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Job Interview Basics: Making The Best First Impression


When preparing for an interview, the foremost thing on your mind is probably going to be the difficult questions you'll be asked and how to give great answers to them, but don't overlook the fact that you will be making an impression on everyone at the company from the minute you walk onto the business premises.

You will be evaluated from the minute you walk in the door to make sure you are the right fit for the company and the role. 

We've collected eight simple but very important things to get right. These are all easy to do but, without these basics nailed, even the best-prepared answers during the interview will not impress quite as much.

Be prompt and show up on time

Make sure you are on time or, better yet, a little bit early so that you can be cool, calm and collected for your interview. If you do find that you're running late, make sure to call your interviewer as soon as you can rather than offering an excuse when you arrive. Giving people as much notice as possible looks far more professional than calling after you are already late and people have had to wait around for you.

Make an effort and dress the part

Your appearance shouldn't necessarily affect the final decision, but it will influence how you are initially perceived and how people respond to your questions and answers. Don't make your life harder than it needs to be - appearance is such an easy thing to get right! Be sure to look smart, comfortable, professional and as confident as possible.

Make sure you are not over-burdened

Make sure your bag isn’t too full, and that you aren't carrying anything in your hands when you arrive such as a half drunk cup of coffee. Finish it before you get there. If you have too many things in your hands it will make you look flustered and unprepared, whereas the impression you want to create is that of a person who is calm and in control.

Be polite to everyone

It's important to be polite to everyone, not just the interviewers. Be friendly and attentive to everyone you meet, in particular the receptionists who sign you in. Often they are asked to report back on the character and attitude of interviewees in reception.

Keep your phone on silent and out of sight

It's only natural to pull out your phone when you are waiting and have a few minutes to spare, but it looks much better if you are not checking emails or Facebook shortly before your interview. Instead you could use this time to mentally prepare yourself for the interview, or to go over your CV or the questions you would like to ask, or to read the job description or some material from the company. Or you could simply pay attention to the comings and goings in reception. You want to have your attention fully on the reason you are there - to get the job.

Be neat, be organised

Be sure to have your CV to hand, so you don’t have to rummage through rubbish, phone chargers and the like in your bag to find it. If you have followed our advice above then your bag won’t be over-full, and you will be able to find things easily.

Be alert and make the first move

As a guest, you might expect your host to make the first move to a handshake. But, if you are able to, offering your hand for a handshake first shows that you are confident, excited and ready for the interview. When you're waiting in reception, keep your head up and see if you can see your interviewer coming. Don't be afraid to smile and nod at people. One of them could be your interviewer coming to get you - and you will make a great first impression if you are ready and waiting for them.

Connect with your interviewer

You will make yourself more memorable if you can find some common ground with your interviewer. Maybe there is something in the office, or something about the day, that can help you spark some small talk outside of the interview process. It's important to have an amicable conversation, so enjoy yourself, be yourself and be at ease. Everything is more likely to go smoothly and your interviewer is more likely to remember you.

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