How to make a great first impression in an interview

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so it’s crucial to get this right in a job interview. It can be the difference between a successful interview and an unsuccessful one!

Research indicates people will make up their minds about someone within the first seven seconds of meeting. Seven seconds… that’s it! So, with minimal time and a lot resting on the perfect first impression, how can you ensure yours is a positive one?

Performance Educations’ top tips for first impressions:

  1. Arrive on time – Being punctual is essential! We recommend arriving to the location 20 minutes before the interview time and entering reception/the office five to ten minutes before the interview. If you are running late, call as soon as possible, to advise your interviewers of the delay.
  2. Be nice to the receptionist and everyone that you meet – Giving a good first impression means treating everyone equally and with as much kindness as you will treat the interviewers. Companies have been known to ask their receptionist for feedback on candidates!
  3. Put your phone away and on silent – While waiting in the lobby, look over your resume and any notes you have prepared. This will make you look professional and organised (try to avoid just scrolling on social media!)
  4. Dress appropriately and look professional – People will take your presentation and appearance into consideration, so dress smart and look the part! This means wearing a clean shirt, suit, blouse or blazer and making sure your hair is brushed and neat.
  5. Smile – When you meet someone for the first time, smile, it will instantly give off an approachable, trustworthy and positive impression. Even if you are nervous, the act of smiling can help calm you down!
  6. Act interested – Make sure you are engaged while your interviewers are talking. Active listening techniques such as nodding, smiling, making eye contact and using verbal nods help to demonstrate interest in an interview.
  7. Speak slowly and clearly – This will make you seem confident and will ensure you are communicating effectively. Feel free to take notes during the interview or give yourself a moment to gather your thoughts if needed.
  8. Maintain good posture – Positive body language is important, sitting upright with your shoulders back and head held high will make you appear and feel more confident!
  9. Prepare for the interview – Practice interview questions, familiarise yourself with the job advert and pre prepare questions to ask the interviewers. Always research the company (via their website, blog, annual report, recent news articles and social media) and use this information in your answers, if possible, it highlights you’re engaged as well as prepared.
  10. After the interview – Thank your interviewer for the opportunity to meet with them. We suggest sending a follow-up thank you email when you get home, relaying your appreciation and reiterating why you would be a good fit for the role. Good luck!

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