As much as you might wish they didn’t, first impressions count for a lot. In fact, according to Wise Bread, first impressions influence perceptions of professional competence. Individuals who do well in the meet-and-greet portion of the job interview are oftentimes rated higher on evaluations of professional capabilities, regardless of their actual qualifications. Higher evaluation ratings often result in more follow-up interviews and job offers. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to make a great first impression on job interviews.
Dress professionally for job interviews, as if you are meeting an important client, going to lunch with the CEO, or giving a presentation. Don’t wear clothes that are too baggy, too tight, or too revealing. If you have doubts about the outfit you’ve chosen, put it back into your closet, and choose another. Don’t wear too much aftershave, perfume, or jewelry.
Suits are recommended for men and women going to corporate interviews. The suit should be in a solid color, such as dark gray, navy blue, or black. Suit skirts for women should fall just below or just above the knee. Suits should always be clean, contain no stains, and fit well.
For more casual interviews, business casual attire is appropriate. Business casual attire for men includes dress slacks, a dress shirt, with or without a tie, dark-colored socks, and dress shoes. A dress or slacks or a skirt with a blouse or sweater and close-toed shoes are appropriate choices for women going on casual interviews.
When you arrive for your interview, greet the receptionist and introduce yourself. For instance, you could say, “Hi, my name is Jane Smith, and I have an interview with Tom Clark at 2pm.” You will either be escorted to the hiring manager by the receptionist, or the hiring manager will come out to the reception area to meet you.
When you meet the hiring manager, extend your hand for a handshake, even if the manager doesn’t offer her hand first. Smile, and introduce yourself. Tell the manager that it’s nice to meet her. Make eye contact when you introduce yourself.
Your appearance and the way you carry yourself have a lot to do with the hiring manager’s first impression of you. Make sure your teeth are clean. Teeth whitening from a dentist like Blue Apple Dental will give your smile more brilliance. A bright smile will also give you more confidence, which is essential when going on job interviews. Brush and floss your teeth before you go to your interview, and don’t eat anything right before your meeting.
Do Your Research
Research the company you’re interviewing with thoroughly before you go in for your interview. This will allow you to answer questions about why you’d be a good fit for the company and why you want the job. This will also allow you to formulate a list of questions to ask the interviewer during your meeting. Don’t act like you know everything about the company, or you could come off as arrogant. However, being able to talk intelligently about the company and how your qualifications and skills would benefit the organization will serve you well.
Be kind to everyone you meet at the organization, including parking attendants, security guards, receptionists, executive assistants, hiring managers, and potential co-workers. Though not everyone in the organization will have a say on whether or not you get offered the job, the hiring manager may ask for other employees’ perceptions of you.
Print out several copies of your resume, a list of your references, including their contact information, and a list of questions you’d like to ask during your interview, and have them readily accessible. Your interviewer will most likely ask you for a copy of your updated resume within the first few minutes of your interview. If you have to dig in your bag or briefcase for it, you’ll appear disorganized.
Be prepared to answer common interview questions, such as why you want the job, why you think you would be an asset to the organization, and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Think of several stories or scenarios you can share with the hiring manager to help illustrate your answers. Be prepared to share how your skills and qualifications have led to successful outcomes for other organizations in the past.
First impressions on job interviews have an impact on whether you get called back for follow-up interviews or get offered the job. Presenting yourself well, being prepared, and doing your research on the organization before your meeting will help you make a great first impression when you go in for a job interview.