So are you ready for the interview to start…..? Erm… no, because it’s already under way! This blog covers the first-impression basics that many candidates underestimate. A recent study published by Harvard Business Review has shown that candidates who gave good first impressions received higher ratings for their answers to initial, official interview questions; the reverse prompted lower ratings.
Don’t underestimate the power of first impressions. You don’t want to be fighting an uphill battle before you’re even in the interview room! At Recart, we have prepared more than 1,000 candidates for interviews over the past 12 months. Here are our five first-impression pointers:
1. Arrival Time
Turning up late is obviously a no-no, but so is too early. You don’t want to be hanging around in reception for 30 awkward minutes, shaking like a leaf. Use the extra time to compose yourself, read your notes a final time if necessary, and check your appearance. Head through the doors with around 10 minutes to spare.
Meet and greet with a smile on your face, with eye contact and a confident posture. Be professional; remember that what you say and how you look – whether it’s Judith behind the desk or Ben on the phones – is frequently mentioned to the interviewers in passing; often via a conversation immediately after your interview. Don’t let a good interview performance be ruined by a receptionist commenting on your rude greeting when you came through the door.
3. The Handshake
More than half of managers in this Monster study rated ‘strength of handshake’ as a significant factor in interview outcomes… Don’t break their hands!
4. “How was the Journey?”
Even if you had the journey from hell…the journey was fine. If this is a commute you would be making every day, if successful, an employer isn’t going to be enthused by your potential reliability – if you talk about the traffic and roadworks being a nightmare or your 12-year-old Polo almost breaking down!
5. The Office Tour
If you are given a quick tour around the premises or shown through the office to the interview room, don’t be fooled by an employee being ‘pally’. Be professional; remember this is still part of the interview. P.s. This also applies after the interview; remember Chandler’s famous job interview on Friends? The interview isn’t over until you’re out the door!