Most employers make up their minds about candidates within the first few minutes of the interview. So, starting off strong and making the right first impression are crucial for landing the job.
You are under scrutiny from the moment you arrive for an interview. From your casual small talk and handshake, to body language and eye contact, it’s all fair game for the employer.
Research has shown that it takes 60 per cent of human resources professionals less than 10 minutes to form a positive or negative opinion of a job seeker. Nearly one in five say that they form their opinion half that time, in under five minutes.
To ace that essential first impression, it is vital to convey your professionalism, not only through your body language, but also by being able to quickly highlight the value you bring to the organization using a polished, relevant elevator pitch.
Five tips for starting off your job interview on the right foot:
1. Pay attention to the details. Extend a firm handshake, maintain eye contact and present a professional image. This includes ensuring your shoes are polished, your clothing is professional and wrinkle-free, and your nails are clean and trimmed.
2. Ace the common questions. Make sure you know how you will respond to frequently-asked questions, such as, “Can you tell me a little about yourself?” Research the company before your interview and tap your network for their insights to help you to frame your answers in the context of how you can help the company. Relevance is key.
3. Don’t be arrogant. Find the right balance between talking about your accomplishments in a positive light and coming across as overconfident. Sounding cocky is one of the biggest interview mistakes a candidate can make. It can make you seem hard to work with.
4. Share memorable stories. Give specific examples of how and why you’ve been successful. You’ll make a positive impression on hiring managers by sharing interesting anecdotes about how you solved a challenging business problem or saved an employer time, money, or resources. Telling relatable stories will also make you stand out from other, similarly qualified candidates.
5. Be yourself. While it is a good idea to practice your answers to the most commonly asked job interview questions, you want to avoid coming across as overly rehearsed. Interviewers want to get a sense of your personality and how you would fit into the culture of the workplace.