No matter how much preparation you do ahead of your interview, if you don’t make a good first impression all of your hard work could go to waste. First impressions are essential as it can help you stand out against equally experienced or qualified candidates.
Having a smooth introduction will also set you and the interviewer at ease, getting you off to a great start.
- Arrive 10 minutes before your job interview
You may think arriving really early makes you look keen, but if you’re too early it can put pressure on your interviewer and reception staff, particularly if it’s busy.
It’s great to allow plenty of time for travel so that you’re not late, but if you’re more than 15 minutes early go and grab a coffee nearby. Arriving 10 minutes before your interview is perfect.
- Don’t bring your friends and family with you
Or if you do, ask them to wait in a local cafe. Bringing friends, spouses or relatives into an office where you’re interviewing can cause confusion with introductions and again, put pressure on busy reception staff.
Show your interviewer that you’re independent and professional, and ask your loved ones to wait somewhere warm nearby.
- Maintain eye contact with everyone you meet
It’s easy to forget the little things if you’re nervous, so make a mental note to make eye contact with your interviewer. This is especially important if you’re having a panel interview, always make sure you look at everyone in the room when you’re answering questions so that you’re engaging everyone in the conversation.
- Sit facing the door and stand up to shake hands
Positioning yourself strategically in the room can help avoid any awkwardness when your interviewer walks in. If you have your back to the door, for example, you’re going to have to twist around when they enter and the first thing they’ll see is the back of your head.
If you can, sit facing the door and stand-up to shake their hand when you greet them – a little politeness goes a long way.
- Go easy on the aftershave or perfume
It’s great to smell good, but you don’t want to give a prospective new employer a headache.
- Tuck away your phone
If you’re kept waiting, resist the urge to scroll through your Instagram feed. Some employers will be more relaxed than others about this, but there’s a risk that idly scrolling your phone in reception will make you look bored or unprofessional.
Believe us, interviewers notice this stuff!
- Be nice to the reception staff
We mentioned this in our five ways to ruin an interview blog post, but here’s no harm in saying it twice. Be nice to everyone you meet during the interview process, no matter how stressed or flustered you are. If you’re not, it will get back to your prospective employer and your name will be struck off the list.