How To Make a Good First Impression at a Job Interview

With more and more employees quitting their jobs, the Great Resignation continues to thrive in today’s workplace, meaning there are more open positions than ever before.

Interviewing for a job can be nerve-wracking for anyone, no matter their experience, background, skills, and charisma. But let’s face it: job interviews aren’t rocket science.

They don’t have to be as difficult as our minds often predict, as long as we know how to make a good first impression at a job interview. Let’s explore some essential ways to impress your potential employer and get that job!

Arrive 15 Minutes Early

If you arrive for the interview on time, you’re already late. Employers want to see that you’re serious about the position, and that includes being punctual.

This includes in-person interviews and “joining the meeting” during virtual interviews. If you’re running late, be sure to call/email them as soon as you can; they’ll appreciate your honesty and advanced notice.

Create a “Cheat Sheet”

This is especially helpful during virtual interviews. When people are nervous, it’s natural for them to fumble their words or forget everything they prepared. Try and create a sheet of notes that include your pre-written answers to questions like:

  • Tell us about yourself
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • How do you handle difficult situations?
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?

Although these are basic questions, it can be easy to forget the answers when asked on the spot, so writing out the answers ahead of time can help you be confident in the interview—just be sure to answer naturally and not like you’re reading off your notes!

If you have a virtual interview, type it out so you can answer while still looking at the screen. If you have an in-person interview, you might keep your answers in a portfolio to reference if you get stuck.

Establish a Genuine Connection

Remember that the person interviewing you is a person, too. Most interviews typically involve small talk either before, during, or after the interview, so just have a conversation with them and try and connect on a human-to-human level instead of employer-to-candidate.

When you find common interests or something you both can talk about besides the job, you help the employer remember you as someone they can genuinely get along with.

Ask Questions

No matter how straightforward a job interview is, always try to ask at least three questions (you’ll want to prepare these ahead of time).

When you ask questions, you get more face time with the interviewer and show them your interest and motivation toward the position. You can ask about employee culture, specific questions for the employer, or questions that aren’t directly related to the role.

For example, we know how COVID-19 impacted the workplace, but we don’t know how it affected individual businesses and what they did to get back on track. You might ask how the company handled COVID-19 in 2020 and how they’ve adapted to changes since then.

Now that you understand how to make a good first impression at a job interview, you’re ready to be memorable in your next interview and get your dream job!

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