The time has come for your interview. Are you ready? Are you nervous? Lots of things are probably going on in your mind. The first few minutes can make or break your interview – even before you’ve answered one question. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. Like it or not, most people, including interviewers, will start forming an opinion of you immediately, maybe without even saying a word. So, how do you make a great impression?
Tips for Creating a Good Impression
Arrive 10 minutes early – You don’t want to arrive too early and you never want to arrive late. Ten minutes are a safe cushion. It will give you time to check in and collect your thoughts.
Dress appropriately – While suits are not always needed, you should dress professionally. Show you care enough to want the job. Wear something comfortable, neat and clean that makes you feel like a winner.
Treat everyone with respect – From the receptionist to the interviewer, be polite and respectful. Interviewers will often get feedback from every single person the candidate saw or talked to.
Be organized and prepared – Keep your papers organized, turn off and put away your phone and keys in a neat manner. Know the names of who you will meet with and be ready to share documents or other information as needed.
Be positive – Stay upbeat. Greet people with enthusiasm. Keep your spirits up and your attitude positive.
Keep calm – Everyone gets nervous. Take a few deep breaths, smile and focus on being confident. Remember, you are interviewing them, too!
Watch your body language – Start off with a firm handshake. Maintain good eye contact and posture. Try to avoid fidgeting or other quirks.
Get good at small talk – Be comfortable with talking about safe subject like the weather, a recent holiday and other small things. Let the interviewer take the lead. Be interested in the conversation and try to find some common ground.
That’s a lot of stuff to pack into those first few minutes, but how you handle yourself in that time can make a world of difference. If too many negative things have happened in the first 5 minutes, you probably won’t be able to bounce back.
Most people will get ready for an interview by rehearsing a few questions and doing some research about the company. While you absolutely need to do that type of preparation, you should also take some time think about those initial impressions and how you will make them great.