How to make a good impression at an interview
12 February 2019
A first impression is often the last impression!
This is ultimately true when it comes to job interviews. It is often said that candidates are judged in the first 30 seconds of their interview, therefore getting prepared for your big interview is essential. You want to make a lasting impression and to help you do this, we have some tips to help you.
Keeping things simple is the key when referring to interviews, you shouldn’t overdo anything. A bad interview will negatively affect your chances of securing the job, which is why it is important to have the skills to impress during interviews.
- Arrive on time
You should never be late for an interview. Arriving at an interview late will give the impression that you are unreliable and tardy. At the same time, do not show up too early, as this will mean that you are too desperate and over-eager for the job. It is recommended that you arrive 10 to 15 minutes before your scheduled interview time.
- Practice for the interview
Practice will not make you perfect, but it will help you to feel prepared and comfortable in your interview. Interviewers often ask the same questions, so by using these as a base, you can practice answering them before your interview, which will help you with making a good impression.
- Dress appropriately
While dressing in the proper attire won’t be the basis of the final interview decision, it will contribute to how you are perceived. It is important to find the right balance, you do not want to be overdressed, nor underdressed, instead you should wear an appropriate outfit that is clean and freshly ironed. You want to be taken seriously and be perceived as a professional and elegant person.
- Bring the essentials only
You should only bring the essentials items that you will need for the interview with you into the interview. Don’t bring any take-away coffee cups or snacks with you as it looks messy and unprofessional. Rather bring a copy of your CV and any applicable certificates for reference and a notebook to create an impression of always being prepared.
- Have knowledge about the company
It is important to always arrive at an interview fully prepared. You should research as much as you can to be able to answer questions about the company, as well as to be able to ask relevant questions to demonstrate your understanding of the company and the industry in which it operates.
- Get the inside information
In addition to researching the company through search engines, you can also try to get more information about the company through Linkedin, Facebook and/or your alumni group. It can be very beneficial for your overall research relating to the company to ask a current employee about the company and its work environment.
- Be nice to the receptionist
Many experts believe that the interview process starts when a person enters the building, not when the actual interview starts. Therefore, you must be polite and friendly to every person you encounter in the office. As the first person you will probably speak to when arriving for the interview will be the receptionist, always be friendly and professional towards the receptionist, as some interviewers often ask their receptionists for their opinion of the candidates. You should therefore treat the receptionist the same way that you will be treating the interviewer.
- Reconsider the job posting
As it can sometimes take quite a while between initially sending your CV to being invited for an interview, to refresh yourself, it is recommended that you review the job posting before the interview. This will help you to remember what the employers are looking for in their potential candidates, as well as your skills that you should be highlighting during the interview.
- Keep your phone away
It is a natural ability of us human beings to take out our cell phones whenever we have to wait. While you are waiting in the company’s reception to be called for the interview, don’t unconsciously default to using your phone, rather review your CV/resume. Take the time to think about what you are wanting to convey in the interview.
- Have everything organised
When you meet your interviewer, he/she may ask for a copy of your resume or some certificates. Be sure to have your documents organised prior to arriving for the interview so that you can quickly find them and hand them to the interviewer.
- Make the first move
When you enter the interview make sure to be the first to offer a hand for a handshake. When shaking hands, give a firm, yet not a bone-crushing shake, to demonstrate your confidence, while introducing yourself at the same time. A person’s handshake can tell allot about that person and you want your handshake to portray that you are happy to be here, excited, confident and self-assured.
- Tell that you are a good fit for the job
You should be certain that you are a good fit for the job. It is not enough to just say it, your non-verbal body language should reflect it too.
- Relax and don’t panic
Take a deep breath. Interviews can be very stressful. Try and relax. Remind yourself that you were invited to the interview, which means the company is already interested in you. While you may have done all the preparation that you can, be aware that an unusual question could potentially unsettle you and cause you to panic. Should this happen, pause, take a deep breath and then answer the question as best you can.
- Show your passion
During the interview, don’t forget to show your passion and enthusiasm for what you do and what you are willing to do in the job. You can tell the interviewer that you like your work and are motivated and excited about this opportunity.
You don’t have to overdo it, but it is good to smile and be positive when you are giving the interview. People with strong communication or interpersonal skills and positive attitudes create a good impression and usually get the job.
After your interview, remember to do a proper follow-up. Show them that you are interested in the job by sending them an email, phone call or a note thanking them for the opportunity to interview. In addition to giving them thanks, make them remember that you are the best fit for the job.
Hopefully, these steps will lead you to a successful interview and the dream job that you were searching for.