Friday, May 2, 2014

How to make a lasting impression on that initial job interview

Let’s face it; an initial interview is not likely to get you the job.  But, it is an essential first step.  When you go for a job interview, your goal is to make them like you, and want to talk to you more. In this day and age, it’s rare for applicants to get offers during the first interview. Therefore, you always want to make a lasting impression and leave them wanting more – make them want to talk to you again. Here are some simple things that can create a better first impression and help you reach that goal.

Dress for success
You never get a second chance to make a good first impression so you always want to look the part.  According to Forbes Magazine, most interviewers have their minds made up within the first seven seconds on whether or not they would hire a person.  Therefore, you want to always look professional.  To begin, your clothes must be clean, pressed, and shoes should look polished.  To get a better idea of what you should, and shouldn’t wear, check out our Pinterest pin board.  It is full of ideas on how you should dress for a job interview, and ways to avoid looking unprofessional.

Man shaking hands with a woman at a table in a business setting. Tell them your value proposition
If you say you have the skills you know they are looking for, you must be able to talk about those skills and provide concrete examples of things you’ve accomplished that will benefit the company.  This is what we call your Value Proposition.  In other words, how your qualifications meet the employer’s needs and can help them achieve their goals.  If they say they need someone who feels comfortable using Microsoft Office applications, you want to relay to them that you’ve utilized Outlook, Excel, and Word during an internship or previous job, for example, or that you clocked hundreds of hours writing research papers while utilizing Word and Excel in college.  Give them examples of what you have done and how it relates to what you can do for them.  You want them to visualize you working in that position. Build a picture that demonstrates how you will get the job done.

Be aware of your non-verbal communication
Studies show that non-verbal communication makes up for 90% of the message. Therefore, you always need to be aware of your posture and eye contact.  A lack of eye contact shows a lack of interest.  Also, it’s best to practice your handshake.  A limp, clammy handshake will not showcase you as a strong capable employee.  You want your handshake to be confident and firm; but not bone crushing.  Holding their grip for 2 to 3 seconds while looking them in the eye with a confident smile is sufficient and demonstrates that you are capable, personable and trustworthy.

Show enthusiasm for the position.
No one wants to hire someone who isn’t passionate about the work they do.  This means asking thoughtful questions to get an idea of what the company is truly like.  At the end of the interview, when they ask if you have questions, never say no.  By having five to seven questions prepared, it shows that you are excited to find the right fit for not just them, but for yourself. Not only are you letting them interview you, but you are interviewing them to see if you would even want to work in their environment.  Showing that you have a genuine interest in the position—whether or not it is the right position for you—proves that you did your homework and that you take your career seriously. 

In the end, your goal is to make them like you, envision you doing what it is they are looking to accomplish, and want to talk to you more.   By being aware of these simple ideas, you can create a lasting impression and increase the chance of being called back for a second, or third, interview.


Good luck and let us know how these ideas have worked for you.