6 Steps to Creating a Good First Impression

Premierehire Executive search and leadership strategies

Interviewing – Decisions are made in 10 minutes (or less) so make yours count!

Your interviewer could decide whether or not you will be a good fit within the first few minutes of meeting you so you must be prepared. The adage, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”, is true in interviews and especially so since the psychological phenomenon of first impression bias with a poor first impression is almost impossible to overcome in the short timeframe of an interview.

You need to both impress your interviewer as the talented professional you are and not send up any red flags.  Follow these top industry tips to take your interview from ordinary to, “you’ve got the job!”.

Six tips to make the first minutes of your interview count:

1. Prepare and Practice your answers to key questions. You know what will be asked or at least a version of so be prepared, practice, and get feedback. This process will also help reduce any nervousness and help you project confidence:

  • Why do you want this job? Do your research and know how your unique skills and experience make you a valuable fit for the job opening. Plan a short story that showcases your career aspirations and how this role fits into them.
  • Why are you a good fit for this company? Job descriptions will generally include information about company culture, but if they don’t, you can surely find this on social media or the corporate website. Explain how you are a great match for the company.
  • How can you help us/why should we choose you? This is your chance to position yourself as a problem solver. Remember that you are interviewing for a job; you’re there to sell, sell, sell, and explain to them how you can help their business.
  • So… tell me about yourself. This answer should include a short story about why you chose your career and why you love it. Then you can briefly touch on where you’ve worked, why those roles were significant and why you’re excited about this job opportunity.
  • Explaining gaps, moves, and transitions: plan how you will answer these in a professional, simple manner. Extend no blame, be accountable and be brief. Provide only enough response for a satisfactory answer (no red flags) and no reason to dig further.

2. Practice your confident handshake. Not too weak and not too firm! Practice your handshake with a friend, colleague or family member to be sure you have it right. Then plan to shake hands with people when you meet them at the beginning of your interview.

3. Dress the part. How you present yourself matters, and it’s the first thing an interviewer will notice about you. Wear a seasonally appropriate suit, clean shoes, and for women, minimal jewelry and makeup. And light or no cologne or perfume! Save expressing your individuality for after you have proven your value on the job.

4. Enter the building “in character.” Imagine you’re on stage as soon as you get out of your car. Be upbeat, confident and friendly from the very beginning.

5. Stay positive. You’ve worked hard and should be proud of your accomplishments. There’s only one you, and you have skills to offer that others do not.

6. Ask good questions. You are interviewing them too. Use questions to demonstrate your interest, the research you did, and your seriousness of finding the right fit for your skills and strengths. Avoid questions related to pay, benefits and time off. 

Remember to follow-up

First impressions are key but not everything. Even if you do a killer job at your interview, it’s always important to follow-up. Send an email or card to everyone who interviewed you and extends your sincerest thanks. Remember to get everyone’s business card.

Looking for your next interview?

If you don’t get the job, your interview was still good practice for what’s to come. And if you’re looking for a new job in the San Diego County, especially North County, contact Premierehire. We place qualified candidates in Office/Clerical, Customer Service/Sales, Technical and Professional/Managerial positions, and we’ll work with you to find an opportunity. To learn more, contact us today by phone at (760)-579-0248.

The Author

Leanne Abraham is a long-time student of helping leaders and teams learn, develop, and perform. She has supported teams as an executive leader, facilitator, advisor, process guide, and more recently as a leadership team coach. She and her team have also worked extensively to help teams effectively add the right people through her 4 Phase Executive Search and New Leader Integration Solutions.

Leanne mostly serves clients from San Diego to Vancouver, but also throughout the US and Canada, ranging in size and industry focus.

Leanne is a certified executive coach and team coach (EMCC); has completed extensive training with Dr. Adizes at the Adizes Institute, The Birkman Method, EMCC, and the Global Team Coaching Institute (GTCI); is an avid reader and practitioner of leadership development; and is currently completing her team coach practicum under David Clutterbuck with the GTCI.

If you are looking to grow or transform your team, your leadership, or your career, please contact Leanne direct at Leanne@premierehire.com or book a no charge consult through the Premierehire website.


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