Companies are constantly bombarded with potential candidates and resumes to review. Jobseekers require greater creativity and skills to get noticed in today’s competitive business market. There are strategies that can be implemented to create lasting impressions on your next job interview. Read on to find out why first impressions count when seeking employment, and tips to showing the best you!
Tips for Creating Good Impressions When Interviewing:
1. Appearance Counts: It's important to have good hygiene and a presentable appearance. Avoid eating foods with strong odors like garlic, green peppers, and onions.
Dress in professional attire with toned-down color like light-colored shirts and solid-colored business jacket. Avoid wearing exotic colors and patterns of clothing, jeans, flip-flops, tanks, miniskirts, five-inch heels, and definitely get rid of the red lipstick. This is not the time to be a super star, or to fashion the latest style. More often than not, the company is seeking a professional candidate that blends right into their existing team.
2. Arrive on Time: The suggested arrival time is 10 minutes before the scheduled interview. This time frame shows eagerness on the part of the potential candidate. Arriving 5 minutes prior is considered “late” by many companies, and arriving 20 minutes early may signal desperation or impatience.
3. Get Prepared: Print your resume at the latest the evening prior to the interview. A friend once shared how she was scrambling 30 minutes prior to her interview, rushing to Office Depot to print her resume 15 minutes before her interview. The waiting lines at the store were longer than ever, and customer ahead of her seemed to have a million questions delaying her assistance. As you may have guessed, she arrived 10 minutes late to the initial interview. Another point to consider, is selecting your attire a few days in advance. Try it on as you practice potential interview questions. Practice increases confidence, and having your attire for the interview will be one less stressor to think of on your big day.
4. Gather Your Supplies and Research: Bring a notepad, pen, or electronic devices to jot down notes, questions, references, resources, and other pertinent information. This will be of great value once you are ready to initiate the follow-up email. Also, research the company and show your interest in learning more about the position. Researching the company and understanding your job role, provides an opportunity for questions and solid answers during your interview.
5. Practice Verbal and Nonverbal Communication: We speak loudly without having to say a single word. Showing confidence and professionalism through choice of words, and posture play are crucial factors in the interview process. Having a self-assured stance displays confidence and eagerness for the opportunity at hand. Maintaining eye contact is important, yet avoid long periods of eye gazing, that send messages of aggression or invasiveness.
6. Avoid Ambiguous Words: Review The top 10 Commonly Asked Interview Questions, and practice answering the questions until you are confident to step into the interview. Avoid using words like “Um”, “I think”, “I’m not sure”, “I haven’t thought about that”, “That’s a tough question”, and “I don’t know”. If feeling frozen or in dire need to search for a response try saying, “That’s interesting, Let me think about it”, “There is so much to be said. I would like a moment to think it through”, or “That’s a great question. I would like to put some thought into it before giving you a brief answer.” You don’t want your confidence level to hit zero because of an unexpected questions.
7. Focus on Your Strengths: Highlight professional skills and personal attributes that make you shine from other jobseekers such as certifications, awards, experience, and achievements. Why is it beneficial for the company to hire you from all other potential candidates? Keep this in mind as you prepare to discuss personal credentials, and attributes that serve as assets to the company.
8. Follow-up: Taking 10 minutes to write a “thank you” email can go a long way. A “familiar face” or friendly email increases your chances of standing out from the crowd of resumes. This may not be the ultimate factor in hiring a particular candidate, but it enhances the chances or getting noticed and displays professionalism.