Get That Job: 6 Great Ways To Start A Job Interview
The most important part of a job interview can be its first few seconds. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Science tells us that overcoming a bad first impression is a challenge. Make your first impression is as strong as it can possibly be.
How To Make A Great First Impression
You only get one chance to make a first impression. When you’re interviewing for a job, that first impression matters.
In a split-second, your interviewer make a snap judgment. That judgment can work in your favor, or work against it.
Strong first impressions give you leeway in your interview; you can make a mistake and still recover.Weak first impressions are difficult to overcome.
1. Dress for your interview appropriately
When you dress for your interview, it’s better to overdress than underdress. Nobody ever lost a job offer for looking too put-together.
For jobs that are business formal, wear a dark grey or navy suit to your interview, paired with a white or subtle-colored shirt.
For jobs that are business casual, look clean. Clothing should not be torn or have holes. Shoes should be covered-toe.
Always go light on perfumes and accessories and remember that what’s fashionable for a night out with your friends may not be fashionable in the workplace.
When in doubt, go conservative.
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2. Be groomed for your interview
Part of your first impression is looking presentable, and capable of taking care of yourself. You’ll want to look well-groomed.
Good grooming spans three hygiene areas.
First, a well-groomed person wear clothes that are clean, well-fitting, and free from wrinkles. Iron your clothes ahead of time to make yourself presentable; or send your clothes to the cleaners for a pressing.
Second, trim and clean your nails. Your interviewer will see your hands and dirty nails are unacceptable.
And, third, clean and style your hair. Shine and buff your shoes. And, if you have a beard or mustache, get yourself a trim.
The thing is, your interviewer won’t notice if you’re well-groomed and presentable. Your interviewer will only notice if you’re not.
Looking sloppy will hurt your chances of getting a job.
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3. Consider covering visible tattoos
A job interview is an evaluation and your goal is to get the best evaluation you can. A better evaluation gives you a better chance to get the job.
It’s a reason to consider covering your visible tattoos.
Tattoos and body art are deeply personal. You may feel offended at the suggestion that you hide them, even. However, your goal is to get a job offer. You can’t know how your interviewer will react to your ink.
The smart play is to cover them up.
In the history of job interviews, no one has ever lost a job offer for hiding a visible tattoo. The same isn’t true for people who showed them.
Unless it strongly offends you to cover tattoos, choose appropriate clothing and use accessories which hide your visible body art.
4. Arrive early for your interview
Showing up early for an interview conveys two important messages.
First, showing up early shows you’re eager and interested in the job. Second, it shows that you have respect for a schedule and for other people’s time.
Arrive 10 minutes early for an interview. Fifteen minutes is too much. Five minutes is too little. Ten is the right number.
When you arrive at the interview, use your extra 10 minutes to freshen up in the restroom and to get yourself settled. Wash your hands. Turn off your ringers. Maybe read a magazine.
Make small talk with a receptionist, if there is one.
You are now on-site for your interview. Assume that everyone who walks by is watching you and evaluating you. Stay off your social media. Sit tall and look approachable. Breathe.
5. Turn off all electronic devices
Prior to the interview, make sure that your electronic devices are turned off completely. This includes your phone, your watch, and anything else that’s prone to make noise or cause distraction.
Even vibrating phones emit noise.
When your devices are turned off completely, you are freed up to give 100% of your attention to your interviewer; which is exactly what you would want your interviewer to do for you.
Electronics have no place in an interview setting. Ever.
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6. Give a good, proper handshake
When you meet your interviewer, give a good and proper handshake. You will be judged by your handshake, so make sure you get it right.
Here’s how to give a handshake:
- Make eye contact
- With a loose elbow joint, extend your right hand
- Lock hands with your interviewer, palm-to-palm
- Squeeze gently between your thumb and index finger to create pressure
- Give a few up-and-downs, but for no more than a few seconds
- Break your hold
It’s a good idea to practice your handshake ahead of time. Extending your arm will avoid the “dead fish” handshake interviewers like to complain about.
You’ll also want to offer some thanks during the process, such as, “It’s nice to meet you” or “Thank you for seeing me today”.
How To Give A Better Job Interview
A job interview is about more than your resume and qualifications. The way you talk and walk matters, too. So do the answers you give to job-related questions.
Take control of your job interview. You’ll maximize your chances of getting a great job offer.
Read more from our series on Giving A Good Job Interview: