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March 21, 2016
8 Ways to Make a Great First Impression at the Interview

Land more interviews and find a job faster

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[Video] Secret on how to land more interviews

Diligent job seekers spend hours creating resumes & cover letters, searching through job postings, reviewing classifieds and networking -- all in order to get an interview. Yet most of them don't know what to do when they get one! When the job market was booming, it took an average of 3 interviews to get 1 job offer. Now it takes 17. The key is have a great interview, where the interviewer actually pictures you doing the job.

If you want to be that person, there's a little known secret you can put together for your next interview that literally forces the interviewer to picture you filling the position, and to visualize actually hiring you -- asap. Using this method guarantees you'll stand out from the crowd and shoot straight to the top of the "must hire" list. To learn more about this 'Secret Career Document' and land any job you desire, check out this job interview video.


Article: Make a Great Impression at the Interview

Katie Douthwaite Wolf, Creative Services Writer/Editor

When you're prepping for an interview, your focus is probably on the tough questions you'll face, the thorough responses you'll give, and the professional-yet-slightly-witty anecdotes you'll tell. After all, that's what the bulk of the interview is about - and what will (hopefully) get you a fast pass to an offer letter.

But before you even get the chance to deliver those impeccably thought-out answers, you'll already have all eyes on you, evaluating your potential to fit the job and the company. From the moment you walk in the door, the pressure's on: You have to make a stellar first impression.

Before you head into your next interview, check out these eight tips to make sure you're presenting yourself in the right light and setting yourself up for the most successful interview possible.

1. Show Up on Time

You've heard it a million times: "If you're early, you're on time; if you're on time, you're late." Being punctual should be a given - especially when your dream job is on the line. But no matter how many times you've heard it, it's worth mentioning again: Show up on time.

Running late? Call as soon as possible to let your interviewers know. They'll appreciate it much more than if you offer up a lame excuse after they've already been waiting for 30 minutes.

2. Dress the Part

Your appearance probably won't be the basis of the interviewer's final decision - but it can certainly play a part in how you're first perceived. When you show up in a neatly pressed suit and scuff-less shoes with a portfolio in tow, you'll come across as professional and well put-together.

If, on the other hand, you're dressed down a few notches more casual than everyone else in the office, juggling your briefcase, purse, umbrella, and a stack of resumes, you're probably not going to exude the same sense of professionalism.

3. Bring Only the Essentials

A jolt of caffeine may be necessary for you to get pumped up for your impending meeting, but don't bring your paper cup inside the office to finish off the last few sips. Sure, it doesn't seem like a huge deal (who doesn't drink coffee in the workplace?) - but you probably don't want your first interaction with your potential employer (or even the receptionist) to be anything along the lines of, "Hey, you got a trash can back there?"

The same goes for other non-essentials, like the granola bar you're polishing off or the gum you forgot to spit out. They may not be the kiss of death - but they're not going to put you in the most favorable light.

4. Be Nice to the Receptionist

The person at the front desk may not be the hiring manager - but that doesn't mean his or her impression of you doesn't matter. In fact, some companies specifically ask their front desk attendants to report back on the demeanor of interviewees who come through the door. And that likely plays a role in the ultimate hiring decision - so it's important to treat that person as well as you'll treat your interviewer.

5. Put Your Phone Away

It's a natural tendency to pull out your smartphone any time you have to wait: in line at the grocery store, during commercials, while you wait for the vending machine to dispense your Diet Coke - you get the picture.
But if you're waiting in the lobby, don't automatically default to your phone. Instead, take that time to look over your resume (or All-in-One Prep Guide) and think through what you want to convey during your interview. Then, when your interviewer makes his or her appearance, you won't be caught off guard, shutting down Angry Birds and stuffing your phone back into your briefcase.

6. Have Everything Neat, Organized, and Accessible

You can be certain that, within the first few minutes of your meeting, your interviewer will ask for a copy of your updated resume. But if you have to dig through your bag past candy wrappers, phone chargers, and old receipts, you're going to look a little unorganized.

To make the best first impression, everything you need should be neatly organized and readily accessible: You should be able to pull out your resume, references, and even a pen (one that's not completely mangled) on command. The less you have to rifle through your bag, the better.

7. Make the First Move

When you're a guest at your potential employer's office, you probably expect that they'll make the first move when it comes to introductions. And while that may end up being true, don't be afraid to extend your hand first for that introductory handshake. With just that small gesture, you're conveying that you're excited to be there, ready to jump into your interview, confident, and self-assured.

8. Find a Connection

After the initial introductions have been made, solidify your stellar first impression by making a connection with the interviewer. It doesn't have to be something big - just a commonality that will get your foot in the door and start your conversation out on a this-just-might-work kind of vibe.

Maybe the degree hanging on his office wall sparks that connection ("Oh, you went to the University of Florida? I'm a Gator, too!"), or the award perched on her bookshelf ("I ran the Boston marathon last year, too. How'd you do?").

Don't see anything conversation-worthy? Dig into some small talk a little deeper: How long has the interviewer lived in the area? Where did he or she move from? Draw out details that will get you that "in" ("Oh, you moved from Atlanta? I lived there a few years back - isn't traffic on 285 the worst?") It doesn't have to be a major connection - but finding that one thing to chat about before getting down to business will put both of you at ease.

These tips alone may not win you the job - but they can certainly get you a little closer. When you start your interview out on the right foot, you'll be able to face the tough questions with confidence. And that could be your key to your new job.


About The Author

After beginning a career in management, Katie realized she wasn't doing what she loved and determined it was time for a major career transition. Now, as a staff writer and editor for The Muse and a content marketing writer for a healthcare IT company, she gets to do what she loves every day - write and edit content ranging from demand generation campaigns to career advice. Her career and management content has been published on Forbes, Mashable, Business Insider, Inc., and Newsweek. Find her on Twitter @kgwolfie.