Interviewing for a job can be challenging, but a confident demeanor along with solid knowledge of the company you are interviewing with, will help you get off to the right start. Did you know that a majority of interviewers form an opinion of a candidate -- either positive or negative -- within the first 10 minutes? To make sure you take advantage of these crucial first few minutes in your next job interview, be prepared from the get-go with these tips for making a great first impression.
1) Always arrive early and be prepared
When recruiters are comparing the paperwork of many qualified candidates, arriving late will automatically count against you. It will leave a negative impression about your dependability from the very beginning. To avoid this, get clear directions to get to the interview, especially if you have to navigate an unfamiliar area or building. If you tend to get lost easily, do a test run beforehand to make sure you arrive early on the day of the interview.
More and more employers are using video conference technologies to conduct remote interviews, at least for the first round. To make sure a virtual interview goes smoothly, ensure that your connections and equipment are in good working order. Run a test connection at least 30 minutes before the interview. This will give you enough time to set up a backup plan if needed.
2) Practice with a friend
Practice being interviewed with a friend. Come up with a set of reasonable questions and run through your answers. Confidence and preparation goes a long way towards making a good first impression. If you have rehearsed some potential key questions and their answers ahead of time, you will exude competence and leave a strong impression on the interviewer.
The same principal applies to a video interview. Speaking on video conference can be unnerving if you’ve never done it before, or if you’ve only ever done it in a personal/relaxed setting. If you’re doing a video interview for the first time, practice with a friend ahead of time.
3) Dress to impress
Unless the person scheduling your interview specifically requests you dress casually, plan to wear attire that is one step above the daily dress code for the business you’re visiting. For instance, if the place you are interviewing has a business casual dress code, plan to wear professional, formal business attire. If you are interviewing at a start-up or a place with a casual, laid-back dress code, business casual attire will show you are taking the interview seriously while still showing an ability to fit in with the company culture.
4) Be respectful
The first few moments of an interview are crucial and your potential employer will put a lot of weight on your interpersonal skills. Be polite, make eye contact and listen without talking over your interviewer. In fact, be respectful towards everyone you interact with. Even though some interactions may seem inconsequential, they could have a profound impact if word about your temperament gets back to the interviewer.
5) Be prepared to talk about the company
Do your research and be prepared to drop words, phrases and anecdotes that show you’ve done your homework. At a minimum, you should spend one to two hours checking out the company’s website, online reviews and social media pages. Be prepared to engage in intelligent conversation about the company and your intended position. Don’t ask questions that could easily be found online. You should already have found these answers, yourself, before coming in. Do ask questions about the company’s culture and how you will fit into it.
Interviewing for a position goes beyond having a meeting and answering questions. Everything you do in that meeting and after the interview will have a bearing on your how you are perceived as a potential employee. As a final step, don’t forget to follow-up. Send a thank you card or an email to personally thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet you. This will reaffirm your enthusiasm for the position and leave a lasting impression your potential employer.
This communication is for informational purposes only; it is not legal, tax or accounting advice; and is not an offer to sell, buy or procure insurance.
The opinions and views expressed by guest authors of the TriNet blog are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of TriNet or any of its affiliates or partners.