As the old saying goes, you only have one chance to make a great first impression. While the things you say in the interview can help determine whether you get the job, did you know that what happens from the moment you arrive can also tip the scales?
Here are a few tips to set the stage for success before the interview officially begins.
While you don’t want to be so early that you’re just hanging around, you should leave yourself some breathing room. Instead of rushing in with moments to spare, plan to arrive about 10 minutes ahead of your interview. This gives you enough time to fix your hair, use the restroom, or simply do some calm breathing.
If you are unavoidably late, call as soon as possible. Life happens, but your interviewer will appreciate that you’re not just taking advantage of her time.
If the workplace is casual, you don’t want to wear a three-piece suit. But it’s a good idea to dress up a notch or two from what you expect to wear every day. Organize your resume and other papers in a portfolio or briefcase, and be sure to bring a pen. Don’t walk in carrying coffee or chewing gum, and stash your phone.
You’re being watched from the moment you enter the building. So be sure to say hello to everyone from the custodian to the receptionist. Your interviewer may ask these people’s opinion of you, but even if not, it’s always correct to be nice. This will also put you in “interview mode” from the outset, rather than trying to scramble when it’s time for the interview.
Rather than standing around awkwardly, project confidence by initiating a greeting. Then look for a personal connection. Comment on something in the office, ask your interviewer how long she’s been in the area, or mention current events (steer clear of politics or religion, though!). Find a way to connect your interviewer’s response to your own life. This bit of human connection will help set both of you at ease.
There are never any guarantees in life, but following these simple tips can set the stage for an excellent interview. With stiff competition for each position, it’s always a great idea to set yourself apart as early as possible.