How to Make a Good Impression at a Job InterviewBy Ernest Hamilton, UniversityHerald Reporter
From the moment you walk through the door at an interview for a prospective job, the employer or panel of representatives will be keen to assess your suitability for the role. Not only that, but they will be trying to figure out what it would be like to work with you and whether you're the best fit for their company.
When thinking about how to make a good impression at a job interview, consider the issue from the interviewer's point of view. If you were the person meeting each candidate, what would you be hoping to see?
Physical Appearance Speaks Volumes
It may seem superficial, but the way a person presents themselves communicates several key things to a potential employer. A candidate who dresses smartly with clean, ironed, appropriate attire communicates confidence and professionalism as well as respect for the company's image.
As you plan for your upcoming interview, it can be helpful to browse the company's website and reach out to a current employee if possible. Viewing photos of company events and staff will give you a good idea of how to dress.
Depending on the position that you are being interviewed for, there might be some specific considerations as far as how you present yourself.
For example, someone who will have a very public role in a media and communications company might consider investing in a set of porcelain veneers and grooming their eyebrows before the interview. Similarly, candidates for a preschool-teaching position might want to skip the stilettos and ensure that their outfit is suitably modest.
Have You Done Your Homework?
The next set of interview tips relates to your knowledge and familiarity with the job. There is nothing more off-putting to employers than a candidate who is unprepared.
Know the Company
When a prospective employer selects you as a candidate, they are keen to know how you would fit into their company-an organization founded on someone's dream, with unique values, goals, and company culture.
If you'd like to know how to make a good impression at a job interview, find out all you can about the company before you go: when it was founded, why it was founded, and what the company has achieved over time. As you immerse yourself in the company's ideals, your answers about how you see yourself in the job will flow much more easily. The interviewers will also better be able to picture you working there as part of the company's current team.
Be Familiar with Your Story
It might seem extremely basic, but being able to share your story (as relevant) is an essential part of making a good impression. Your qualifications, life experience, and pertinent work stories all contribute to the package you offer.
In the days and hours leading up to your interview, be sure to read through the resume you sent in your application, along with your cover letter and the job description provided by the company. The interviewers may be interested in hearing more about an experience from your life that you've long forgotten but that they think could offer further insight.
Tailor your stories and examples to the specific skills and job that you're interviewing for and use only those examples that are relevant to the questions.
What Would You Be Like to Work With?
Showing your interviewers that your skills and experience match what they need is the first hurdle you must pass to be considered for the job. However, beyond this basic minimum, the panel will be looking for someone who they'll enjoy working with day in and day out.
Exhibit Emotional Intelligence
As a 2011 survey revealed, 71% of hiring managers said that they valued emotional intelligence (or emotional quotient, EQ) over intellectual brainpower (IQ)-and this spills over into hiring decisions as well. You can improve your emotional intelligence through practice, so start working on this as soon as you can!
Be a Team Player
If you really want to know how to make a good impression at a job interview, be kind and polite from the moment you arrive, show respect for the current employees and management of the company, and use your previous examples to show you'll be a team player who can adapt, accept feedback, solve problems, and stay cool under pressure.
Demonstrate the Ability to Grow
No one is perfect, but an employee who shows they can continue to grow is a much better investment than a know-it-all who's already perfect. Use work stories to highlight that while you might have had a weakness in the past, you've worked on this weakness and made it a strength.
Stay Clear of These Interview Turn-Offs
Through behavioral interview questions (how did you deal with... how would you respond...), interviewers hope to see signs of emotional intelligence and an ability to be flexible and adapt in the workplace. There are, however, several immediate red flags that a candidate is emotionally immature and would make a high-maintenance employee:
Blaming other people for past problems at work
Complaining about anything, including a long wait for the interview
Sending multiple emails with questions before the day
Laying out a plan to "fix" the company
Implying that you are "too good" for the job
Making disrespectful or sitcom-style jokes
Losing your cool during the interview itself (crying, yelling, laughing uncontrollably, etc.)
Of course, it's okay to be a little bit nervous. Employers expect that and take it into account. However, it's important to remember that you're an adult and that employers will expect a high degree of emotional maturity from the successful candidate both during the interview and when working in the job.
Would You Hire You?
As you prepare to put yourself out there and take the world by storm, you ultimately need to answer the question: As the employer, would you hire you?
All of the previous interview tips and insights about how to make a good impression at a job interview are really summed up in this one idea. If you wouldn't hire yourself, why should anyone else?
Think about it. If you were the interviewer, would you be impressed by your presentation, body language, and smile? Would you feel confident that you really understood the job and offered the appropriate skills and experience? Would you be keen to have you as part of the team, to share the ups and downs of each day?
If you would, congratulations! You're well on your way to a satisfying career. If not, you've just stumbled on the thing that's holding you back and can now take the steps necessary to succeed. Great people make great companies, and great companies can change the world!