Making a Good First Impression During the Interview

May 3rd, 2013 | Articles, Interviewing | No Comments »


Most people imagine the job interview starts and stops when you enter and exit the interviewer’s office. In actuality, it can extend far beyond that and include more people than you even expect. Any person that you interact with once you enter the building can help to decide your fate, so it is always a good idea to generate a good first impression with everyone you meet.

The Receptionist:

As the first person you meet on your journey through the office, the receptionist is key to your winning job interview strategy. Important information can flow through this person to every key decision maker in the company. That in mind, everything you do or say before your interview can make it back to your interviewer.

Never answer your cell phone while waiting for your job interview. It can interrupt the receptionist’s concentration and it definitely conveys a lack of professionalism. If you decide to strike up a conversation, make sure that the receptionist isn’t busy. If not, keep topics from getting too deep or polemic. Small talk about the weather, traffic, or local restaurant openings are all safe topics. Any attempt to go deeper – especially when probing for salary information or corporate goings on – can be dangerous. Those are the types of red flags that tend to make their way to the hiring manager.

Members of the Team:

If at any time you are introduced to members of the team, you definitely need to make a solid impression. An interviewer makes these types of introductions as a way of gauging how well you will fit in with the prevailing team personalities. That is why you need to be conscious of the verbal & nonverbal cues you are sending out.

Make a conscious effort to smile at everyone you meet. A friendly demeanor goes a long way during these brief interactions. Whenever you can, make direct eye contact with the interviewer and the team but don’t let your glare linger so long to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Also, you should keep up a strong posture that conveys your alert awareness; you don’t want anyone to perceive you as a slouch.

When conversing or asking questions, you want to make sure that your every word depicts you as a professional yet approachable person. As with the receptionist, you should stick to neutral topics that will not encourage any bad blood or tarnish your reputation as a loyal team player. That in mind, complaining about previous jobs or asking about the team members’ gripes with the company are definitely out of the question.

In Conclusion:

Send out professional vibes from the moment you walk into the building for your job interview. Anyone you speak to outside of the interviewer can impact the results of your interview process because you never know who has the ear of the final decision makers. Plus, down the road, when you actually land the job, you will have laid the foundation for positive work relationships that can last.

by James Walsh

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