First Impressions Count for a Job Interview

Other employees will meet you before you see the boss – these are your potential colleagues and it is a great start if you greet everyone that you encounter with positivity and warmth, no matter what their role is.  Avoid being negative about your journey, the weather or the stairs!  It also helps to arrive 5-10 minutes early – both to display punctuality and in case there is paperwork that needs completing or if the interview room is far from reception.

So how can you make a great impression before the questions start?

The interview you will look at you before they hear your voice – your physical appearance counts.  Keep things simple with a smart suit or similar with minimal accessories and subtle fragrance.  Offer a smile with eye contact then offer your hand – even if they do not at first offer theirs.

What about the rest of the interview?

A good candidate is prepared – review your application form so that everything you have told them is fresh in your mind – this avoids repetition and gives continuity to your impression. Know what you want to say and what questions you would like to ask.  You should know a bit about the company and the role – information that you can refer to in your answers – go further than just their homepage.

Be aware of your posture and body language – sit forward, arms relaxed.  If you tend to race your speech when nervous – use the pace of your interviewer as a guide and subtly mirror them – our brains warm most to those who seem similar to us.

If your mind goes blank, repeat the question aloud to give yourself thinking time, always pause briefly before any answer to avoid saying things before you have thought them through.  Ask them to repeat or rephrase questions if necessary – this is better than given an irrelevant answer if you didn’t quite understand. offer further in-depth information, particularly for graduate and professional roles.

The exit – end with a thank you, a smile and another handshake.  Remind them that that you are available if they have any other questions or require additional information.  Then you can relax!  Interviews are a performance – you need to leave your audience impressed and wanting more.

HR, Job Seekers

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