Have you ever heard the term “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. Well, that popular saying is right. You must get it right the first time, especially when you are being judged from the very first moment you walk through the interview room door.
The importance of a smile
Your smile can convey a lot of messages. You don’t want to come across as a short-tempered or moody kind of person, so the best way to avoid this is to smile as soon as you are approached in the waiting room. Even if the person greeting you and leading you to the interview room isn’t the person who will be interviewing you, make an effort to smile at them.
Remember that personalities count. Employers will often ask the opinions of other workers that have encountered you as part of their decision making process. If you don’t make the effort to be civil and friendly to other staff, how could you possibly fit in with their team? A smile, or lack of one, could win or lose you that coveted position.
Hold that smile
Even though you may start to feel like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, try your best to maintain your smile all the way through your interview. We are not talking about holding onto a demented sort of smile that makes your face ache with the effort, you are allowed to drop the smile a little occasionally when appropriate. The idea is to show a warm and friendly face all the time you are being talked to and while maintaining eye contact with your interviewer.
Engage with your interviewer
While you may think that every interview is set up to get information out of the prospective candidate, don’t be afraid to ask questions of your own. Try asking the interviewer how much they enjoy working for the company, how long have they been there etc. People do enjoy talking about themselves, so turning the tables in this way will take the focus off you for a brief while but will also help to set you apart from others. By asking questions you are showing a good level of curiosity and can demonstrate that you are able to hold two-way conversations. This may be an important skill needed within the role that you are applying for.
Depending on your situation, you may well be the third or fourth interview that the recruiter has held so far that day. They may be feeling a bit weary or starting to develop a headache. By engaging with your interviewer and having a flowing conversation instead of a forced one, you may actually be helping out the interviewer and making them feel more comfortable. This will make you more memorable at the end of the day when the decision process is made.
Look the part
Obviously, you will want to dress accordingly for your interview. Dressing smartly conveys a message that you take care of yourself and can dress appropriately for your role. However, it does pay to do you homework before your interview and brush up on the company culture and dress code. While you may want to turn up dressed in a smart suit with a shirt and tie, if the company culture is more relaxed and casual, you may want to try and dress just a little bit smarter than the average worker.
Your interview date may be the very first time that you have ever set foot in the building. As you are led through the building, take care to observe any interesting or quirky elements as you go. You may notice that the office walls are painted in bright contrasting colours, or that there are lots of framed motivational quotes or an abundance of greenery and potted plants around the area.
These are things you can bring up in conversation during your interview. This shows off your observational skills and your curious nature. All positive things for an employer to find in a candidate.
Dazzle them with your personality
Many interviewees can become so overwhelmed by the interview process that they hold back their personality and simply turn into a robotic answering machine only capable of answering questions directly put to them during the interview.
It is important to breath here and relax a little. Everyone is human, even your interviewer! They will be looking for you to express yourself and answer questions creatively. This will give you a chance to let your personality shine through. In answering a question, you may use it to get across your passions and interests. Being able to express yourself in a confident manner and talk about your hobbies, favourite music or books will allow you to be seen as a more interesting prospect than the next person who doesn’t elaborate on anything.
So, while you are sitting and waiting for your interview to begin, remember to smile at everyone that makes eye contact with you. Observe your surroundings to note things of interest, and remember that your interviewer is human too and may welcome some friendly conversation.