First impressions matter – particularly at a job interview.
When you’re prepping for an interview, your focus is likely on the tough questions you might face during your sit-down with the potential employer, the thorough responses you want to give, and the professional, yet witty anecdotes you’d like to tell.
But before you get the chance to deliver your well rehearsed answers, you might want to think back a step – from the moment you walk through the door to the interview room, the pressure is on, because you have to make a fantastic first impression.
Check out the tips we’ve put together below, to help make sure you are presenting yourself in the best way possible on the day of your interview:
Dress for the job you want
You should dress in professional attire, like a suit or shirt and pants for a man/blouse and skirt/pants or a dress for a woman. Your clothes should not be too tight, too revealing, or too baggy. Take a good look at yourself in the mirror before you head in to the interview – do you look smart? If you’re not too sure, check with a friend. You should also try to avoid wearing too much jewellery, perfume or aftershave.
Dress codes vary, but for an interview, you should always make the assumption to dress smart, unless you are told otherwise.
Arrive on time
Are you driving or travelling by public transport to your interview? Allow extra time for delays and aim to get there 10-15 minutes beforehand. Any earlier, you look a little too keen and could be waiting around for a while – you might also put added pressure on the employer to meet you earlier. Any later? This would be the first bad impression you will make on your employer, especially if you don’t tell them that you are running late.
This is such an obvious tip, but smiling is the easiest and quickest way to make a great first impression on someone. It is a universal sign of friendliness. Use your natural smile, and don’t force it. As long as you come across approachable, it’s a good start – even if you’re not the biggest grinner in the room. Oh, and don’t forget to brush and floss beforehand!
Make eye contact
Again, an obvious one. Eye contact shows the person you are speaking to that you are listening – it’s a vital tactic you should use whenever you meet someone new, especially if you want to make a good impression. Don’t overdo it though – too much eye contact can be quite intimidating – find the right balance between looking distracted and not taking your eyes off them.
Give a firm handshake
Shake hands with a firm grip. A firm handshake, not too tight, and not completely limp, shows a sign of confidence. If you’re not already standing when your interviewer walks into the room, make sure you offer a handshake when they do.
Get your interviewer’s name right
Again, so simple, that it’s easily forgotten. This technique is especially helpful if you are meeting someone with an unusual name or if you have difficulty retaining new information.
Research names and titles beforehand – you can use LinkedIn or ask human resources. This will help you avoid an embarrassing couple of seconds struggling to pronounce their name in front of them.
You should behave in your interview as if you actually want the job, even if you are secretly wondering if the position is a good fit for your talents. Showing you are interested rubs off well on your audience. It will engage the employer, and should produce a healthy conversation regarding the organisation and its needs, and determine whether you should pursue the position.
All goes well, and your application meets the employer’s needs, you should be driving straight towards a job you love in not time!
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