How To Make A Successful First Impression At A Job Interview

Robin Schwartz

How To Make A Successful First Impression At A Job Interview

We’ve all heard how first impressions are lasting or how first impressions can’t be undone. The sayings ring true when interviewing for a job. It’s not just what you wear to the interview that makes the lasting first impression. Your actions, even before you walk into the room, can often form the impression your interviewers leave with.

Be On Time

If you’re getting to the interview late, you’re already off to a bad start. Don’t let traffic or parking issues prevent you from being at least 10-15 minutes early to your interview. You want a few minutes to relax before being called in the room. If you’re rushing, you’re going to be even more flustered. There’s nothing worse than walking into a room full of people you realize are waiting for you.

Your interviewers are watching to make sure you can be counted on to be somewhere when you say you will. Failing to arrive in time tells a lot about you before the interview even starts. Making excuses for yourself also shows some insight into what kind of employee you might be.

Avoid Overwhelming The Room

If you insist on wearing cologne or perfume to an interview, wear very little. Better yet, spray a fraction of the amount you normally do on yourself. Overpowering a room with your scent can be a real turnoff.

Aside from the potentially pleasant smells of perfume and cologne, other unpleasant smells need to be acknowledged. Don’t forget to wear deodorant, especially if your interview is during the summer months. Having good hygiene is a necessity. Brush your teeth before the interview and pop a mint before you walk in.

If you have the habit of smoking, do your best to avoid it in the hours leading up to the interview. Walking in reeking of cigarette smoke may really offend your interviewers. Oftentimes, those who smoke will attempt to mask the smell by spraying cologne or perfume. This is even worse since the smell of smoke is now complimented by an overpowering perfume/cologne.

Dress For Success

Unless you’re interviewing for a job in the fashion industry, it’s unlikely your interviewers will be considering the label of the clothing or how “on trend” it is. Dressing appropriately for an interview probably won’t make much of an impression, but that’s the point. You should dress for the job and follow proper etiquette. It will be more noticeable (and create a negative impression) if you are unable to do so.

Clothing should fit well and be clean. If you don’t have a go-to interview outfit, invest in one. In some cases, wearing professional slacks and a shirt and tie might be appropriate for an interview. You have to consider the company and position. If you’re applying for a manager level or director level position, the suit is a must.

Show Your Enthusiasm

Make sure the hiring managers know how excited you are about the opportunity to be considered by being vocal. When it’s appropriate, openly discuss how the job fits in with your desired career trajectory.

Occasionally, you may be expected to interview with multiple hiring managers separately. You need to remain energetic and enthusiastic about your conversations with each interviewer. No matter how many times you have been asked the same questions.

Be as enthusiastic about the opportunity with your last interview of the day as you were with the first. Expect that the interviewers will be comparing notes. You want your fist impression to be consistent among everyone you meet.

Be Confident

Interviews can make many people nervous. If you are already a shy person, interviewing with a panel of people could really unnerve you. It’s important to project confidence to your interviewers and show the company how self-assured you are. An interview is essentially a sales pitch. You are selling what you can offer to the company. If you don’t believe in that product, they won’t either.

Do whatever it takes to help you boost your confidence and comfort in interview situations. Practice answering questions in front of a mirror or find a tactic to use in the moment if you tend to get flustered.

Be Knowledgeable

Interviewers want you to impress them with how much you know about the company. Walking in to an interview with little to no knowledge of the company will be noticed quickly. It doesn’t take long to do a simple internet search to see if they have been in the news lately. If you haven’t taken the time to prepare questions based on the job or company, you are showing the interviewers you’re not that interested. in the opportunity.

Making your first impression isn’t just about what you wear or how you look. Being courteous, confident, knowledgeable and excited about the opportunity will allow your interviewers to form a positive impression of you.

About The Author

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz has nearly a decade of experience providing HR expertise to employees and management in higher education. Her broad experience includes benefits, compensation, performance management, employee relations, payroll, talent acquisition and management. She received her masters degree from American Military University and maintains a PHR certification.

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