In today’s competitive job market landing an interview for a job you are passionate about is an achievement in and of itself, so congratulations if you have gotten that far. Your CV and Cover Letter have impressed your potential employer, and now it’s time to show, in person, why you are the right candidate for the job. To do so, you will need to make a good impression on your interviewer, so here are 5 things they will pay attention to, that you need to get right.
How you dress
You only have one chance at a first impression, and fortunately or unfortunately, the first thing they will notice is how you look. Although this immediate judgement of your image may seem shallow, and not at all representative of your abilities, skills, and suitability for the role in question, unfortunately it matters.
The way you dress shows the interviewer how serious you are about the job, and how much respect you have for the company. You want to put your best foot forward, and turning up at the interview dressed in a professional manner will help you do this. Now, bear in mind, although interviews generally call for a suit & tie, or skirt and blouse, this is not always the case, what you wear should reflect the culture of the company, which leads nicely on to our next point.
If you’ve done your homework
Doing your research on the company you are interviewing for prior to turning up is of utmost importance, and not just to assess the company culture in order to know how to dress. Your interviewer will almost certainly ask you, in one way or another, what you know about the company, and why you want to work for them, and failing to do your homework could cost you the job.
As such, ensure that you are well researched, know what the company does, what they are about, and what their goals are moving forward. Identify why you are an appropriate match for the company in this role, and what you can bring to the table that will help them realise their goals. Being caught up on the latest company news could be of great benefit, as referencing it during an interview to assist a point you are trying to make will definitely make an impression.
This may sound like a no brainer to some, but being late is not an option. Failing to be on time will more than likely cost you the job before the interview has even begun. Turning up late will give the interviewer the impression that you lack professionalism, and aren’t serious about the role in question, which is something you will struggle to come back from, no matter how impressive you are in the interview.
Being 10-15 minutes early to your interview is advised, however I would suggest giving yourself a little more leeway and arriving at the location earlier than that, not to the actual company building, but maybe find a café nearby. This will give you time to steady yourself, and also allow for any unexpected delays you may face. Ensure however that you don’t arrive to the actual interview any earlier than 15 minutes before, as your interviewer likely has other work to complete before seeing you, and this will make them feel rushed, and result in a negative first impression of you.
Your body language
Interviews aren’t just about what you say, but also how you carry yourself, and your body language will be one of the first things your interviewer will pay attention to.
Ensure that your body language exudes confidence, sit up straight during the interview, keep eye contact with your interviewer, and keep any hand gesticulations to a minimum. Avoid slouching, or incessant fiddling as this could come across as boredom, uncomfortableness, or an inability to handle pressure, all things that will give the interviewer a negative impression of you.
Your ability to communicate
Communication is key in any job, whether it be between you and your colleagues, your superiors, or your clients, you will find yourself having to communicate with a wide array of people on a daily basis. As such, your ability to do so will be something that your interviewer will be scrutinising throughout your interview.
Being nervous is completely acceptable, almost everyone has nerves in these situations, but it is important to get them under control, and show that you can handle the pressure. Speak slowly and clearly, enunciate your words, and make sure that you answer all questions with confidence. Try to avoid speaking too quickly, repeating yourself, or overusing space fillers like ‘erm’, ‘like’, or ‘you know’. Showing the interviewer that communication is your strong suit will help you make a good impression.
Having succeeded in landing an interview, the last thing you want to do is fumble the opportunity. By being aware of the things that interviewers notice, and preparing for them, you should be able to make a good impression, and ensure that you will be called back for a second interview.
If you are looking for more interview advice, check out our articles on how to answer questions like ‘Why are you interested in this position?’, and ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years?’, as well as 5 questions YOU should ask during an interview, and 5 you really shouldn’t.