We are constantly making first impressions in our personal and professional lives. We make them when meeting new friends, at school events, social events, for business and most importantly when interviewing for a job!
Unfortunately, we have no control over someone’s first impression when meeting us. However, we can do some things to help with first impressions at a job interview.
- First and foremost, ALWAYS arrive on time for the interview! In fact, be early! Map the drive ahead of time and even practice driving to the interview location the day before if you are not sure of the exact location. Allow plenty of time for unforeseen traffic, accidents and road construction. It is far better to be early and wait in the parking lot than to be rushing in late!
- Make eye contact with everyone you meet for the appointment. Remember names and repeat them when addressing each individual. Offer a confident handshake when meeting someone for the first time. Remember, this is a greeting, not a strength test.
- Research the company and job ahead of time. Learn as much as possible about the position, the company and the people you will be meeting. There are many sources available such as company websites, LinkedIn profiles and other social media.
- A great way to prepare for an interview is to sit down with a legal pad and under each of the jobs you have held think of one or two accomplishments you are very proud of and write them down. By going through this exercise and writing down your examples prior to the interview, you will be able to easily recall your accomplishments when speaking with the hiring manager.
- Although many companies today have a more business casual dress code, it is important candidates dress professionally. A suit in a basic color is always safe. Make sure necklines are conservative, clothes are clean and pressed and limit the accessories. Additionally, cover all visible tattoos and remove any ornamental piercings.
- When a potential employer reaches out to you with a request for more information or asks you to complete some additional testing, respond immediately! Delays can be misconstrued as a lack of interest in the position and could cost you further consideration for the job.As a recent example, a candidate did very well on a first interview. The company was very interested and requested that this candidate complete some skill assessments. The instructions were sent and the candidate did not complete the test for several days. Even though the results were great, the candidate was eliminated from further consideration because of the lack of responsiveness. This demonstrated to the company that this candidate did not have a sense of timeliness which was a necessary skill for this job.
- When an interviewer asks “Are there any questions?” always be ready with a few. The employer wants to know you have paid attention during the interview. There is always something that can be elaborated on more either about the company or the position. Think of at least one question to ask.
- Send a thank you email promptly after your interview. CHECK your spelling! Top candidates who interview well are eliminated from consideration with a misspelled word.
Put your best foot forward and remember you may never have a chance to make a second impression so make the first one a good one!
Julia Shanklin is a Recruiting Specialist for Mom Corps Dallas. Julia has a traditional HR generalist background with an emphasis in recruiting and has experience recruiting for a variety of industries including public accounting, financial services, insurance and information technology. Julia has developed successful campus recruiting programs and is passionate about matching people to the right job!