First impressions really do count. If you are called for an interview it indicates that the employer likes you for what you have mentioned in your CV. So it is an opportunity for you to build on that impression to secure the job.
Here are some tips for making a good initial impression:
Once the interview commences you will continue to make a positive impression if you:
- Arrive on time – ideally at least ten minutes early which will give you time to relax and collect your thoughts. If you are unexpectedly delayed, contact your prospective employer as soon as possible to explain the situation;
- When you arrive you will meet a receptionist or someone appointed to receive you. State, in a clear and friendly manner, your name, the time of your appointment and the name of the person you expect to meet;
- Have all the relevant documentation ready to present if needed: your interview invitation and a copy of your CV and cover letter or application form;
- Switch your mobile phone off before you enter the interview room.
- Listen carefully to each question and give concise answers supported with relevant examples; avoid saying just yes or no;
- Ask for clarification if a question is not clear;
- Speak clearly and loudly enough for the interviewer to hear and try to keep to a moderate pace;
- Stay as relaxed as possible. Prepare techniques in advance that will help to offset any nervousness. This might be simply repeating a silent mantra such as 'relax' or whatever works for you and also taking a deep breath before you start to answer a question.
- Be aware of the effects of your body language and how to use it to your advantage.
- Give each interviewer a firm handshake at the beginning and end of the interview.
- Keep a relaxed but alert posture and a friendly expression. This will indicate a positive approach on your part. Be conscious of maintaining good posture throughout the interview as you may find that when an interview is going well you tend to slouch into a casual pose.
- Maintain good eye contact. If there is more than one interviewer, look at the person asking the question when you reply but glance at the other interviewers from time to time.
- Most interviewers need to make notes as you are speaking so that they will remember key things about you when making their selection decision. Showing that you are distracted by it will have a negative effect so stay focused.
- You may find that you fidget when you are nervous and/or wave your hands a lot when speaking. This can be distracting to the interviewer and take away from your performance. Develop a technique that will help you to control the movement whilst still appearing natural and relaxed.