The old saying goes that first impressions are everything, but this is especially true during a job interview. No matter how well the interview goes as a whole, the impression you make in the first few minutes will have a huge affect on the way a recruiter feels about you as an applicant. Prepare yourself for the entire interview, but make sure you are ready to put your best face forward from the minute you arrive. Follow these tips to make a positive and lasting first impression.
Being late to a job interview immediately starts things off on the wrong foot. It is a good policy to arrive ten minutes early, because you never know how promptly your interviewer will want to begin. Make sure you are available as soon as they are ready.
Ignore Your Phone
If you are asked to wait for a job interview to start, do not immediately pull out your phone. Take the time to look over your resume, examine your surroundings, and relax. That way, when your interviewer comes out to meet you, you are not caught off guard.
Dress the Part
Your interviewer will notice the way you look before you ever open your mouth. Make sure that you are dressed in appropriate professional attire, and pay extra attention to the details. Having unkempt hair, too much perfume, inappropriate shoes, or dirty fingernails can all send the wrong impression.
Bring only what you have been asked to bring, and perhaps some supporting documents in a small and well organized folder or briefcase. Do not bring in coffee cups, oversized bags, or other items you regularly carry with you. Ultimately, this makes you look overly causal.
Engage the Interviewer
When you first meet the interviewer, offer a handshake and a smile, and be sure to make eye contact. These are professional norms, but they also help to connect you with the interviewer and diffuse some of the anxiety and antagonism that can arise in interview situations.
For better or for worse, you are on display in a job interview. In order to appear confident and competent, avoid using filler words like “um,” “uh,” and “like.” You should also avoid using slang and colloquialisms. There may be a place for this type of speech in the workplace, but in a job interview you want each one of your words to count.
Look for Connections
If you can find a common point of interest between you and you interviewer – a similar hobby, or an affiliation with a school for example – it can help you stand out from other applicants. Don’t strain for a connection, or belabor it when you find one, but try to connect with your interviewer on a personal level before you get down to business.
No matter how qualified you are for a position, the interview matters. Never enter one without first considering what is at stake. To learn more about connecting with today’s recruiters, work with the recruiting experts at Selectek.