The expression, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” is never truer than during a job interview. The problem is, you’re probably nervous, which can make it even harder to make a good first impression! Here are 6 things you can do to quell your nerves and put your best foot forward:
Be On Time
This may seem obvious, but being punctual is so important that it deserves to be mentioned. In fact, don’t be “on time,” be 10 minutes early. Take the route a day ahead of time, whether you drive, take a bus or walk, so you have a good idea of how long it should take you to arrive. If something unavoidable happens and you find you’re running late, stop and call the company immediately to let them know. You need to show your interviewer that you respect his or her time.
Be Professional in the Waiting Room
After you’ve arrived (10 minutes early!) and checked in with the receptionist, go to the rest room for a last appearance check, removed your coat, and sit attentively in the waiting area. Don’t get out your smartphone; don’t read a magazine. Sit and try to relax and focus on what’s ahead.
Look the Part
This isn’t the time to express your individuality through your outfit. Always dress appropriately for a job interview. Underdress, and you may seem like you’re not taking the job seriously. Overdress, and you may be seen as not “getting” the corporate culture of the company. You can let your personal style show in subtle ways, but don’t let your appearance diminish the impact of your personality or intelligence.
Bring Your Paperwork
Bring copies of your resume, any certifications you’ve earned, any letters of reference you might have, or any other information that might help you boost yourself as a good fit for the job. Make sure to bring at least two clean copies of everything, in a folder. If your interviewer asks for a new copy of your resume, you’ll have it right at your fingertips.
Prove Your Knowledge:
Before the interview, you’ve hopefully researched the company—its history and its current news, especially—and discovered everything you can that will help you sell yourself as interested in the job and the company. Use this information in your answers or to ask questions relevant to your position.
Use a Post-Game Strategy
When the interview is over, reiterate your interest in the position and thank the group for their time. Then write and snail-mail a thank-you note to each person on the interview panel, within 48 hours of the interview. You may send your thank-you notes by e-mail if you think your note will take a long time to reach them, but a handwritten note is most powerful.