Job Interview First Impressions

Published on 22 February 2011 by Claire Ivey in Interviewing, Job Search


iStock 000005068348XSmall 300x199 Job Interview First ImpressionsSo, you got the interview.  Congratulations!

Now what?  There is much to do my friend!

How long does it take to make a first impression? Not very long, believe me….the first 5 seconds is all you get.

How long does it take to change that bad first impression?  Basically – you can’t. It is done. You have that hurdle to deal with – and, oh by the way – you are there for an interview…..right?

Let’s discuss how to make that fabulous first impression!

It starts when you get the call to come in for the interview. Ask questions; repeat back the time and date they want to see you, and the location. Google map the location, if you are driving; check bus or train, or ferry  schedules; taxi cab availability etc. ; allow enough extra time. In case there is traffic, you won’t be late. Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early. Do a dry run a few days before. Make sure your cell phone is charged – in case you are unavoidably delayed – you can call and let them know the reason.

Immediately, look at your wardrobe. You will need clean, pressed clothing that you are comfortable in – no tight fit or loose and baggy! You will be squirming to get comfortable and focus on rather than forming your great responses to their questions.

Casual culture, casual dress code? Go dressed professionally anyway – you are making an impression. Your attire needs to say “I am your person for the job”, regardless of whether it is a casual environment and very informal attire is the norm. Get the job first – then wear the jeans, or other casual clothes to work! There may be times when you are representing the company – and dressing professionally shows them you can dress up

If you don’t have adequate clothing – shop the consignment stores, the clearance sales, and outlet stores, to invest in an interview outfit or two. Get things that can mix and match with what you have, or get one great outfit  – and change it with different shirts, tops or other accessories, so it will look different, should you have more than one interview with the same company. Shoes need to be polished!!! NO flip flops!! If you can wear them when you get the job – great; but NOT before. Tone down the jewelry. Body piercings and tattoos should be covered up. Do not wear any jewelry that is noisy and clangs. You are going to an interview – not nightclubbing.

Let’s talk body preparation. Is your hair neat – or does it need a trim or shape up? Roots showing, color it;  touch up the gray by using a rinse, if you are worried about looking older than you feel; if you have wildly dyed hair color – get rid of it for the interview. Nails need to be clean with no ragged cuticles.   If you wear polish – insure it is not chipped or partially worn off. Facial hair needs to be neat and trimmed.

Do your hands get sweaty? Part of the first impression is to greet your interviewer with eye contact and a firm handshake (No knuckle crunching or limp and flimsy grasps please!). Eye contact and smiling are HUGE. You want to convey you are excited to be there, right? You need to demonstrate your confidence by looking them in the eye and smiling. Fake it until you feel it!

Hygiene: the worst first impression is having body odor or bad breath. Be sure to bathe/shower before the interview; clean hair, use deodorant, brush your teeth, and use mouthwash. Our body chemistry changes when we get nervous. (Carry mints to refresh before you sign in; go to the restroom and wash your hands and dry them completely).

Let’s face it – interviewing is nerve-wracking. It doesn’t have to be. Preparation and confidence can do wonders towards diminishing your anxiety. After all, you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. They don’t have all the power here! You want to ask them questions (again being prepared in advance: look them up online; study their website; what impact to their business has occurred, and how have they fared in this downturned economy?)More on this topic to come – stay tuned to this blog site for more suggestions on preparation for the interview.

Photo © Jacob Wackerhausen iStockphoto

One Response to “Job Interview First Impressions”

  1. Dan Black says:

    Thank you for sharing. All good advice for people who have an interview.