First impressions really do matter, especially in a job interview. Most interviewers will size you up immediately upon meeting you and will have formed a solid first impression before five minutes are up. And if you don’t make a good first impression, chances are you won’t go any further in the interview process.
So how can you wow them from minute one? Here are five tips:
1. Dress to Impress. If you’re not sure of the dress code for the company in question, try to scope out the employees a few days ahead of time while they’re all going in and out for lunch. You should dress as well as, or one step above, the best-dressed person you see. Whatever you wear, make sure it’s clean and pressed. Don’t smell like smoke, perfume or cologne.
2. Be Early, But Not Too Early. If you show up 15 minutes or more ahead of time, that actually shows disrespect for other people’s schedules. The hiring manager will feel pressured to go out and greet you while probably trying to prepare for the interview, while the receptionist will have to deal with you in the meantime. Show up five to 10 minutes before the interview. You’re demonstrating that you’re punctual but respectful.
3. How You Act is How You’re Perceived. Even if you’re shy or introverted, be sure to smile and make eye contact with the receptionist, your interviewer and anyone else you come across. Being perceived as rude or unfriendly will put you on the No list immediately. In fact, one CEO reports that his company offers every interviewee a glass of water when he or she walks in the door. If the interviewee doesn’t say ‘thank you’ after being offered the water, they’ve failed the interview right there.
4. Watch Your Attitude. Two questions most employers ask before the interview are less casual than you think: if they ask something like “How about this weather?” or “Did you have a hard time finding us?” they’re going to judge how you answer. Why? If you complain about either one, you’re giving the impression that you’ll be a negative presence at the office. Nobody wants a whiner on their team.
5. Bring Solutions. Standard interview advice is to do research on the company and hopefully on the position, and to review your resume to figure out how your experience aligns with the job. Take it one step further by analyzing the job description to see how you’ll be able to handle each responsibility on it, and show the interviewer how well you’ll be able to support your boss in the role.
Being judged is an uncomfortable fact of the interview process, but if you keep these tips in mind, you’ll walk away knowing that you’ll be judged well. And if you’d like more tips on how to handle interviews, contact one of our experienced recruiters today!