It takes just a couple of seconds to make a first impression, and while they are formed in the blink of an eye, they have a habit of sticking around for a very long time. This is true in our social lives (remember the first time you met your in-laws?) as well as our professional lives, and nowhere is it more important than in the interview room.
Here are eight top tips to making a positive first impression, which may be the deciding factor in whether you land that dream job or not.
If you’re even a minute late to an interview, you’ve managed to make a bad first impression without even being present. For goodness’ sake, make sure you’re fifteen minutes early, no matter what. Give yourself some time to relax, go over your key attributes in your head, and get comfortable in your surroundings.
Watch out for rubbish
Sure, everyone drinks coffee in offices. But leave your paper cup outside the building – you don’t want your first question to your potential employer to be one regarding the location of a rubbish bin once you’re in the interview. The same goes for chewing gum or any food you’ve been snacking on while waiting. Your job is to present yourself in the best possible light, so don’t leave any room for mistakes.
Be Polite to the Receptionist
Now, the person working on the front desk may not be a decision maker when it comes to the job you’re applying for, but more and more savvy interviewers and managers are asking receptionists about the manners and composure of interviewees. The way you treat others says more about you than any pre-rehearsed spiel about your aspirations, so bear this in mind.
Dress the part
Sounds obvious, but make sure you go the extra mile when it comes to dressing for an interview. Make sure your suit is dry cleaned and freshly pressed, your shoes are shiny and your hair is neat. Not only might this give you the edge over your competitors, it also gives you a confidence boost that can make all the difference.
Keep your phone in your pocket
Obviously, you aren’t going to be checking Facebook when you’re in the interview room. But it’s all too tempting to whip out the smartphone when you’re waiting in the lobby – try to resist this, as it never looks good being engrossed in some website, or stuffing your phone back into your pocket when you’re called in for your meeting. First impressions are formed immediately and often subconsciously, so make sure you’re completely prepared and alert while waiting.
Have everything organised and ready
Rifling through your bag, looking for your resume never looks very professional. It’s almost inevitable that you’ll be asked to hand over some paperwork in your interview, so have it prepared and neatly presented.
Get ahead with your hand
Here’s an interesting one. Subtly try to show your confidence and readiness by being the one to initiate the introductory handshake. This gesture shows how excited you are to be in the situation, and how ready you are to demonstrate your skills and talk about your experience.