Job Interview Success Part 2: First Impressions Count

You have been invited to interview for a job that you are really interested in.  You know that your success is down to being well prepared and you have followed the advice in the article in part 1 of this series.

It’s the big day.  Chances are you are feeling a combination of excitement and anxiety.

Relax this is normal so don’t let it throw you off track.

The initial challenge you face is making a good first impression.

Why making a positive first impression matters

In the ideal world those carrying out the job interview would suspend judgement.

The reality is that many interviewers (experienced and inexperienced) make a snap judgement then spend the rest of the interview looking for evidence to validate that initial judgement.

As a result whatever you do or say is not going to be as impactful as it could be.

Aim first to connect rather than impress

Initially you want to build rapport and connection.  Yes you want to impress but no one connects with someone who goes straight into selling themselves

To do that you have to have to start with some small talk.  A simple question like how is your day going can often be a good opener.

You can pass some positive comment about the building or the offices where the interview is being held.

Think about what you wear

I’m no clothing expert but what I’ve learned over the years from others is that you want to be wearing clothing that fit well, you feel confident in and conveys professionalism.

Whether you like it or not most professions have a dress code or there is an expectation that you will be wearing a suit and if you are a male a tie.

Think about your body language

It can convey either positivity or worry.

Stand tall, make eye contact, smile and have a good handshake

Engage with the interviewer

A good interviewer will take the lead and try and put you at ease as quickly as possible.

Listen carefully and attentively to them and look to get the conversation flowing naturally.

Be as relaxed as you can

Yes you want the job and you want to impress the interviewer or interview panel.  The more relaxed you can be the better.

Find out what helps you get in the zone and relaxed ahead of the interview.

It’s also important to keep some sense of perspective.  An interview is after all a two way process. It’s as much about you establishing whether a role is right for you as it is the employer determining whether you are the best candidate

So what will you do differently to increase your chances of making your first impressions count in your next job interview?

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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