Interview 101: Making a Good First Impression

image of professionals sitting in a row in a waiting room

There’s no way around it: interviews are stressful. From choosing an appropriate outfit to crafting the perfect response to the toughest questions, there’s a lot of work that goes into making a great first impression. Here are some tips to help make your next interview a little less traumatic. Good luck!

Dress to Impress: Sweatpants, workout wear, running shoes and old band tees might be part of your day-to-day uniform, but don’t let your potential boss know that. In order to be taken seriously, you should dress seriously. If you’re not sure what to wear to an interview, think about what you might wear on the job—then, choose an outfit that is slightly more formal. It’s much better to be overdressed then underdressed when it comes to interviewing. A safe bet is to wear a blouse or button-up and dress pants or a professional skirt. It’s also a good idea to keep accessories and any fragrances to a minimum. 

Be On Time: As an interviewer, there is nothing more disappointing than a candidate who wastes your time or doesn’t take the interview seriously—showing up late shows that you don’t care about landing the job. Give yourself half an hour or twenty minutes more than you think you’ll need to get to the location of the interview; you never know when you’ll get caught in traffic or have trouble finding parking. If you want to be considered for the position, being on time is absolutely crucial.

Convey Confidence with Body Language: Shake hands with your interviewer as you introduce yourself. Make eye contact and sit up straight when you’re answering questions. Avoid distractions, poor posture and nervous fidgeting—these things will only divert your interviewer’s attention away from your employability. 

Do Your Research: Never show up to an interview without having done at least a little research about the company you’re applying to. Have they recently celebrated an anniversary? Have they been involved in a merger? Have they released any new products in the past few months? Knowing what’s going on at a company will show that you’re interested in being a part of what they do.

Prepare an “Elevator Speech”: An Elevator Speech is essentially a 30-second pitch. The product? Yourself. Include information that is relevant to the position you’re applying for. Discuss your interests, your past experience, your skills—anything that you think might “sell” your interviewer on hiring you. Your Elevator Speech is for general questions like “Tell us about yourself,” or “Why should we hire you?” or “Why do you want to work here?”

Don’t Embellish: It’s tempting to exaggerate when in an interview setting. Unfortunately, it’s also dangerous. Why? Say you tell your interviewer that you’re fluent in French when you can really only understand certain spoken French—if you get hired and a situation arises when they need you to translate, you might get caught in a lie. Bottom line: don’t embellish!

Use Names: If you’ve ever been in the situation where you’re talking to someone you’ve just met and they address you by name, you’ll know why it’s impressive. Addressing your interviewer by name will show them that you’ve been listening to them and you’re interested in what they have to say.

Ask Questions: Usually, at the end of an interview your interviewer will ask you if you have any questions for them. You should always take advantage of this opportunity! Prepare a list of questions beforehand and bring it to your interview. Here are a few good examples: “What have people who have held this position in the past done right/wrong?”, “How did you get to the position you’re in today?”, “What are the opportunities for growth at [company name]?”

Be Grateful: After your interview is done, be sure to thank your interviewer for taking time out of their busy schedule to meet with you. They’ll like hearing that you’ve enjoyed your time spent with them.

Follow Up: After your interview, send a short follow-up email or note thanking your interviewer once again for meeting with you and reiterating why you’d love to work for them.

Want more interview tips? Talk to the staffing agency experts at ABL Employment. We specialize in finding temporary jobs in Hamilton and the surrounding areas—we even have jobs in Vancouver!

If you’re interested in general labour jobs, like packaging, assembly and warehouse jobs, contact ABL Employment today!

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