Make a Solid First Impression

Having a good resume is the first step to getting an in-person interview.  Having all the required skills or experience is important in getting an interview, as well.  However, making a good first impression is arguably even more important than both.  You need to prepare for your interview.  There are little things that can make a big difference in how you are perceived by a potential employer.  The following tried and true five steps will help you leave the best impression and give you the greatest chance at landing the job.

Your Body Language Says it All

When someone is speaking to you with their arms crossed, what impression does that give you?  Closed off?  Angry?  Dismissive?  Doing something that may come naturally to you may leave a bad impression during an interview.  Pay close attention to your body language.  It is important to show you are attentive and interested in the interview and the position with your body.  This means sitting up straight, making eye contact, and always greeting your interviewer with a solid handshake.

Also, try not to fiddle with your hands, this could come off as a distraction.  If you do not know what to do with your hands, which a lot of people do, trying placing one hand over the other on the table, or take notes during your interview.  Taking notes gives you something to do with your hands and shows you want to remember what the interviewer is telling you.

There is the saying that you should dress for the job you want.  No matter what job it may be a welder, truck driver, construction laborer, or warehouse personnel, you should have a clean presentation and outfit.  Try to avoid clothing with any wear and tear such as holes or stains.  Regardless of the job you apply for, how you present yourself physically with body language and how you put yourself together speaks volumes about you.

Get to the Point

While interviewers want detailed answers, they also want them to be precise.  This may take some practice.  When the interviewer asks a question try to give an answer that addresses all parts of the question, but does not ramble on.  Many interviews these days include behavioral type questions.  These are questions that want to know what you did in a previous job, not what you would do.

For example, when an employer asks you to explain a time that you had to help an angry customer, do not tell them that you would speak calmly to them, be understanding, and be someone who doesn’t shy away from a problem.  Tell them specifically what happened when you helped an angry customer in the past.  For example, like when a customer’s delivery was delayed and you ensured you gave regular updates to the customer so they knew you cared about their inconvenience.

If you do not answer questions precisely the interviewer may assume you do not understand the question.  Or worse, that you do not have an answer and are trying to cover up the fact with rambling.  There are several “standard” questions out there that can be found through any search engine like Google.  A bit of practice and having ready answers will relieve a lot of interview stress.

Don’t be Overconfident

An interview is the place to sell yourself, but not to show off.  Overconfidence can be perceived as arrogance.  This may give the impression that you feel that you are “above” the job or “too qualified.”  A bit of humility goes a long way.  Regardless how long you’ve been in your industry, a good middle ground between confidence and professionalism gives the best impression.

Similarly, overconfidence can come off as a lack in excitement or interest in the job you are interviewing for.  This goes back to answering questions precisely.  When asked, illustrate your skills as they pertain to the question, but also make sure you have the opportunity to illustrate your skills and why you are the best choice.

Know About the Company

Before going into an interview do a bit of research.  When you apply to a job online save the job description.  Also, when you get a call from a company that you applied to you should know a little bit already.  It is reasonable to apply to several jobs, but applying to a job you know nothing about is unprofessional.  When researching a company look at employee reviews and check out the company’s website.  Knowing about the company shows you are interested and serious about the job you are interviewing for.

Be a Good Listener

This may seem like a no-brainer, but this subtle action gives a very good impression to an interviewer.  When asked a question, restate the information in the question as part of your answer.  Communication is important in any job for cohesion and on dangerous work sites, a matter of safety.  Showing your listening skills in an interview tells the interviewer a positive trait you have without having to say it outright.

Conclusion

Many job openings have interviewers conducting dozens of interviews.  Following these steps are a sure-fire way to make yourself a contender.  Pay attention to your body language because this is the first step in your first impression with the interviewer.  Give to the point and precise answers, rambling may come off as stalling or lack of preparation.  Sell yourself, but don’t be overconfident.  Overconfidence can come off as arrogance and that is not a good quality for team work.  Know about the company you are applying for, this shows you are seriously interested in the job.  Finally, be a good listener because in every job highly values communication.  Don’t “wing it” in an interview. Take a bit of time to prepare and your time job hunting will significantly decrease!