Making a good first impression is extremely important when you’re meeting anyone for the first time but especially so when you’re attending an interview. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression and so if you really want the job, you have got to do everything that you can to ensure that you not only make a good first impression but also leave a lasting positive impression on your interviewers.
Nothing ruins a first impression more than arriving late. Not only does being late make you look unprepared and unprofessional but it also says to the interviewer that you’re not overly interested in getting the job. You should do whatever it takes to be on time, after all it is better to be an hour early and have time to get a coffee and revise for the interview than be 5, 10 or 20 minutes late and feel rushed and panicked.
Part of making a good first impression is also making sure you’re suitably dressed. You must make sure that you look presentable and professional when attending an interview. This means that every item of clothing should be clean, ironed and appropriate for the occasion. For women, this would mean wearing a trouser suit, skirt and jacket combo or smart dress with a jacket. For men, it means wearing a traditional smart trouser suit. Shirts and blouses must be ironed and shoes and heels must be polished, with heels not exceeding three inches.
Accessories, such as jewellery, should be kept to a minimum and fragrances must not be too overpowering. You also need to make sure that your hair is clean and tidy and, for men, that you are clean shaven or that your facial hair is tidily groomed.
Don’t be afraid to show how much preparation you’ve done
Your interviewer will have expected you to do some in-depth research into the organisation, the job role and possibly even into them, so do not let them down. If you have done the research, make sure you make it clear to them just how much work you’ve done. Let it be known, when answering questions about the job role, that you know exactly what it entails and can also showcase examples of where you’ve utilised skills that are essential to the role.
If you’ve researched your interviewer, try to make some of your answers relevant to them in order to create a connection, as this will help them to remember you above other candidates. You can also make references to the organisational research you’ve done throughout your interview answers, perhaps showing how you might be able to increase customer satisfaction, which your research has shown they have had trouble with in the past.
Ask specific, unique questions
The end of the interview is just as important as the start and you will always be asked if you have any questions. You must have prepared these in advance, for if you don’t have anything to ask, this shows a lack of interest and you will also come across as lazy. Try to have at least 5 specific questions memorised that you have generated as a result of the research you’ve done.
Asking generic questions will bore your interviewer and won’t make you stand out from other candidates. Asking some relevant in-depth questions will impress your interviewer and perhaps even challenge them, which will certainly make sure they remember you.
Perfect your closing technique
Closing is a very useful sales technique to have and should always be used right at the end of an interview. You should wait until you have asked all of your questions and are certain that the interview is coming to an end and then state something along the lines of, ‘I really believe that I am a great fit for this role due to the desire I have for success, dedication I have to customer service and organisational skills that I feel are essential for this role. Is there anything that I can further clarify to demonstrate that I could take on this role?’
This closing technique ensures that you don’t leave your interviewers with any doubt that you are a perfect fit for the role. They will either say ‘No, everything is clear and we’re confident that you would be a great fit’, or they will voice any doubts that they have, which gives you another chance to prove your worth to them.
Send a follow up note or email
The work does not stop after you walk out of the interview room. It is important to thank your interviewers by sending a short note, or email, the following day and thank them for taking the time to interview you. You should also reaffirm in your note just how much interest you have in the role and why you believe you’d be a good fit for the organisation, then state that you are looking forward to hearing from them and sign off.
All of the above guidance should be followed if you are truly committed to getting a new, or first, job. After all, everything detailed above is very simple to follow and nothing should take up too much time, so there really is no excuse as to why you can’t leave a positive impression upon completion of any interview that you have.
Recruitment expert Tom Leavesley blogs for online recruitment company easyvacancy. He also writes for a blog called saynotounemployment that strives to explore issues surrounding getting folks back to work in challenging times. When he isn’t blogging, he’s often found out shopping for a new onesie.