3 Ways to Form the Best First Impression at Your Interview

It only takes 0.1 second to form a first impression, and that impression– whether you like it or not– can exist for about 3 months.

It’s especially important to consider this during the job search process, being that those snap judgments can have a direct impact on the outcome of the interview, and the professional relationship that results from it.

First impressions can make or break an interview, so you’ll need to know what to do to make sure your interviewers develop an exceptional perception of you. Body language and how you say things matter.

Here are some things to keep in mind when preparing for your next interview, so that you can get the job, and leave a positive impact on the ones you encounter. 

[1] Look confident

Confidence, or lack thereof, could be the first thing that someone notices in an interview. In fact, studies show that 55% of the first impression you make on others is attributed to physical appearance, so the way you look is extremely important. A strong and confident presence can help you stand out from other candidates, and help you come across as skilled, reliable, and valuable to your interviewers.

Don’t let any insecurities prevent you from exuding confidence in your interview: conditions like tooth discoloration, severe acne, or even male pattern baldness can distract your mind throughout the meeting. Before your interview, make an effort to accept and embrace the things that make you uncertain. Develop your confidence through acts of self-care, try some power poses in the mirror, or find a suit or dress that’s both professional and comfortable. Confidence in yourself, the way you look, and the way you carry yourself can go a long way in helping you shine throughout your interview.

Bonus tip: Keep steady eye contact and attentive body language so your interviewers know you’re engaged and actively listening.

[2] Prepare– don’t rehearse

While there’s no doubt that you should prepare for your interview to some degree, excessive preparation of your answers can come across as rehearsed, and in turn, disingenuous. If your interviewers think that your answers came from a Google search, and not from your own knowledge and experience, they’ll most likely be turned off by your responses and form a negative view of you.

Look into common interview questions before your interview to see what experiences or skill sets you’ll need to convey. In order to prepare for your interview without scripted answers, write down your answers in bullet forms, so you’re not reciting back pre-written responses in sentence form.

Practice answering the questions out loud to someone you know, and get their honest feedback– preferably someone with interview experience, or experience in the desired field. Peppering in your thoughts and experiences throughout the meeting in organic ways should help you come across as well-spoken and capable while leaving a positive impression.

Bonus tip: come with a list of questions for the interviewers. These questions don’t need to be in bullets, but you should come prepared with questions about the company or the role itself. It will help you appear interested, ambitious, and will help the flow of dialogue between you and the interviewers.

[3] Find a connection

While nerves can often make it difficult for you to be yourself, it’s important that you find a way to communicate naturally and effectively with your interviewers. Since a first impression is formed so quickly, you’ll need to find some common ground in which you can relate to your interviewers relatively soon after the interview starts.

When you find something that allows you to relate to your interviewers, you can develop a deeper connection, which can benefit you in the long run. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their professional experience, educational background, or even interests. You never know– you may just find something that you’re both passionate about which will help you develop an even better first impression. Plus, being able to relate to your interviewers can show that you can get along well with others and work productively in a team setting.

Bonus tip: If you’re not sure what to ask, start with simple get-to-know-you questions about what books their reading, their hobbies, or their favorite local restaurants.

It’s crucial that you feel comfortable and confident so that there’s nothing impeding you from being yourself and excelling in your interview. When you develop a connection and bring your utmost confidence to the meeting, there’s no doubt you’ll have the best chances to win over your interviewers and land the job.