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The Art of Interviewing: The First Impression

05.28.09

Career

After researching the company, reviewing the job description, rehearsing your interview, and choosing your outfit, the day has come.  It’s Showtime!  Here are some pointers to help you make a great impression with your audience.

  • Be Early! Allow yourself enough travel time to make sure you arrive at least 15 minutes early. One trick is to do a drive-by prior to your interview. Choose a time and day that will mimic the road conditions you may experience. Drive to the company and calculate how much travel time it takes so you can estimate when you should leave your home. This helps to cut down on anxiety before the interview.
  • Bring with you the job description, multiple copies of your resume, company research and any rehearsal notes. You will have time to review them before the interview. This is also an opportunity to look around and get a feel for the culture of the company.
  • Upon arrival, be nice to your first point of contact! Whether it is the receptionist, security desk, executive assistant, or other front line person, be cordial and engaging. Unfortunately many people don’t make the effort and are in their own little world prior to the interview. Smile, and make small talk.

o   If you have time, ask them how long they have worked there and why they enjoy the company.  Be interested in their experience.  Many times a hiring manager relies on them for additional feedback and will come out after an interview and ask which candidate they feel best fits into the company culture.  Also, be aware that any signs of rudeness or lateness will be passed along by them to the Interviewer.

  • When you meet the interviewer, smile and extend your hand for a firm handshake (Please don’t be Hercules.) Consider yourself a guest in their home and thank them for the opportunity to meet and discuss your skills and experience.

o   Remember you are first interviewing to be a part of the company and secondly for the position.  Hiring managers are thinking strategically and if you fit well with the company there may be multiple roles you can advance to later on.  Don’t limit yourself by focusing just on the current open position.

These tips will get your interview off to a great start and relieve anxiety so you can focus on showcasing your value.

Many thanks for reading and best wishes on your journey.

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One response to “The Art of Interviewing: The First Impression”

  1. Jan Melnik says:

    Very useful info for job seekers! To what you’ve provided, I’d add that when going into an interview, job seekers are well-served to consider the collaborative nature of the process: They should be looking to find a fit just as the employer is.

    And two things I recommend to all my clients (and have posted recently on Twitter and Facebook): 1) remember the power of an effective thank-you… it should not simply be a short form letter that thanks the interviewer for the courtesies shown… (although you, of course, do convey appreciation), it should be one more ‘soft-sell’ marketing tool that reiterates highlights, recaps areas of strong fit, restates your ability to solve problems, provide direction, deliver leadership, etc., and demonstrates your enthusiasm. … 2) you can always take a mulligan and recover any ground you may have been weak on in the interview… “When you asked for an example of how I managed a difficult situation successfully, I neglected to tell you about the time when…” (then succinctly state the scenario and your role, actions AND results). Use your cover letter to express all those things you thought of in the parking lot that you wished you’d said! This is the perfect opportunity. E-mail is fine for follow-up thanks to most organizations — but format and proofread just as carefully as if you were printing and mailing it.

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