Many employers will make a decision about you in the first 90 seconds of meeting you1, so it is important to make a good first impression if you want to have a successful interview. Beyond the first impression, interviews also give you and the employer the opportunity to learn more about each other. At Brightwood College, we want to help our students succeed and stand out from other job candidates.
How to Make a Good First Impression
Here are a few tips from our Career Development experts on nailing that first impression at your next job interview.
- Start with a firm, brief handshake, eye contact and a smile.
- Wait to be seated and sit up straight in your chair – be aware of your posture, as it conveys your professionalism and confidence.
- Place your purse or briefcase at your feet with your portfolio in your lap or on the table in front of you.
- Maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
- Be yourself! Speak with confidence and enthusiasm.
- If you are introduced to someone else at or during the meeting, stand up to greet them and shake their hand.
- Listen to questions carefully and be sure that your responses answer the questions asked.
- Use stories and examples from previous work experience to demonstrate how well you match the profile of an ideal candidate.
- Take your time answering questions. It’s okay to pause, gather your thoughts and consider your answer before responding.
- Address the interviewer by name in the interview.
- Play with items on the desk.
- Swing your legs.
- Crack your knuckles.
- Interrupt the interviewer.
- Stand up if you are not introduced when someone enters the office.
- Pretend you know the answer to a question.
- Overdo the use of the interviewer’s name.
- Chew gum or mints.
- Listen to telephone conversations or read documents on the interviewer’s desk.
- Criticize others, including past employers or associates.
- Give one- or two-word answers.
- Use profanity, even if the interviewer does.
Questions to Ask in an Interview
Keep in mind, too, that a job interview is not just about an employer evaluating whether you’re a good fit for them. It is also about you evaluating whether the employer and position would be a good fit for you.
Often at the end of an interview, you will have an opportunity to ask the interviewer questions. You should take advantage of this opportunity. Have a few relevant questions prepared so that you’re ready when this happens.
Thoughtful questions can show that you’ve done your research and can indicate a thoughtful and interested candidate. However, it is important that you ask the right kind of questions. Use the lists below to know which questions to ask in an interview (and which questions you should avoid).
Do ask the interviewer:
- What kind of training would I be given for this position?
- Can you tell me more about the structure of your training program?
- What challenges are currently facing your organization/industry?
- What qualities are you seeking in an ideal candidate for this job?
- Tell me about the type of projects that others in this position have participated in.
- Tell me about the projects I would be responsible for if given the opportunity to work with you?
- What attracted you to this company?
- What are the things you like most about working here?
- What do you think is the most challenging aspect of working here?
- What are the metrics the company/group uses to measure performance?
- How do you define success?
- What direction do you anticipate the company/business taking over the next few years?
- How do you measure an individual’s success in your organization?
- What is the next step in the hiring process?
Don’t ask the interviewer:
- What does your company do?
- What can your company do for me?
- What is the salary?
- What types of benefits do you offer?
- How much time do I get for vacation?
- How much is the signing bonus?
- Can I work from home?
- Is the schedule flexible?
- How did I do?
- Will I get the job?
- Do you run background checks or drug tests?
Download our infographic for more tips on how to ace the job interview at every stage.
You have spent a lot of time and effort in preparing for a new career, so remember to hold your head high, be respectful and present your very best!
Need more help in your search for a new career? Find out how Brightwood College can help and be sure check out our 6 Essential Tips to Improve Your Job Search.
In addition to our degree and diploma programs, Brightwood College also offers a Career Compass Certified Professional program to help prepare and equip our students to take their new careers to the next level.
Brightwood College does not guarantee employment or advancement.