Making A Strong First Impression In A Job Interview

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3 September 2017

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When preparing for a job interview, you probably spend your time developing answers to tough questions, collecting anecdotes to showcase your skills, and researching the employer. However, before you ever have a chance to wow the interviewer with your advanced preparation, you will have already have made an impression. From the moment you step through the door, your interviewer will be making assumptions about who you are and what you stand for. Therefore, you want to make sure that you make a positive first impression each and every time.

Before you go into your next interview, follow these tips to make sure that you present yourself in the best light.

Arrive on Time

As the old saying goes, “If you are early, you’re on time; if you are on time, you’re late.” Punctuality is extremely important in an interview. Leave far earlier than you think you need to because you never know what traffic or parking conditions you may encounter. Walk through the door 10 minutes before the interview is scheduled to start.

Dress Professionally

Your appearance will play a part in the way an interviewer perceives you. Dress professionally, in neutral colors. Be sure your outfit is clean and pressed. Unless advised by the company, come to the interview dressed as though you were going to interview at a Fortune 100 company even if the dress code is casual.

Turn off Your Phone

We all have a natural tendency to pull out our smartphones while we wait for appointments. However, the lobby of a job interview is not the place to catch up on Facebook messages or to get wrapped up in a group text chat. You also don’t want your phone to ring or vibrate during the interview. Turn the phone off before you walk through the door, and while you wait for your interview to begin, review your resume or any notes that you’ve made about the employer.

Be Kind to the Receptionist

Just because the receptionist isn’t hiring you doesn’t mean that his or her opinion doesn’t count. In fact, it may count quite a bit. Many hiring managers will ask receptionists what they thought of specific candidates. Treat the front desk attendant with the same respect you’d treat the CEO.

Keep Essentials in an Easy-to-Access Position

The hiring manager has seen your resume, yes. But odds are, you will be asked to produce a hard copy during the interview. Print out several copies of your resume and keep them in an easy-to-reach folder so that you are not digging through an overstuffed bag.  Do the same thing with your printed reference sheet, as well. Keep a pen in an outside pocket of the bag, in case you need to take notes or fill out a form.

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