How to Make a Good First Impression on a Job Interview

job interview good impression

The Basics

Most everyone knows the basics, but it never hurts to refresh one’s memory, especially when your goal is to make a good first impression on a job interview.

Your actions will create a strong impression whether your interview is face-to-face, virtual (e.g., Zoom, Google Meet), or over the telephone. Employers take note of how you show up. That’s why it is important to:

Arrive early

  • 10 minutes for a face-to-face interview and 5 minutes for a virtual interview.

Materials

  • At a minimum have 5 copies of your resume. Carry the resumes, a notepad, and a pen in a professional binder. You may never jot down a note, but you will create the impression that you’re prepared.
  • Make sure the hiring manager received a copy of your digital resume if you’re participating in a virtual interview. Have a resume ready to email in case there are others present who need copies.

Dress appropriately

  • For a face-to-face interview, men can never go wrong with suit pants and a jacket with a button-down shirt and tie. For women a matching jacket and suit pants/skirt or a tailored dress will do well. It’s always best to dress a notch above an office’s business casual day-to-day attire. Also, pay attention to the details. You’ll want to be spot- and wrinkle-free.
  • For a virtual interview, it’s important to look professional from the waist up. Men can wear a collared shirt and women will shine in a nice blouse. Grooming should be as exact as if you were meeting someone in person.

Attitude

    • Be nice to everyone you interact with in all interview situations. You never know who will have the last word. Smiling releases tension but smile because you are happy and excited about the opportunity. Make eye contact with those who address you. If shaking hands is a requirement, make sure your hand is dry and that your handshake is firm but not aggressive. Sit up straight with your shoulders back.
    • If the interview is virtual, look directly into the camera. Speak to the lens. This is the best way to make the interviewer feel that you are looking at and speaking directly to them. Use a strong (not loud) voice.

Study the organization

  • It’s important to know about the organization, the role, and the hiring manager. Learn as much as possible before the interview. Additionally, your knowledge will help you to frame answers that illustrate how your experience and skills will add value to the organization. Visualize yourself in the role. Feel good about the value you’ll deliver.

Gratitude

  • Before the interview really gets underway, be sure to thank the hiring manager/team for the opportunity to interview.

Introducing Yourself

At an early point in the interview, you will likely be asked, “Can you tell us a little about yourself?”

Your response is an opportunity to relate what you are doing presently, what you did in the past, what you’d like to do in the future, and what type of person you are. You’ll want to practice a response before the interview. It’s recommended that you keep the answer between one to two minutes. Avoid a sales pitch. You’ll have time for that after you’ve learned more about the job. The interview will take on its own course.

For your introduction, consider the following:

Present – briefly cover what you’re doing and relate it to the position you are interviewing for.

    • Example: “Currently, I work as a Medical Science Liaison for [company name] which focuses on developing therapeutics for X. In partnership with physicians and other medical professionals, I develop X programs to improve health outcomes. I employ X skills as well as therapeutic area expertise to establish the programs. These are competencies also necessary for performing at a high standard within this organization.”

Past – briefly review your past, relevant careers and highlight a key achievement.

    • Example: “After gaining qualifications in X, X, and X, I started my medical career working for [company name]. I then moved on to work in a more senior role for [company name] where I worked on X and X. In this latter job, I utilized X skills. A key achievement at [name of company] was when I helped the organization X.”

Future – briefly share what you are interested in and where you see yourself going. If you are transitioning into a new role, state your most relevant experience (courses, projects,…).

    • Example: “I recently completed X training, and I’m eager to put what I’ve learned into practice in a new role.”

Type of Person – briefly share what you like to do outside of work. Include something related to the job you are interviewing for.

    • Example: “Outside of work, I keep active through walking and biking. I like to read non-fiction literature, and I keep up with cardiovascular health news through various medical journals.

According to Psychology Today, it takes seven seconds to make a first impression. The tips above will help you prepare to make that impression great.

Thinking highly of yourself is beneficial. Believe others view you positively! Now, go knock ‘em dead.

You might also enjoy reading “Is Your Resume Ready for Prime Time?”

How to Make a Good First Impression on a Job Interview
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