How to Make a Great First Impression at an Interview
7 seconds. That’s how long it takes for someone to evaluate you when they first meet you. 7 seconds! I know it sounds crazy but in under 10 seconds another human has formed an opinion about you based on your appearance, posture, demeanor, body language, even your clothes. What’s even crazier is that the chances of them reversing that opinion of you is slim to none. First impressions are important, people! Here are some tips on how to make an amazing first impression:
Be on Time! I’m sure you’ve heard it beforeâ€”if you’re not early, you’re late. Show up a few minutes early for your interview especially if it’s an interview for your dream job. If you are running late call your interviewer as soon as you can. It’s always better to gives a heads up than to wait until you’re 30 minutes late to explain why you are late.
- A Smile Goes a Long Way! It’s true what they say about smiling, it is contagious. It’s a fact, folks. When you smile at someone-more often than not-they will smile back. You can utilize this to your advantage. Smile when you first see your interviewer. It will effectively break down any barriers by showing them that you are friendly, approachable, and excited to meet them. Be careful not overload with a constant cheesy beam. You don’t want to appear insincere, and you definitely don’t want to look like a creep. Keep it natural.
- Body Language Speaks Much Louder than Words! Good posture is imperative, people! Stand tall to appear open and confident. Keep your shoulders back and relaxed, and your feet on the ground. Absolutely NO slouching. Slouching will make you look insecure and unapproachable. Eye contact is crucial. Maintaining a healthy level of eye contact will let the interviewer know that you are paying attention, and that you are interested in what is being said. Again, be careful not to appear creepy. Prolonged eye contact can feel uncomfortable, but multiple breaks in eye contact can also feel uncomfortable and make you seem distracted. Find a good medium.
- Make the First Move! Most people think the interviewer should or will make the first move. While this may be true in some instances, don’t be afraid to extend your hand first. Your handshake is important. You know that space between your thumb and your pointer finger? I call it a webby. Make sure when you a shaking hands with someone that your webby touches their webby. I know it sounds strange, but it’s what needs to happen to ensure a successful handshake. Be firm but not too firm, and do not shake fingersâ€”touch webbies! Your handshake will exude confidence.
- Find a Connection! Solidify your stellar first impression by making a connection with your interviewer. Look around the office to notice if there is a commonality you share, or dig a little deep into conversation. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but it might help you get a foot in the door or at least ensure that you are remembered.
These tips may not guarantee you the job, but it will certainly get you a little closer. Starting off your interview on the right foot will help you rock through some of those tough questions. Remember to stay calm, confident, and kind.
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