There is an old saying "You only get one chance to make a good first impression" and that saying really applies to job interviews. So you need to treat the first 30 seconds of your job interview as the most critical time during your meeting when those first impressions are being made.
If that feels like a lot of pressure - not to worry. With some solid preparation, you can feel confident walking in the door. Once you've done all the hard work and landed an interview, there are a few key rules that will give you an upper hand on making a great impression on your future boss.
Arrive Early. There is nothing worse than sitting in traffic, or trying to find a building and looking at your watch hoping you get there on time. Do some simple homework in advance. Make sure you know how to get there. With GPS, Mapquest, Google Maps and all the other direction tools, there is no excuse for getting lost.
If your interview is at 10:00 am, you want to arrive no later than 9:30 am. Assume there will be traffic or the train will be late. Give yourself enough time to get there 30 minutes early. You want some time to just sit and compose yourself before walking in. You don't want to be rushing through the elevator doors at the last minute looking frazzled.
Dress Professionally. Some jobs may require you to wear suits every day. There might be no casual Fridays or dress down days. While that may seem extreme, dressing for an interview still carries the same rules. It does not matter if you are interviewing in a hospital, school, or office. It does not matter if you're interviewing for the CEO position or the receptionist - dress professionally.
Show your potential employer that this job matters to you and put effort into how you present yourself. No heavy perfumes or colognes; makeup is at a minimum; jewlery is discreet and for women only. Once you're there, you will get a sense of what the dress code is and you may be able to dress down after you've landed the position. Remember it's that first impression you're trying to make and it should shout - competent, poised, confident and professional.
Make Eye Contact; Make Small Talk. Every position requires some sort of human interaction. So for those first seconds before you move into the formal part of the interview - smile, make eye contact, use a firm handshake, say hello and talk to your interviewer like you would if you were meeting them for the first time at your home.
People Like People Like Themselves. Try to find connections with your interviewer. Look around the office. Is there a photo, sports memorabilia, awards, diplomas? Those are great clues as to who this person is on the outside. Try to find a link to break the ice.
Be Yourself. It may sound cliché, making a good impression does not mean you need to act like someone else. You landed the interview, so they saw something in you from your resume. Go for it!
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