How to Make a Great First Impression at Your Next Job Interview

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Oct 23, 2018

Oct 23, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Did you know that out of 250 resumes submitted for a corporate job, only four to six candidates will get called in to interview? Those are pretty intimidating numbers.

You'll need to up your game if you're going to compete with other job seekers. This means making yourself memorable in the eyes of those doing the hiring.

Interviews are nerve-wracking. It's always hard to determine what approach you should take.

However, one thing applies to every interview - you need to make the best first impression possible.

Let's go over some job interview tips that will help you set yourself apart.

Showing Confidence

Remaining confident is one of the most important ways to make a good impression. It shows you're aware of your strengths and are ready to take on challenges.

It's important to exude confidence the second you walk through the door. Don't reserve it just for those interviewing you.

Body language is crucial here. Make sure you have good posture and always maintain eye contact. You should also have a firm handshake.

If you're feeling nervous or self-conscious, try thinking of a professional accomplishment you achieved in the past. This will help you get into the right headspace. Remember, it's not good enough to appear confident, you need to feel it.

It's also important to know where to draw the line. Confidence is a huge strength, but cockiness could cost you the job.

The Right Attire

You should take the job you're applying for into consideration when picking out your attire for the interview. Looking professional is very important, but you don't want to overdo it.

If you're interviewing for a job where upper management wears jeans and polos to work, you probably don't need to look formal. However, if you're interviewing for a corporate gig, you should try to look your best.

A good rule of thumb is to dress one step above the standard attire for that office. If you're not sure, it's better to overdress than underdress.

You should also make sure you're comfortable. Avoid clothes that are too tight or restricting.

In addition, this may be a good day to go easy on the cologne, perfume, or aftershave.

Preparation is Key

Your appearance and demeanor go a long way when making good first impressions. However, your knowledge during the interview process plays an important role.

Educating yourself on the company and the specific position you're interviewing for is critical. You need to be able to converse intelligently about the industry.

It always helps to understand what companies are looking for in potential candidates, so do your research. For example, this firm has some great information on how businesses select the right candidate.

You should also think about your past work experience and some situations where you went beyond the call of duty or helped resolve an issue. The hiring managers will likely ask to hear about this.

Timing is Everything

The last thing you want to do is show up late for an interview. This sends a horrible signal.

However, this doesn't mean you should arrive too early. Showing up half an hour before your interview makes you seem desperate or like you have nothing better to do. It could also make the interviewers feel rushed.

Instead, try to arrive 10 minutes before the interview is scheduled to start. This shows you're prompt but doesn't inconvenience the staff.

Make sure you map the distance from your home to the office to get a sense of how long it will take to get there. You should also account for traffic.

Give Your Phone a Break

Smartphones are now an integral part of the business world. However, when interviewing for a job, it's better to leave yours out of the equation.

This is even this case when waiting for the interview to start. Instead of checking your email or browsing Facebook, take this opportunity to go over your resume or any other details about the position. Not only are you utilizing your time wisely, but it also looks much better.

When you meet the hiring managers, you don't want shuffle with putting your phone away. Instead, just leave it in your pocket or bag the entire time.

You should also go ahead and put your phone on silent. This way you'll avoid any embarrassing interruptions during the interview.

People Remember Friendliness

We discussed the importance of confidence during your interview. In addition, you need to make it a point to be friendly and polite.

Extend this friendliness to every person you come into contact with. Don't just turn it on during the actual interview.

There's a good chance your first encounter will be with a front desk employee. You need to be as positive and friendly to them as you are to the hiring managers and any other employee you meet that day.

Keep in mind that receptionists and HR personnel are often asked for input regarding interviewees. You don't want to hurt your chances of getting the job because you were selective about how you interacted with different people.

Show up Organized

It's highly likely the interviewer will ask for a copy of your resume. Make sure you have it readily available in a business notebook or folder.

You should also bring anything applicable to the job you're interviewing for. You may want to bring copies of your references or a portfolio of your work.

This seems like a minor detail, but don't forget a pen and some paper. You don't want to have to ask for these things if needed.

Make sure everything is tidy and organized. This shows you're on top of your game.

Improve Your Chances with a Great First Impression

Most people are intimidated by job interviews. However, giving off a good first impression will improve your chances and also make you feel sure of yourself.

Use the tips discussed above and go into your next interview with confidence.

For more articles on making the right professional decisions, check out our career blog.