is more important than you may think. From the moment you start your interview people will be making an impression of you in their head. Your behaviour, attitude, and personal presentation will influence whether an employer sees you as a good fit for their team and the wider organisation. So, what can you do to impress your interviewer?
How to Make a Positive First Impression
To ensure you come across as the ideal candidate, we have pulled together 10 tips on how to impress in an interview. Follow these guidelines and you’re certain to impress your interviewers.
The best thing you can do to make a good first impression during an interview is to be well-prepared for the interview when you arrive. Ensure you have researched the company beforehand and practised common interview questions that relate to your skill set and work experience.
- DO: Reread the Job Description
This is a vital step in making sure you know what the role will entail and will help you demonstrate how your previous and current work aligns with the role requirements. The job description will also include keywords that employers will be looking to hear you reference in your interview questions.
There is nothing worse than being late to an interview. Job Description Library suggests 84% of interviewers regard lateness (without forewarning or explanation) as the worst interview offence possible. To ensure this doesn’t happen make sure you have a schedule of your day planned out, including a wake-up time and a travel plan that accounts for unexpected delays. It is also recommended to arrive 10-15 minutes early to show that you are a prompt and reliable person. This also gives you some insight into the workplace dynamic to see if this is a good environment for you.
Your outfit of choice should reflect the job that you want. See what the dress code is for the company and dress accordingly for your interview. A clean and tidy appearance - including shined shoes and a curated outfit – can go a long way. Personal hygiene is also crucial when making a good first impression in an interview. Make sure you have brushed and flossed your teeth, your hair is clean, and your fingernails are presentable. For those who are partial to a morning tea or coffee, it’s sensible to have mints on hand.
- DO: Remember Manners and Body Language
Greet the team you are speaking with warmly and, should the interviewer be comfortable, offer a handshake. Some people might be uncomfortable with a handshake due to Covid-19, so it is best practice to ask. Make eye contact when speaking and do not slouch. This is important for both in-person and video interviews. For those who get nervous before an interview, take a deep breath and exhale, this will help manage those nerves.
Prepare in advance and make sure that when you enter the building, or your room at home where your interview is taking place, that you turn your phone off. It is distracting when you can hear notifications going off and could be perceived as unprofessional behaviour. If you would prefer not to turn your phone off altogether, you can mute the device.
- DON’T: Forget to Bring a Copy of Your CV
Although the interview team will already have seen a copy of your CV, they might not have been able to read it all the way through or it’s possible they would like to review it with you in person. Having a copy will allow them to follow your career journey and is a great reference when you are talking through your experience. If you know ahead of time how many people will be present, print off that number. If not, we would recommend 5 to ensure that you have enough to hand around.
- DO: Use a Friendly Greeting
Be genuine and enthusiastic when meeting the interview panel for the first time. Your initial greeting might set the tone for the interview. If you offer a warm, personable – yet professional – greeting, you could set yourself up for success. If you act in a shy, sheepish manner, your interviewer is unlikely to be impressed.
- DO: Keep Your Answers Clear and Concise
Your interview time is limited so be mindful of rambling. Make sure you focus on your key areas of expertise and practise your answers beforehand. Incoherent, meandering speech is likely to undermine your credibility and leave a negative impression. Brevity is your friend.
- DON’T: Forget to Thank the Employer for Their Time
Both employers and employees have taken time out of their workday to facilitate the interview. To end proceedings with a positive first impression, ensure you thank everyone for their time, ask about the next steps, and follow up with an email to reiterate your thanks.
Leaving Positive First Impressions
Using these tips will help you to start out your interview on the right foot, provide you with the confidence to answer questions confidently, and will alleviate some of the nerves that are typical when attending a first interview. By ensuring that you are adequately prepared before each interview, you stand to make an outstanding first impression. That could be the deciding factor that helps you clinch the job over other candidates.
For more career advice, CV tips, and other exclusive insights, visit the Fish4jobs blog.