The key to winning over an interviewer is to leave a good impression.

When you walk into a job interview, your goal is to impress the interviewer and get a job offer. But how exactly are you supposed to make a positive, lasting impression in such a limited amount of time? And under so much pressure?

The good news: It's not an impossible feat. The tips below will show you how to make an impression in an interview and land the job.

1. Show off your potential

When you think about making a positive impression during a job interview, you probably assume you need to flaunt your job experience, personality, and education. And while those are still important, a recent study conducted by TopInterview's sister site, TopResume, revealed another piece of the puzzle.

When asked what they considered the most important quality in a job candidate, nearly half of the recruiters and hiring managers surveyed said “potential.” This trumped experience (37 percent), personality (16 percent), and education (2 percent).

“Managers are always looking for people who will bring solutions, rather than problems, to their departments,” TopInterview career expert Amanda Augustine recently told Fast Company. “These are the types of hires who will provide the most value to the company, no matter if the position is in customer service, public relations, or engineering.”

So what does that mean for you? How exactly do you show your potential in a job interview? Here are a few ideas:

  • Show up prepared and confident.

  • Collect examples of times when you showcased your creative problem-solving skills or your ability to learn, and come armed with results-driven answers for any behavioral-based interview questions that could be thrown your way. 

  • Ask questions that highlight your eagerness to learn.

Remember: Experience, personality, and education aren't everything when it comes to interviewing, so find some ways to showcase your potential for this role.

2. Exude confidence

One of the more difficult parts of interviewing is walking into the room with confidence. It's natural to feel nervous, but the more confidence you project, the better the impression you'll leave with an employer. (Remember, though, that there's a difference between confidence and arrogance.)

Not sure you can shake the jitters? Try these tricks:

  • Remember that you've been invited to this interview. You've already passed the first — often most difficult — part, which is actually landing an interview.

  • Get lots of rest. Being tired ignites anxiety, so try to get a good night's sleep before your interview.

  • Dress to impress. Of course, you'll want to dress appropriately, but wearing something that makes you feel confident will help you walk with your head higher.

  • Find release. Whether you need to go to the gym, meditate, or scream-sing your favorite song in the car, it's important to find a way to release your nervous energy.

3. Be prepared

To really impress your interviewer, arrive as prepared as possible. This means you've spent time researching the company, its industry, and the position you applied for. You've combed through the company's website, LinkedIn page, and social media accounts, and you're caught up on recent company and industry news.

Having this intel on hand, you can more confidently answer questions like, “Why do you want to work here?” and “What about this position appeals to you?” An interviewer wants to know you're legitimately interested in the position and have put the time in to show it.

After your deep dive, you'll also want to prepare a list of thought-out questions to ask your interviewer.

4. Find ways to stand out from the crowd

These days, companies receive hundreds of job applications, so if you snag an interview, it's important to stand out from other candidates.

First, try to build a connection with your interviewer. Do you have something in common? Maybe it's where you went to school, a unique job experience, or a common interest. You don't want to spend your entire interview on the topic, but making this connection can make you more memorable.

Second, think about a unique skill or prior job experience you can highlight in your interview. This is something that can help you excel at the job, but that other applicants may not have. Even if it's an interesting side gig you've had, the tidbit can make you stand out in a positive way.

5. Get plenty of practice

Now that you're plenty prepared, it's time to practice. Talk to yourself in front of the mirror (noting nonverbal cues), have a partner quiz you on common interview questions, or hire a professional interview coach who'll give you expert feedback after each session and mock interview.

The more you prepare and practice for your interview, the more confident you'll feel and the better chance you have of leaving a positive impression and getting an offer.

Still feeling nervous about your interview? Not sure how you can leave that lasting impression? Our TopInterview coaches can help!

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