Making a great first impression when you walk in for a job interview is critical. Your interviewer is already forming their opinion of you from the moment you walk through the door - and how you present yourself will have a substantial impact on whether or not you're hired. If you want to make a dynamic first impression at your next job interview, these tips will help.
Practice what you want to say
Be prepared for some of the questions that are most likely to be asked in an interview and take the time to practice your answers to them. This will help increase your confidence, which means that you'll portray yourself as a more capable candidate. It will also allow you to prepare the answers you know employers are looking for.
Customize your portfolio
Take a minute to look through your portfolio before you go in for an interview. Bring the projects that are the most relevant to the position or company you're applying for to the front. Whether you're an engineer with a portfolio full of blueprints or a construction worker with specialized skills, make sure you're showing off the skills your future employer wants to see the most.
Dress to impress
Show up in clothing that is appropriate and professional. Common advice is to show up in an outfit one step more formal than what you'll be wearing every day, but if you don't have more formal attire, your daily job attire will suffice. Some tips to keep in mind:
• Try not to choose a new outfit that you've worn for the first time for your interview. You need to know how your clothing will look after a car ride and sitting waiting.
• Sit down in your outfit and check it again. Slump, which you'll likely do at some point during the interview whether you mean to or not. Check to make sure that you're not showing too much cleavage or having trouble with button gaps.
• Choose practical shoes. You never know when you'll walk straight out of the interview room for a tour of the office or, worse, a tour of a job site. The last thing you want is to hold up a tour because your shoes don't fit right or they're pinching your toes!
Show up at the right time
It's not just about showing up on time for your interview. It's also about not showing up too early: interviewers would prefer that you show up within five to ten minutes of your interview time instead of coming through the door when they're in the middle of taking care of another task.
Go in with a positive attitude
Be positive about the job, yourself, and your previous place of employment. Interviewers want to see candidates who know their strengths, know that they're a good fit for the job, and are eager to dive in. It's okay if your nerves show--everyone gets a little nervous before an interview--but if you go in with a positive attitude, it will help smooth over a lot of awkward moments.
Check yourself before you go in
Take the time to visit the restroom and wash and dry your hands. Make sure you have a firm, assured handshake. If you must wear perfume or cologne, keep it minimal: you have no idea what allergies or personal preferences you might face during your interview. Dispose of your trash, whether it's the paper cup from coffee or a last-minute snack, before you go in. These last-minute details might not matter in the big scheme of things, but they can make a big difference in your first impression!
Your interview starts in the lobby
No, the receptionist isn't the hiring manager, but that doesn't mean that you don't want to give them a great impression. In fact, some hiring managers will ask the receptionist how candidates behaved! Be polite, keep your phone in your pocket and turned to silent where it belongs, and be attentive to what's going on around you. These simple steps can have a big impact on the image you present to your interviewer.
When you walk through the door for a job interview, you want to present yourself in the best light possible. These simple steps can make a big difference in the way the interviewer sees you - and that makes it much more likely that you'll get the job you're dreaming of.
Michael DeSafey is a leading executive recruiter for professionals in the construction, engineering and environmental industries. He is currently the President of Webuild Staffing. To learn more about Michael or to follow his blog please visit Michael DeSafey