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How to Make a Good First Impression at Your Interview

Posted by Drew Hendricks on January 10th, 2013 at 1:34 pm

It can be nerve-wracking, interviewing for a job. Generally, a lot rides on making a good impression at a job interview, and, as we all know, first impressions are everything.  So, here are some ways to buff up the moment that can literally make or break an interview.

Confidence

Confidence is key. It’s absolutely imperative to be confident when walking into a room. Standing up straight, smiling, and extending a hand to shake (if culturally appropriate) can quickly change the atmosphere in the room. However, don’t over-do it. Confidence is a must-have, but arrogance is a huge turn-off for potential employers. Practice in the mirror. It sounds silly, but it will help.

Eye contact

This is a crucial part of a first impression. Making eye contact during the handshake can go a long way – it shows the employer confidence and lack of fear. However, be careful not to overdo the eye contact throughout the interview – it isn’t a staring contest. Break eye contact to glance at notes, around the room, or just to give everyone a breather.

But don’t fidget

Being in control of one’s body is a huge player in what makes a great first impression. Of course, some of us are clumsier than others (I constantly trip over my feet), and some talk more animatedly than others, but everyone has a level that is natural on them. When nerves get involved, we tend to over-do these hand gestures or movements. Being aware of these traits can help inspire confidence and make the interview memorable.

Mention…

…where the interest in the position came from. If it was the result of a networking opportunity, or maybe there was a posting on Hawaiijobengine.com that the potential employee applied for. Companies want to know if their strategies for finding employees are working, so mentioning it will help the company. It also shows the ability to pay attention to detail.

It’s a sales pitch

When a company hires a new employee, it’s essentially an investment. They are hoping to gain something for their company by making a hire, so tell the interviewer what a good investment they are making.

Be specific

It’s tempting, in an interview, to respond to a question (How do you manage multiple projects?) with every example that pertains to that question. But – and this is key – interviewers don’t have time for all that. One concrete example shows the ability to be concise, and it will help prevent rambling.

Follow-up…

…with a thank-you card. Not an email. Not a phone call. A physical card that requires a stamp. They’re relatively inexpensive, they come in all kinds of varieties, and they can go a long way to making the potential employer remember what a great first impression they got from someone who remembers the small courtesies in life.

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