You’ve heard the old adage that you only get one chance to make a first impression. Nowhere is that more true than in an interview. You see, while the purpose of a resume is to get an interview, the purpose of the interview is to get you the job. Make a bad first impression, and you’ll certainly lose out on a potentially great professional opportunity.
So, how can you make a stellar first impression during an interview? Read on to see our list of interview do’s and don’ts.
Arrive early. Arriving 10 to 15 minutes before the interview is ideal. Arrive any earlier, and you might be perceived as over-eager. These extra few minutes should give you ample time to check your attire, hair and makeup, and gain your composure before the interview.
Ask informed questions about the position, job responsibilities and expectations. You’d be surprised how few candidates actually do this. However, when you ask thoughtful questions about the job for which you’re interviewing, you show the hiring manager that you’ve done your research on the company beforehand, a definite positive impression booster. Be sure to think of the questions in advance and write them down so you don’t forget.
Listen more than you speak. No one likes a know-it-all. Pay attention to what the interviewer is saying so you can answer questions thoughtfully and efficiently. If you don’t know how to answer the question, don’t pretend. Managers can see right through that game. It’s better to admit that you don’t know the answer but share how you would go about getting it.
Bring extra copies of your resume. Don’t assume the hiring manager has a copy. They may also bring in additional people to interview you, so it’s best to be prepared. Also, have a list of references and their contact information available in the case the interviewer asks for it.
Know the unique value you bring to the company. When you do, you won’t be thrown of by questions like, “So, why should we hire you?” Clearly articulate your skill sets, strengths and abilities. Be ready and able to share an anecdote of how those abilities benefited previous employers and how they will benefit your prospective employer. Always have examples in your mind of tangible, demonstrated ways that you’ve made a difference.
Ask for the job. This is Sales 101. Yes, your interview is a sales pitch. After you’ve made a stellar first impression and made the case for why you’re the best person for the job, ask for it. Confidence is highly attractive.
Arrive late. It’s really not possible to rebound from this faux pas. Leave extra early if you must. There are absolutely no excuses. Just show up on time.
Lie. Lying is unacceptable, and it’s always found out. Tell the truth, and be careful not to overstate your qualifications. Speaking a few words of Spanish is a far cry from being fluent. Tell the whole, unadulterated truth. End of story.
Interrupt the Interviewer. Listen intently, and answer only when prompted to speak. Cutting off the interviewer mid-sentence is rude and almost always makes a bad impression.
Avoid derogatory comments about past jobs or previous employers. The worst thing you can do to a prospective employer is debase a previous employer. Even if you despise your last job or manager, keep your comments professional and complimentary.
Ask about perks, benefits, bonuses, etc. While you should always ask questions during your interview, make sure they’re about the company’s needs, not your own. Perks and benefits are discussed once a hiring manager has extended an offer, not before.
Follow these simple interview tips and you’ll make a great first impression and hopefully, one step closer to landing a great, new job.