What’s the Best Way to Make a Good Impression at Any Job Interview?

What’s the Best Way to Make a Good Impression at Any Job Interview?

You know what they all say: “First impressions shape perceptions”. 

I remember the time when my friend managed to get me an interview with one of the key decision-makers at a company I had my eye on. I was dressed to kill and fully prepared to impress, spending an entire day rehearsing exactly how I would be smiling, standing, sitting and speaking with the HR Director. I even arrived for the interview twenty minutes early to put myself at ease. 

Well, as luck would have it, I spent close to two hours waiting at the lounge for the head honcho to turn up. It was nearing lunchtime and I had mentally decided not to go ahead with a company that does not value punctuality. Just as I was about to stand up and leave, I got a direct call on my mobile from the head honcho. She asked me to join her at the company’s canteen on the top floor for a quick chat. What happened next was nothing like the interview I had foreseen or prepared for. A quick greeting and self-introduction at the canteen soon progressed to a casual discussion as we walked to the elevator and I took the opportunity to pitch what I could bring to the table. We then strolled all the way to the office building across the street with me going on and on about my experience that would be helpful for the company’s recently launched division. By the time, we reached the head honcho’s plush office, I was gasping for breath and literally, tired. I was thanked for my time and shown the exit door. I left the corporate building without a gleam of hope of ever hearing back from the hiring manager.

Three days later I was informed that I got selected from among ten other equally capable, qualified candidates. The company was looking for a tough and qualified personality who would be willing to face uncertainties and handle any situation that may come up, with a certain degree of composure. I fit the bill only because I was prepared enough for a tough interview yet flexible enough to extemporize any last-minute change of plans.

The Psychology of First Impressions

The science of first impressions is too complicated to discuss here. But the psychology behind it is easy. The first impression is, in fact, a snap judgment made in less than one-tenth of a second that decides the personality and competence of an individual. Most hiring managers have exceptional skills in judging people and they look for trustworthiness, reliability and enthusiasm in a potential hire. A first impression may not always be accurate but it is the only perception that endures for a long time. And this makes it extremely important for a potential job-seeker to impress the interviewer at first sight. 

Here is how you can easily impress without faking it or pretending to be someone you are not.

The Way You Greet

Usually, it is the interviewer who greets the interviewee first, who then follows suit with a customary greeting depending on the time of the day. However, it would make a great first impression if you make the first move. The idea is to catch the interviewer off-guard and project yourself as a confident human being who brings along sunshine wherever you go. 

Here are 3 sample greetings you could use to project yourself as a confident personality. Make sure your voice sounds confident and enthusiastic when you initiate the greeting and also make double sure to address the interviewer by his / her name. 

Sample 1: (Face to Face Interview at the Office)

“Good Morning, Mr. Dave. I can’t thank you enough for agreeing to see me today. I feel great and thank you for that.”

Sample 2: (Face to Face interview at a Casual Location)

“Hello Ms. Clarens. My pleasure to meet you and thank you so much for your time. Means a lot to me. I really hope this interview turns out well for both of us.”

Sample 3: (Virtual Interview)

“Good morning, Mr. Jade. It’s my pleasure to connect with you. Thank you for including me in your schedule today. 

The Way You Speak

I have seen individuals who look confident. Sadly, all of that cool mien vanishes into thin air the moment they open their mouth and mumble a string of indistinct words that sound like a totally alien language. 

Confidence begins in the mind. And extends to the voice before it spreads and manifests in your body language. You make a great first impression when you speak clearly with an even tone. You should neither be so quiet that the recruiter requests you to repeat whatever you just said. Nor should you be too loud that you come across as a dominating personality. 

The Way You Listen

Genuinely listening means listening to the person in front of you as well as listening to the room or lounge you are seated in. An interviewee can gain a lot of information by listening to everything around him/her and the information thus gained can be effectively incorporated into the interview responses or while asking any question to the hiring manager. 

The Way You Connect

Most companies are highly protective of their workplace culture and would gravitate towards those candidates who are a great “cultural fit” even if they lack a few skillsets. While preparing for an interview, make sure you are aware of the company’s vision, workplace culture and the values they desire in their employees. This will help you connect in a much better way with your future employer. Your soft skills will also come in handy to make a great impression. Your punctuality and respect for the interviewer’s time would make a great first impression; so does maintaining healthy eye contact and asking thoughtful questions about the company. 

The Way You Exit

Most people can smell a bad attitude from far. So, make sure you leave your frown at home before you step out for that coveted job interview. Smile genuinely. Feel happy from within because your facial expression and body language will reflect exactly how you feel inside of you. 

During a final interview round of which I was a part of, one of the short-listed candidates scored a couple of points more simply because he was “nice enough to return the chair to its original position before leaving”. Sounds strange, I know. But it is true. This was a company that greatly valued teamwork and glorified the workplace as an extension of one’s family.

Whether you get the job or not, the way you carried yourself would remain in the memory of everyone you came across on that day when you arrived for the interview. Though you may not be required to push the chair back to its original position, make sure you thank every single person you interacted with before, during and after the interview. Gratitude has a strange way of conjuring up an aura of positivity all around.

A great first impression will not guarantee you the job. Neither will your exceptional qualification alone. Try marrying off the two and you have a winning combination to set the stage on fire and take home your dream job.

HiCounselor makes career dreams come true for job seekers as well as recruiters. While job seekers benefit from HiCounselor’s career accelerator program along with the coaching services from industry leaders employed at FAANG companies, recruiters join hands with HiCounselor to empower their hiring strategy and zero in on the best candidates. Learn more about HiCounselor here and reach out to us on LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.