Interview Primer – 5 Tips for a Good First Impression

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We all want to present our best selves in job interviews.

Unfortunately, we all make mistakes, even if we’ve prepared adequately. Most of the time, interviewees aren’t aware they’re making a mistake. If you know what to avoid, you will impress your interviewer and have a better chance of getting the job you want.

Research the Company

Interviewers appreciate it when you walk in with company knowledge. You don’t have to know everything, but doing basic homework helps. Otherwise, it may seem you don’t care about the position or the company. Start with a simple Google search and lurk around the company’s website and social media sites. Get a feel for its workplace, mission, and culture.

Dress Well

Ideally, no one should judge you by the way you look, but we don’t live in an ideal world. How you dress says plenty about who you are. The wrong clothes leave a poor impression. How you dress should be dictate in part by the company you are interviewing with. This is when that company research will come in handy. For a company with a more relaxed culture and atmosphere, it’s best to wear business casual clothing. For women, this means a dress, a skirt that hits the knee or below, or tailored slacks with a nice blouse. For men, it means khakis or tailored dark trousers, a button-down shirt, and loafers. If you’re interviewing with a law firm or another professional services firm, they will expect business attire. Overall, do not wear excessive jewelry or makeup. Cover tattoos. Don’t even think of wearing sneakers or flip-flops.

job coachUse Proper Phone Etiquette

An interview is not the time to answer your phone, respond to a text or get notified of a friend’s Facebook post. Consider shutting your phone off during the interview, or at the very least turn the ringer off. The interview is your chance to impress your potential employers and demonstrate the kind of employee they want to hire and retain for their business. Fixating on your phone could be interpreted as disrespectful and demonstrates a lack of interest. If an employer thinks you’re wasting their time, you have no chance of getting the job.

Do Not Bring Food or Drink

If you enter with food or drink, your interviewer will think you are focusing more on it than on the task. Eating or drinking during an interview also makes you look hurried and unprofessional. Finally, many interviewees use food or drink as distractions. They play with wrappers or fiddle with coffee cups. Such gestures tell the interviewer you lack confidence and focus. Finish eating and drinking beforehand.

Ask Thoughtful Questions

Interviewers appreciate applicants who ask thoughtful questions. Ask about expectations, including how promotions are decided and what character traits the workplace needs most. If you’re replacing someone, politely ask why he or she left. Limit yourself to two or three well-thought-out questions.

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