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The Importance of First Impressions in an Interview

Posted on Dec 16, 2021

Many companies are currently struggling to find candidates to fill roles. So if you’re a job seeker right now, you’re in a favourable position. However, this should not be taken for granted, as you still need to apply yourself in order to secure the role you want. 

Here are our tips for giving you the competitive edge when interviewing for a new role.

1. Very First Impression

If you’ve been applying for jobs, it’s important to make sure that if you answer an unknown number, you do so courteously (eg. “Hello, John speaking”). If you don’t wish to identify your name that’s okay, a friendly hello will suffice. Do not answer the phone silently, or answer with a curt “who is this?”. It’s important to also make sure that your voicemail is polite and professional, as this is not the best context for jokes. 

The same applies to your email address, if you have an offensive or funny email address, it’s going to undermine your credibility to the people hiring. Furthermore, if you’re having email interactions with a recruiter or hiring manager, ensure that your emails are concise, professional and without typos. If you’re discussing availability for in-person interviews, don’t be vague about the times you can do and be as flexible as possible.

2. In-Person Interview

When you go to the interview, be on time and present yourself well. It’s always better to dress up than down if you are in doubt. It shows you take pride in yourself even if the interviewer is dressed casually. 

It’s natural to feel nervous going into an interview, but make sure you don’t let that get in the way of showing your friendliness and interest in the role. When you walk into the interview, make sure you smile so you come across as confident and open. Most companies will assume that how you present yourself to them is how you present to clients. 

Some of the things that can create a poor first impression are:

  • Arriving late
  • Arriving with a drink / food in hand (looks disorganised & unprofessional)
  • Not dressing the part
  • Leaving your phone on loud – It doesn’t matter how busy or important you are, they are taking time out of their own busy day to speak with you. Respect it.
  • Neglecting to ask questions about the company and role
  • Not showing interest or enthusiasm for the position
  • Bad mouthing your former employer

3. Follow Up

After you’ve had an in-person interview, it’s a good idea to take the time to send a thank you email. It shows your interest in the role, as well as your courteousness and professionalism. If the hiring decision is going to be made soon, this will help to give you the competitive edge.