It is a well-known fact that first impressions matter, particularly when attending job interviews. While we all wish that the professional qualification is what mattered most, evidence has found that the first impression will shape a person’s perception of another individual’s professional competence. Those people who perform well during the “rapport building phase” of an interview – the period where you meet and greet people – will often be rated higher on an evaluation of professional capabilities irrespective of their qualifications. Higher ratings result in more follow-up interviews and potentially more job offers.
Taking all of this into account, it seems that good impressions can help a person land a job. This article will offer 13 top ways to improve your first impression.
1. Dressing For The Job You Want
Dressing in professional attire is important if you are making a presentation, meeting with key clients, or having lunch with the CEO or senior vice president of a company.
It is important that the professional clothes are suitable for the situation; for example, the clothing is not too revealing, tight or baggy. If you have a question regarding the appropriateness of your attire, do not be afraid to ask a friend to confirm the choice. If the outfit is not appropriate, you can quickly change your clothing to make a good first appearance. It is also best to avoid wearing too much perfume, aftershave lotion, or jewellery.
Deciding on the clothing to wear for a business meeting can be difficult as dress codes vary according to the situation. In many settings, a suit would be the recommended attire; however, the dress chosen will depend on the targeted position. It is important that you do research on the company when deciding what to wear and always opt for classic instead of trendy.
2. Arriving On Time, But Not Too Early
Ideally, you should arrive at the interview approximately 10 or 15 minutes early. Being late for an interview gives the impression that you are an unreliable person who does not pay attention to detail. However, showing up too early for an interview can make you appear over-eager.
To create a good impression, it is best that you display promptness without seeming like you do not have anything better to do than wait around for the interview. To ensure your timing is correct, it is recommended that you visit the interview location beforehand and measure the travel time before the interview day.
3. Entering The Room Confidently
Entering a room is a core element to good impressions, according to professional career development advisor Elizabeth Dexter-Wilson. Dexter-Wilson recommends that you keep your head up, acknowledging all people in the room and smile while saying hello. This displays confidence and friendliness to the people you are meeting.
4. Offering A Firm Handshake
A firm handshake that is not too tight but not limp demonstrates confidence in a person. This type of handshake requires that you extend your hand and shake with a firm grip. If you are not already standing to meet the human resource representatives, managers, and colleagues, then it is recommended that you stand when someone enters the room before shaking his or her hand.
5. Being Kind To Others
Showing kindness to people you meet will help create a good impression at your interview. Of course, you must not be kind to others merely for kindness’ sake, but also because those individuals who accept your kindness may share their perception of you with the hiring managers or senior partners. Be gracious to all people including the ones that you do not feel are important to this situation such as security officers, parking lot attendants, human resources team members, receptionists, and executive assistants.
6. Acting Interested
It is recommended that you behave as if you are excited about the job opportunity, even if you are wondering whether the position is a good fit for your abilities. Acting interested during an interview can help you engage the interviewers. It will also help you learn more about the company, its needs, and identify whether you should pursue the job if it is offered to you. Remember you sell yourself to employers on your resume but close the deal in the way you act in your interview.
7. Do Not Open A Conversation Using Careless Remarks
While the majority of interviewees do not intend to be insensitive or offensive, you may accidentally say something you will regret. Always plan the opening remarks and be gracious if an individual makes an unkind comment.
8. Being Prepared To Speak About Yourself And The Company
Be prepared for conversations regarding the company, responses to questions that are common in interviews, and have some questions of your own available. Do not act as if you know everything or you will appear arrogant; however, you should read the company’s website and stay updated on the relevant news so you can speak intelligently about the organization.
When planning an interview, it is important that you practice responses to the typical interview questions and prepare stores regarding recent accomplishments, particularly ones that will demonstrate how you are a good fit for the business. Finally, put together a list of queries to ask when the interviewer asks if you have questions.
9. Perform A Pre-Interview Body Check
It is important that you take stock of yourself quickly before heading into an interview beyond the make-up and appearance. Career development professional Barbara Safani advises three simple actions to prevent embarrassment and distraction:
10. Checking Your Smile
A smile is important and it is recommended that you deal with dental issues by visiting a dental professional before beginning a job search procedure. On the day of the interview, always brush and floss your teeth and avoid eating anything before the meeting.
11. Keep A Portfolio
You will want to carry hard copies of your references, resume, and other relevant materials when attending an interview. All of these should be kept in a portfolio for a professional look.
12. Knowing Why You Are There
To begin the interview, it is recommended that you prepare a response to the common question of why you are there. Remember that the response should be insightful and substantial informing the interviewer of your excitement about joining that particular company. Briefly explain how your skills can contribute to the company’s success.
13. Getting The Interviewer’s Name Correct
Impressing the interviewer tends to begin with getting their name correct the first time you speak it. This technique is particularly beneficial if you are meeting a person with an unusual name or if you have problems retaining new information. Research the names of those people you will be meeting on LinkedIn or via a human resources department, then ask someone to repeat the name memorizing it ahead of time.