First impressions are key.
Are you landing plenty of job interviews, but falling short on second interviews and job offers? It's time to evaluate why. Aside from not being the right fit for a particular position, it could be that you're making a poor first impression.
The good news is it's possible to learn how to make a good first impression in a job interview.
Why it's essential to make a good first impression in a job interview
Making a great first impression is crucial. Due to human nature, it's common for interviewers and hiring managers to size up candidates within the first few 15 minutes of meeting them. If the interviewer has a bad first impression of a candidate, it can be difficult for the candidate to change that impression — even if he aces the rest of the interview.
With that said, even if the first few moments of the interview aren't stellar due to nerves or a little bit of palm sweat, it is still possible for you to make a great impression for the remainder of the interview.
However, the best approach, of course, is to make a great first impression from the get-go, which increases your chances of landing a second interview and — hopefully — the dream job.
How to make a good impression at a job interview
Do your homework
If it's clear to the interviewer or employer that you know very little about the company or the position for which you're interviewing, it's sure to leave a bad impression.
Do your homework on the company and the position prior to the interview. Go a step further and research the hiring manager or interviewer online using LinkedIn, Twitter, and other platforms.
Practice answering interview questions
There are plenty of online resources available to walk you through the types of common interview questions you might be asked. Once you know what to expect, practice answering these interview questions with friends or a family member. Develop solid answers that highlight your competencies, experiences, skills, and relevant abilities.
Have intelligent questions ready to ask
Part of your preparation for a job interview should include developing three to five questions to ask the interviewer. Go for questions that take a deep dive into the company's business dealings or the interviewer's experience, as well as intelligent questions about your potential workgroup.
Be on time
Arrive a few minutes early. If you're late for your job interview, it instantly creates the impression that you're not responsible or respectful of the interviewer's time. Interviewers do understand that life happens; if you are running late for an interview, be sure to contact the interviewer to let them know.
Do a quick bathroom check
Arrive early enough to your interview so you can do a quick mirror check in the bathroom. Make sure your interview attire is neat, wipe any sweat, make sure you don't have a piece of hair sticking straight up on your head, and put on a little extra deodorant if you need it.
Wear appropriate attire
As soon as they lay eyes on you, the interviewer will size you up in a matter of seconds. This means your attire says a lot.
Be sure your attire is interview-appropriate: it's neat, clean, and wrinkle-free, with neutral and solid colors working best. In most instances, you should wear business casual or business attire depending on the company's dress code.
You can either ask them or look on their social media channels to see how employees are dressed for work.. In general, jeans or anything less casual are not appropriate for any type of job interview — even if the company's dress code is casual.
Make eye contact
Make eye contact the moment you see the interviewer and give a firm handshake when you shake hands. Job seekers should also maintain eye contact throughout the interview. Not doing so could be construed as a lack of confidence or interest in the job.
How to make a good impression in a video interview
For the most part, the tips for making a good impression in-person also apply for video interviews. However, there are some additional considerations to be made.
Use a clean and clutter-free background
Choose a background for your video interview that is clear of clutter and distracting colors: A solid wall or curtain or neatly organized desk area with a solid wall behind will work.
Properly frame yourself
You want to ensure that your computer camera is set at an angle that makes it easy to see your face and upper part of your torso. Framing yourself from the chest up often works best for video interviews.
Check your audio and visual equipment
Do a test run prior to your video interview to ensure your audio and visual equipment are working properly. If the recruiter or interviewer doesn't share the information with you ahead of time, ask which software or platform is being used (Zoom, Skype) so you can get it set up beforehand.
Locate a distraction-free zone
Choose a location for your video interview that is free from noise and distraction. It might be difficult for you or the interviewer to concentrate if your dog is barking or people are running in the background.
If there are distractions during your interview, it could also indicate that you didn't care enough to ensure you had the time to focus solely on the interview.
Consider working with an interview coach
Working with an interview coach is a great idea to help you prepare for your interview because they are well versed in interview etiquette and the types of questions you'll likely be asked. They can also guide you through personalized tips to tackle challenges specific to you during the interview process.
Use the tips above to make a good impression the first time, and it will put you on the path to making a good impression every time. To sum it up, make sure to practice, prepare, and ask for support to nail the interview and get the job.
We know it can be difficult to make a good first impression. Luckily, our interview coaches know how to help.