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As much as we all get anxious at the thought of job interviews, they are a necessary evil in the job-hunting process. And the truth is, how you perform can make or break your chances of getting the job. This is why making a good impression at a job interview is critical.
Here’s a sobering fact: on average, 40 percent of all hiring managers decide whether or not to pursue a candidate based on their first impression. Research also suggests that it only takes seven seconds to form an impression of someone. Use this time well!
Keep in mind that a job interview is not just about whether you can do the job. It’s also whether you will fit in with the company culture. So before you start thinking about answering those difficult questions, here are 10 ways to make a good impression at a job interview.
Why Making A Good Impression At A Job Interview Is Important
First impressions are important because they stick with us. So, how you present yourself during the interview plays a major role in you landing the job.
Studies have shown that warmth, likeability, and competence are the three qualities people judge others on most. So, the interviewer will likely remember how you made them feel more than anything else. If you leave a good impression, then you’ll likely proceed to the next stage.
Another study found that when it comes to job interviews, 46% of hiring managers highlighted that their decision came down to whether or not they liked the candidate.
So if you can be likable and make a good impression, you’re already ahead of the game! Some of the other reasons why it’s important to make a good impression include:
- It makes you stand out from the other candidates
- The interviewer will be more likely to remember you
- You’ll come across as more confident
10 Ways To Make A Good Impression At A Job Interview
Making a good impression at a job interview isn’t really difficult. Here are 10 effective ways that will help you stand out.
1. Your Appearance Matters —Dress the Part
One of the easiest ways to make a good impression is to dress for the job you want. When you’re properly groomed and well-dressed, you tend to appear more professional and competent, even if you don’t feel like it!
Your attire doesn’t have to be expensive or flashy; just make sure your clothes are clean and wrinkle-free. Plus, who said you need to stick to a suit? Depending on the industry you’re in, dressing more casually can sometimes make you stand out in a good way. Just be yourself and choose an outfit that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
Pay attention to little details like polishing your shoes, ironing your clothes, and getting a haircut. And, it won’t hurt to add some little style: – like match your shoes, belt, and wristband.
If you’re not sure what the dress code is, err on the side of caution and go for a more professional look. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed!
2. A Good Handshake And Introduction
One of the first things you should do when you meet the interviewer is shake their hand.
This might seem like a small gesture, but a strong and firm handshake can make a big impression — It shows that you’re confident and sure of yourself. Avoid shaking too hard or too softly, and ensure you make eye contact with the interviewer.
Different studies show that interviewers decide whether or not to hire you in the first few seconds of your meeting. Keep in mind that handshaking is usually the first contact with the hiring manager, so make it count!
Practice shaking hands with a friend before your interview. It might feel a little awkward at first, but it will be worth it when you make a great first impression.
3. Use The Interviewer’s Name Throughout The Interview
When you’re introduced to the interviewer, make sure to catch their name and use it throughout the interview. For example, “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Smith. I’m excited to learn more about the marketing manager position.”
This is a simple but effective way to get the interviewer’s attention. People like it when you mention their names while talking to them. It shows you recognize and respect the person you’re talking to.
Using the interviewer’s name will also make them feel as though you two have a connection, making you more memorable. Not convinced? A recent analysis of interviews showed that people who used the interviewer’s name were significantly more likely to get the job than those who didn’t.
4. Speaking With Conviction When You Give Answers
Answering questions with confidence is important, but you also need to make sure they are convincing. This means having well-thought-out responses that are relevant to the question.
When you speak with conviction, you prove that you are confident and decisive. It’s also a great way to build rapport with the interviewer. If they see that you’re confident in your answers, they’ll be more likely to trust you and believe in what you’re saying.
So take time to think about the questions before you answer, and be sure to back up your points with examples or explanations. If you’re not sure how to answer a question, take a moment to recollect your thoughts before speaking. This way, you can be sure to give the best answer possible.
This will also prove to the interviewer that you can think on your feet and handle pressure well.
5. Show The Interviewer That You’re Personable
In order to show the interviewer that you’re personable, try to find common ground with them. This can be something as simple as sharing a hobby or interest.
For example, if the interviewer mentions that they like hiking, you can say something like, “I love hiking too! I just went on a hike last weekend.” This shows the interviewer that you’re someone they can relate to.
It’s also a great way to build rapport and make a good impression. Keep in mind that most interviewers care much more about being able to work with you 40+ hours a week than they care about your GPA or Master’s degree.
There’s a trick, though: be authentic. Don’t force connections or shared interests. The interviewer will see right through you.
6. Inject Humor Throughout the Interview
Humor is a great way to break the ice and make a good impression. If you can make the interviewer laugh, they’ll definitely remember you.
Just be sure not to overdo it, as too much humor can come across as try-hard or even desperate. The key is to use the jokes sparingly and only if it feels natural.
So if you’re feeling nervous, try to crack a few jokes to lighten the mood. However, remember to keep it professional, as this is still a job interview.
7. Show Positive Nonverbal Communication
Your body language says a lot about you and makes a big difference in how the interviewer perceives you. So make sure you maintain eye contact, sit up straight, and place your hands on your laps.
Slouching or crossing your arms conveys disinterest or boredom, while maintaining good posture shows interest and engagement. So, make sure your body language is positive and open, as this will make a good impression on the interviewer.
They’ll see that you’re interested and engaged in the conversation, which is a great way to stand out. You should also avoid fidgeting, as this can make you appear nervous or anxious. Just try to relax, and your body language will reflect that.
8. Ask Thoughtful Questions at the End of the Interview
Toward the end of the interview, you’ll likely be allowed to ask questions. This is your chance to show that you’re truly interested in the position and the company. So take advantage of it by asking thoughtful questions that show you’ve done your research.
Some good questions to ask include:
- What will be the most challenging part of getting up to speed with this role if I am hired?
- What kind of supervision do you provide?
- How would you describe your organizational culture?
- Do you have any professional growth/ development opportunities for this role?
- Is there anything about my resume that concerns you that I am not fit for this role?
This will show that you care about the job.
9. Remember Any Key Detail That The Interviewer Brings Up
When asking questions at the end, bring up something the interviewer said earlier in the conversation. This will show that you were paying attention and are interested in the job.
If you can, try to relate it back to the job. For example, if they mentioned that they encourage after-work activities among their staff, you could say, “I’m so glad this organization values enrichment activities. I’m a football player.”
This will show that you were listening and actively engaged throughout the interview.
10. Answer The Interviewer’s Questions In A Way That Shows You’ll Be Valuable To The Company
When answering questions, make sure to always highlight how you’ll be a valuable asset to the company. For example, if they ask about your weaknesses, don’t just say you’re bad at public speaking. Say that you’re working on it, and give an example of how you’ve been working to improve.
Whenever you answer a question, try and make a case for yourself. If you can, try to relate your strengths back to the job. This will show that you understand what the company is looking for and that you’re a perfect fit.
Go Wow the Interviewing Panel!
Making a good impression at a job interview is critical in landing a job. Keep in mind that there are other candidates being interviewed for the position. How do you stand out? What will give you a cutting edge? Focus on impressing the interviewer!
The above tips are a great place to start. They may not get you the job, but they will bring you a step closer. Remember, how you start the interview sets the tone for the rest of it. So when you get off to a good start in your interview, you are able to address the hard questions with confidence.
Go on and impress that panel…you’ve got this!