Making a good first impression at an interview


Last week we wrote a blog about the mistakes you might be making on your CV that could be losing you interview opportunities. This week, we thought we’d share our top tips on making the best impression once you reach the interview stage.


In recruitment, a face-to-face interview is usually key in helping an employer to figure out whether a candidate is a good match for the business – beyond what’s written on paper. Usually, this will be the first encounter that a candidate will have with a potential employer, so first impressions count.


Below is a refresher on how to make sure you come across in the best way possible, plus some of our top tips:


Being punctual

You will have heard the phrase “If you’re early, you’re on time; if you’re on time, you’re late.” Running late without notice will undoubtedly set you off on the wrong foot. Your interviewer will more than likely have other meetings set up, and turning up late could result in your interview having to be cut short or them being late to their next meeting – neither of which make for a good first impression.


On the flip side of this, turning up too early can have a similar effect, making your interviewer feel bad about your wait whilst they finish what they are doing.


Your safest bet is to turn up around 10 minutes ahead of schedule. This way you’re less likely to disrupt any meetings that are in progress or be the reason why some are pushed back.


Our tip: Do the journey beforehand so you know exactly how to get to where your interview will be held, and how long it’s going to take. If you’ll be travelling at rush hour, take this into consideration by adding on some extra time.


Confidence is key

Interviews are nerve-racking, but despite how you might be feeling inside, it’s important to walk into them with confidence. If you come across unsure of yourself, your interviewer will pick up on this.


How you enter the office or room is the first step in making a positive impression, so simple things like having your head up and acknowledging those at reception by smiling and saying hello can go a long way. Remember the staff that you meet on your way into an interview may well offer their opinion on your character to decision-makers, and if you’re confident and friendly they will only have positive words to say.


If you’re not typically a confident person, holding a pen or piece of paper might help you stop fidgeting with nerves, and concentrating on your breathing could prevent you from talking too quickly. The way you dress will have a big impact on how you feel, too. Wearing smart clothes that you feel good in can make you feel empowered and therefore boost your confidence. You could also try and arrange the interview for the morning, so that you’re not waiting around all day whilst your nerves rise.


Our tip: Keep eye contact as much as possible throughout your interview whilst you’re engaged in conversation, it’s one of the easiest ways to exude confidence.


Demonstrate that you’ve done your research

Researching the company you are interviewing for and demonstrating this knowledge will show you are committed and keen on the job. It could also give you a competitive advantage ahead of other candidates who may have just had a cursory look at the company’s website. Find out about their clients, campaigns, staff, and key award wins, for example – slipping this into conversation throughout your interview will make you look like you’ve taken the opportunity seriously and you understand the business.


Setting up a Google Alert for the name of the company is also a good idea, as doing so will see any good news stories, business updates or potential issues delivered to your email inbox – keeping you updated on the latest up until the day of your interview.


Our tip: Make a note of five or six points about the company, if you get even two or three of these into the conversation this could pay dividends.


Arguably, an interview is the most important part of an application process, which means it’s important that you make a good impression. It’s best not to focus too much on how much is riding on it. It’s just as much an opportunity for you to see if the chemistry is right with your potential employer, as much as it is for them to gauge whether you’re the best person for the job. Even if you have other interviews lined up, you always need to show your enthusiasm at every one that you attend. Ask questions, be alert, and make eye contact with your interviewer. Having the ability to nail an interview is largely down to confidence and doing your research – and if you follow the above steps, you’ll be one step closer to clinching that dream role.


Any other tips for making a good first impression? Let us know over on Twitter @Found_People