Interviews can be extremely nerve wracking for a lot of people. Entering a room and sitting in front of people you don’t know while selling yourself can be very daunting. Many people work themselves up into a fluster and end up giving the wrong first impression.
First impressions can have a lasting impact on peoples’ feelings about you as an employee, so the first 30 seconds of an interview are arguably the most important. As we are a boutique recruitment agency based in the heart of London, who deal with a huge variety of different clients, we have put together a list of top tips to ensure you give a great first impression.
- Dress appropriately
Making sure you dress appropriately for an interview is extremely important. Hiring Managers will make an opinion on you instantly from your appearance and body language. People often don’t know what is appropriate to wear to an interview. Generally if you are interviewing for a corporate company, is it recommended to wear a smart dress (knee length), loafers or heels and a smart jacket, your hair should be clean and away from your face, dress conservatively. This is not an opportunity to show off your fashion sense! In the more creative firms, smart suit trousers and a colourful blouse would be acceptable. A tip to knowing what to wear, is by checking the companies website and list of employees to find out more about the type of business they run, to give you an idea of what to wear. Not every employer is the same, so by researching the culture will give you a step ahead of others who you may be interviewing against.
How you appear to your interviewer is how their clients will view you too, so making sure you are dressed appropriately and professionally is the first step towards making your first impression count.
- Meeting the employer
Body language is key when meeting the Hiring Manager for the first time. If you have excellent body language, it shows that you are confident in yourself and your abilities. This will provide the employer with an excellent first impression of you. There are four different areas you need to concentrate on, a firm handshake, great eye contact, sitting up straight and of course, giving a gleaming smile!
First, the handshake. When walking into an interview ensure you meet your interviewers with an air of positivity and firmly shake their hand. This will give the hiring manager the impression that you’re genuinely pleased to have the opportunity of being interviewed by them.
Secondly, eye contact. It is important that you look the employer straight in the eye, it gives off the impression that you are interested and appreciative of the employer’s time. Poor eye contact is considered to be disrespectful and will not go down well with the employer. If there is more than one person interviewing you, make sure that you maintain eye contact with all of them.
Thirdly, sitting up straight is extremely important. When the interviewer offers you a seat at the start of a job interview, sit upright but try not to look stiff. This indicates to the employer that you are comfortable and feeling confident. Slouching down in your chair gives off the impression that you are nervous and have low self-esteem.
Lastly, a smile can go so far, a friendly smile will tell the interviewer that you are confident and easy going, this should help relax the mood of the interview. If you combine the following points, you can be confident that the employer will have a great first impression of you.
- Make sure you are on time
Time management is vital for employers. There is nothing worse than turning up late to an interview, flustered, with a poor excuse of ‘sorry the train was late’. This shows the employer that you have a lack of organisation and time management and never goes down particularly well. Our tip to you, is make sure you leave plenty of time to get to your interview, make sure you search up on city mapper or Google maps the exact time it will take from your house to the interview and from that leave an extra 15-20 minutes for transport delays. The night before your interview set a number of alarms on your phone to make sure you are not late!
- Research the Company and its values
Maintain your first impression by researching the company and being prepared for the interview. It is almost certain the employer will ask you ‘what do you know about our company’. This is your time to shine and let the employer know that you have spent time and effort researching the nitty gritty parts of the company e.g. recent press news, awards they have won, projects they have been working on, their competitors etc. By doing this, it shows the employer that you want this job and that you are dedicated. This will give the employer an excellent first impression.
- Prepare questions
Every job interview will be different and it is extremely hard to prepare for every single interview question but there are commonly known interview questions that go across the board. if you make sure you have prepared confident answers for these then you will be pretty well set up. Please see below for the commonly asked questions. Ultimately the employer is trying to test you so there will be a few questions that will catch you off guard! This is normal. Don’t panic.
It is equally important to have questions ready to ask the employer e.g. What would a day to day routine look like? What’s the company culture like?
The combination of these top tips should mean that you feel less anxious and more prepared for an interview, resulting in an excellent first impression. As they say, the first 30 seconds could be the decider as to whether the job is yours or your competitor, so these tips are extremely important.
Commonly asked interview questions
- Tell me about yourself?
- What do you know about the organisation?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- What can you bring to the company?
- What are your weaknesses?
- What are your strengths?
- Why is there a gap in your work history?
- What challenges are you looking for in a position?
- What would an excellent performance look like in this role?
- Tell me an achievement you are proud of
- Why should we hire you?
- What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
- What would you do in the first month in the job?
- What kind of environment do you like best?
- What’s your dream job?
- What motivates you?
- If you were an animal what would you be?
- Describe your character in under 30 words
- What are your salary expectations?
- Do you have any questions for us?