Most companies probably schedule your interviews to be 30 minutes or an hour long, so you have plenty of time to sell your strengths and get the job, right? Nope. It turns out you have precisely 385 seconds – less than seven minutes – before the interviewer makes up their mind. And a good part of the interviewer's opinion is based on their first impression of you, not how well your skills and education match the requirements for the position. Make the strongest first impression you can with these tips:
Be there on time.
Show up late and it's hard to overcome the impression that you just weren't interested or didn't care enough to make the effort to get to your interview on time.
Be happy to be there.
Smile and make eye contact with the interviewer. You need to look like you want to be there, not as if you want to hide. Another advantage of smiling? Smiling decreases stress levels. And the less stressed out you feel, the easier answering interview questions will be.
Offer a strong handshake.
Strong handshakes demonstrate self-assuredness and an eagerness to impress the interviewer. A candidate with a strong handshake is more likely to be remembered than a candidate with a weak, unconfident one.
Control your body language.
Your overall body language should demonstrate confidence, besides your handshake. Make sure your posture is upright – stand up straight when you walk, and sit up straight, too. Control nervous behaviors like fidgeting or twirling hair. Mirroring the interviewer's body language (they cross their legs, you cross your legs) can help give the impression you share the same feelings, as well as the same position.
How you speak is almost as important as what you say. Make sure you sound calm, relaxed, and not overly excited. You should anticipate typical interview questions and have the outline of an answer prepared, though you don't want to sound overly rehearsed.
Help your interviewer see how you'll fit in by looking like you'll fit in. Do some research to learn the dress code at the firm and plan your interview wardrobe accordingly. A suit and tie may be too much, but it’s always better to be too formal than too informal. And while casual may be OK, your clothes need to be clean. There's no environment where stains on your clothes leave a good impression.