4 Ways to Make a Great First Impression at an Interview

This article is powered by the SMU Sport Management Program.

By Jake Kelfer, @jakekelfer 

Staying away from your phone after arriving at an interview can pay huge dividends. Image via YouTube

Staying away from your phone after arriving at an interview can pay huge dividends. Image via YouTube

When we get to an interview we have a choice to make.

Do we take out our phone, scroll through social media and take office selfies? Or, do we turn off our phone and get ready to crush the interview?

We live in a society where we spend hours a day on social media trying to get the latest news, and that’s great, just not when you are about to go into an interview.

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The first impression you make is when you walk into the office, not the interview room. Use this as a chance to impress everyone you encounter!

Instead of being on your phone while you wait to be called in, here are 4 things you can do to pass the time and help you land the job:

1.     Say hi to everyone who walks by

2.     Chat with the receptionist

3.     Practice your answers to common interview questions

4.     Visualize success and get mentally prepared

Let’s break these down.

1.     Say hi to everyone who walks by

You never know who you are talking to until you do. Say hi to everyone whether they are wearing a suit or a janitor’s uniform. This is a great opportunity to make a great first impression on your potential colleagues. Also, saying hi to people as they walk by will help you become more relaxed and comfortable as you wait to hear your name called. Lastly, by saying hi and being polite you might spark an interesting conversation with someone who can help you get the job.

2.     Chat with the receptionist

Receptionists are quite tricky when it comes to interviews.

A lot of companies will use the receptionist desk as a chance to scout the interviewee before it’s time for the actual interview.

Other times, receptionists are doing their job and love when people talk to them since they are often alone most of the day.

When you talk to the receptionist before going into your interview, it gets your conversation juices flowing and helps you ease into the interview with your interviewer.

I’ve even heard stories of companies who will actually place the hiring manager at the receptionist desk. They want to see how you act when you aren’t on your best “interview” behavior. My point is, use your time wisely and treat people with respect regardless of their assumed position in the company.

3.     Practice your answers to common interview questions

You know at the start of every interview you are going to be asked, “Can you tell me about yourself?” Use your waiting time as a chance to go over your answer a few more times. There are a lot of other common interview questions you can prepare for so practice those and build your confidence before heading into the interview.

You only get one shot at an interview, so give it everything you have. Don’t waste time being on your phone and checking one more Snapchat story.

4.     Visualize success and get mentally prepared

An interview is a huge opportunity that can lead to a life changing experience. It can be the next step on your career journey, so use every minute you can to visualize your success and landing the job.

A lot of people get nervous when they are waiting to be called in for the interview and psych themselves out before the interview even starts.

Instead, try to use this time to take a few deep breaths and visualize crushing the interview.

The interview is often the final step before you get the job. It can be the most stressful part of the process for some but also the most rewarding.

Put your phone away, turn it off, and engage with your audience. Take a break from reading about everyone else and create your own story.

If you want to receive 5 FREE chapters from Jake’s new book, Elevate Your Network, please click here.

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