Make The Best First Impression on Your Next Job Interview

Posted on April 23, 2017 by

I was recently asked about some ways to make a good first impression on your job interview.  Obviously your experience and the way you answer the questions you are asked will make a big difference but appearance and body language oftentimes play a vital role in the decision as well.

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  • Sit up straight – You will be asked to sit in the lobby to wait for your interviewer – make sure you sit up straight and don’t lean back like it is your living room – always keep in mind that everything you do is being observed.
  • No games — Don’t play games on your phone or plug earphones in and listen to music, if your interviewer is late.  Sit there quietly and mentally prepare yourself for your interview.  Get in the zone.  Use this time to rehearse your interview responses.  Use the time to observe your surroundings.
  • Phone etiquette – The only etiquette you should observe is to turn off your phone completely.  Do not turn it to vibrate as they can hear your phone when it vibrates and it will be distracting to them and to you.  Turn it off before you walk into the lobby.  If you don’t, you may be surprised when your interviewer arrives and forget to turn it off.
  • Don’t wear too much makeup, perfume or cologne – Some people are sensitive to smell and it is safer to eliminate that risk by wearing little to no perfume or cologne.
  • Keep your hands off your face – Don’t be the candidate that is constantly touching their face or wiping their nose.  This will not help your cause.
  • Good posture – In the interview, make sure that you sit up straight and have good posture.  Slouching in your chair sends the wrong message.
  • Manicure – Make sure your nails are shortly trimmed and clean. You may not think an interviewer would notice if your nails look tidy and are modestly polished, but they will.  In fact, they’ll notice if your nails aren’t done nicely, and if they’re sloppy, studies have shown that they’ll assume you’re messy too, and will be far less likely to hire.
  • Clean and tidy shoes – Make sure that your shoes are neat and clean.  Get them polished before the interview.  It will be worth the $5 investment.  Check to make sure that your laces aren’t frayed, your heels aren’t broken and that they are in good condition.  Don’t be fooled into thinking they won’t look at your shoes.
  • No hats – Do not wear any type of hat to an interview – ever.
  • Drinks – Do not bring a drink into your interview.  If you stopped at Starbucks on the way to the interview and haven’t finished your latte, throw it away before you walk through the door.  On that subject, if the receptionist asks you if they can get you a drink, only ask for water.  Don’t ask for coffee as this could lead to coffee-breath and don’t ask for a soda or anything else such as tea.  Everything you do is observed and you don’t want to be known as the candidate that was high maintenance.
  • Dress – It is better to slightly overdress and conservative is always the best choice. If you are working with a recruiter, they should be able to suggest the best way to dress for that particular client.

Even as a technology recruiting firm, where you would assume that technical ability is the only thing that matters when evaluating a candidate, we have experienced all of the above situations that have had an impact on candidates’ interviewing success.

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Author's biography:

Ted co-founded KCM Solutions and now oversees all business development and client projects. Previously, he founded a financial staffing firm after working with a large investment bank. With passions in mountain biking and triathlons, he can often be found with bags of ice all over his body. When he isn’t training or onsite with our clients, he is still trying to figure out how to corral two, very active boys.