First the good news: If you have been invited for a job interview by an employer the hiring manager (or recruiter manager) thinks you are qualified -- at least according to your resume -- to do the job you are seeking.Now the bad news: In most hiring situations you are not the only job-seeker interviewing for the job as the employer generally ranks job candidates and invites the top tier for an interview -- so you'll be competing against similar candidates all of whom are also interested in the job you are seeking.
Your goal of course is to win over the employer -- and all the people you interview with... to convince these folks that you are the best candidate for the job.
And that process begins with making a great first impression at the job interview. How do you make sure you make a great first impression? Keep reading.
5 Tips for How to Make a Good Impression in an Interview
1. Come Prepared
Before the big day, do the following: research the company, practice interviewing, and route from your home to the interview site. Get a good night's sleep so that you're ready for the big day.
2. Arrive to the Job Interview on Time
There is no worse impression a job-seeker can make than to show up late for an interview; in fact if you're going to be late to an interview you might as well not even show up because the hole you've dug is so deep there is really no way out. (Exceptions include an accident or mechanical failure.)
Actually your goal should be arriving about 10-15 minutes ahead of your scheduled interview time. This time allows you some room for delays a chance to use the restroom before heading into the interview and time to complete any necessary paperwork BEFORE the interview.
Hint: Another benefit of arriving a bit early is the chance to observe your surroundings and see how the people working there interact with each other.
3. Arrive Dressed and Groomed
You may be familiar with the phrase dressing for success but if not your goal is to dress for the interview like you already look the part of a typical worker for the job you seek. The employer will make an immediate judgment about you based on what you are wearing at the interview.
For professional positions the ideal may be a tailored outfit; for others a nice button-down shirt and pants. The key is knowing what is appropriate -- and making sure whatever you are wearing is clean and pressed.
Grooming is also an important factor. Make sure your hair is combed fingernails clean and breathe fresh. Also avoid body odor -- as well as excess perfume/cologne.
4. Greet Support Staff Professionally
In most situations you'll encounter a gatekeeper -- a receptionist front-end manager an assistant. Treat these people with the same respect you would treat all others.
We have heard from several employers who tell stories of job candidates who treated support staff rudely; job candidates who did NOT get job offers.
5. Practice Good Posture -- Before and During the Interview
Your posture says a lot about your confidence and interest in the position -- at least in the eyes of the employer.
Both while waiting and in the interview sit straight in your chair leaning in slightly toward the interviewer. No slouching!
6. Greet the Interviewer(s) Warmly and Confidently
The keys to making a great first impression at the very beginning of the job interview is to stand up (straight) make strong eye contact smile confidently and shake hands firmly.
A few notes on the handshake: keep it firm but not bone-crushing. Make sure your hand is dry (using a paper towel or handkerchief in your pocket to dry it before shaking hands if necessary).
Final Thoughts on Making Good First Impressions in the Job Interview
While most interviews -- and job offers -- are decided within the actual interview itself failing to make a good first impression can doom your chances so that you are spending the entire job interview just trying to correct misconceptions caused by earlier mistakes... and in many cases there are just too many better prepared candidates who made the right impressions from the start.
By following these tips you will be well on your way to making a great first impression with your potentially next employer.