7 Steps to Creating A Good First Impression in a Job Interview
There’s a reason you go that extra mile before a big first date. We’d reckon to say most readers would admit to being guilty of spending that five extra minutes on their hair or clothing selection, prior to stepping out with a potential love interest. Why, then, would you take less time studying up prior to interview day for a career making opportunity?
Sure, an office and a steady paycheck aren’t quite as mushy-feeling inducing as romantic dinner, but we’re pretty sure one has a much bigger potential upside than being left footing the bill for some awkward conversation. To help about the employer equivalent of “check please” we’ve put together these foolproof 7 steps to creating a good first impression in a job interview.
Don’t be Long Winded
Whether a cozy nook in a local bar or sitting across from a conference table, no one wants to hear you drone on about your stuffed migratory bird collection endlessly. Instead of dominating the conversation, try to develop a good dialog with your interviewer. Ask questions and keep your answers thorough but brief. The best interviews will more closely resemble a friendly conversation over coffee than an awkward and stilted dissertation on your personal accomplishments.
Don’t Call Yourself a People Person
To start things off, the label of a people person itself is more than a bit confusing. Does this mean you like people? Or, maybe, people like you? Or maybe it’s just a redundant phrase you should throw out of your interview vocabulary altogether. Instead of tired and overused descriptors, use action verbs and real-life results to explain your management or teamwork style.
Pay Attention to Hygiene
It doesn’t matter how charming the personality of the person sitting across the table if there is a piece of spinach stuck in their teeth or an overwhelming odor of bad breath emanating your way, chances are you aren’t going to remember much else. Be sure to show up to your interview polished and fresh to avoid distracting from the quality of your candidacy.
Leave the Bad Attitude at the Door
No employer likes to deal with employees with bad attitudes or anything less than a can-do spirit. With that in mind, don’t blow your chance at scoring a great new position by being negative. This is especially true when it comes to speaking about your former employer. Chances are if you are willing to bad mouth one company, you’re likely to do the same in the future, a big potential red flag for your interviewer.
Likewise, try to be positive, upbeat and excited about your new potential position. Be sure to make eye contact with your interviewer and in a multi-person interview make eye contact with each individual and be sure to answer questions professionally and thoroughly. There’s plenty of anecdotes about positive attitudes impacting outcomes so be sure to set yourself up for success by leaving negativity at the interview room door.
Ask the Right Questions
You may think the interview is a chance for a new company to get to know you but it more closely resembles a two-way street when it comes to information gathering. Asking questions during the interview now only lets you get to know the company and culture but also helps you appear more informed and interested regarding a position.
You wouldn’t walk into a test without having studied up ahead of time so treat your interview in the same way. Prepare but mentally and physically the day or week ahead. Spend some time researching the company and industry to get a better handle on the business so that your questions and answers are well informed. Get plenty of sleep and eat a sensible meal ahead of time to ensure that you make the best impression possible.
Remember your mom’s saying about showing up on time means you’re 15 minutes late. One of the worst things a job seeker can do is show up late for their interview. Sure, things like traffic, accidents and public transit delays can be beyond your control. Savvy interviewers, however, give themselves more than enough time to account for all but the craziest of emergencies.