Make an Impression in 30 Seconds

ID-100192673When you go to a job interview, the interviewer makes a lot of judgements about you before you even open your mouth.  The impression that you make on the interviewer when you walk through the door can set the tone for the whole interview.  Here are some tips to help you impress the interviewer in the first 30 seconds:

Don’t be late.  It is hard to recover from being late to an interview.  It gives the immediate impression that you are unprofessional and no matter how great you perform at the interview, some employers will never see past it.  Aim to be about 15 minutes early so that you can do a quick mirror check and relax before the interview gets started.

Clean yourself up.  If you do nothing else before your interview, at least make sure that you are clean and groomed.  That means taking a shower, brushing your hair, shaving, brushing your teeth, and using deodorant.  Poor hygiene will be a deal breaker with most employers.

Dress professionally.  Interviewers will pay attention to how you dress to determine whether or not you will fit in with the organizational culture.  Aim to dress slightly more formal than you would if you were actually working at the company.  Pay attention to the details like making sure that your clothes are pressed and your shoes are polished.

Smile.  You’ve shown up to the interview on time and you look great.  The next step is to win them over with your sparkling personality.  Smiling is an effective way to break down barriers and put people at ease.  When you smile at an interview it makes people like you and want to work with you.

Get a good handshake.  In the Canadian workplace, a good handshake is still important.  It contributes to the impression that the employer forms about your confidence and your professionalism.  Your handshake should be firm and it should be combined with good eye contact.  If you are unsure about your handshake, practice it on your friends and networking contacts to get feedback.

Just getting an interview is an accomplishment in itself.  You don’t want to lose the opportunity in the first 30 seconds.  With the right preparation you can present yourself in a way that keeps the employer’s attention on your skills and on how you would be the perfect fit for the job.

(Written by Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of Master Isolated Images)

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