Whether you’re heading to a job fair or preparing for an interview, making a first impression is important if you want to land a great job. As the saying goes, "you only get one chance to make a first impression!" Here are my top tips for making sure that the impression you leave in a potential employer's mind is a good one!
• Arrive Early: It is imperative to arrive to your interview at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment. This shows the employer that you’re prepared.
• Always Bring a Resume: Print several copies in case you meet with more than one hiring manager. It is better to be over prepared going into your first interview.
• Dress the Part: Premium appearance is always a must for a first impression with an employer. Research the company’s culture and make sure to wear the appropriate Business Attire (in most cases, business suits).
• Shake Hands Firmly: Having a weak or mild handshake doesn’t give employers the impression that you’re very confident. Instead, shake hands firmly, don’t pull away too quickly, and look the person in the eye as you say "hello."
• Eye Contact: Good eye contact conveys confidence and enthusiasm.
• Facial Expression: Smile. Imagine yourself as an interviewer meeting people all day. Walk in with a friendly and energetic face.
• Energy Level: Show enthusiasm. You want this job!
• Smile: You might be nervous, but try to remember to smile, especially as you greet potential employers.
• Posture: Maintain good posture throughout the interview. Sit up straight, relax, cross your feet at your ankles or place feet firmly on the ground, don't slouch or rock back in your chair.
• Speak Up: When asked questions, speak clearly and loudly enough to be heard. When people are nervous, they tend to speak more quickly, so make sure you are conscious about how quickly you’re speaking and slow down if necessary.
• Don't Chew Gum!
Make sure that your first impression lasts by cleaning up your web presence prior to your interview. If an employer likes you, they might do some research on you when they get home, and if you’ve posted a bunch of non-professional pictures to social media sites, you could do a lot of damage to the first impression you have just made in person!
Post Interview Tips:
Always send a thank you note! This is important, not just for the sake of good manners, but to get the job. If time constraints make it difficult to send a hand-written note, at least send an e-mail, written fax, or make a phone call and tell the interviewer, "Thank You."
Follow-up Phone Calls
Before leaving an interview, ask the employer to give you some idea when they will be making a hiring decision. If you haven't heard anything after one week, phone the interviewer and inquire whether the position has been filled. If a decision has not been made, now is a good time to let the prospective employer know that you are still very interested in the job. Many employers hire the most enthusiastic applicant out of a group of qualified candidates.
- Katie Kennedy, Resource Manager at Kavaliro