Acing an Interview: Volume 2 Making a Great First Impression

Be presentable but not overdressed, sit comfortably but don’t slouch, smile and laugh but don’t smile and laugh too much, be complimentary but not overly friendly … Wow, making a good first impression sure can be overwhelming! Take it easy and just remember to be yourself. A great showcase of the real you will surely make a good first impression.

Dress appropriately. If you’re meeting the potential employer at a nursing home or a local casual restaurant, you probably do not want to show up in a suit and tie. You may be the only person there who is dressed so nicely, and you may stick out like a sore thumb. This likely will not be held against you, but it may make you feel uncomfortable and distracted during the interview. If you are unsure, just play it safe. Don’t go over the top. Look your best without looking like you’re trying too hard. 

Showcase good communication skills. It helps to start off with a little casual conversation. This shows the potential employer that you can carry a conversation and be likeable. Stay away from constant compliments as it may convey that you are trying too hard. Just be yourself.  Remember that you’re showcasing the reasons why you’d be an asset to their company, and being a great communicator is always a favorable personality trait. At the end, establish the next step for communication.

Stay on topic and answer questions fully and to the point. You don’t want to get sidetracked and wonder off onto other topics. Doing this could make you appear to be unfocused. Be direct and assertive. If you’re asked a question, do not give the answer that you think they want to hear. Give your honest answer. Employers appreciate honesty and being direct and assertive will save both of you time in the long run. The best way to be prepared in this area is to practice. Anticipate some of the questions you think you’ll be asked and practice your response. Showing that you have actively prepared for your interview will speak volumes and be very impressive.

Be honest about any concerns you may have; express your goals and where you’d like to see yourself in the future. If you’re asked a question, give your honest answer even if you don’t think it’s what they want to hear. For example, if you’re looking for a job within 10 minutes from home and are asked if you’re comfortable with a 45 mile drive to work, be upfront and let your preferences be known.  If the position offers no growth, yet you’d like to assume a management position, you may want to find out if there are other areas where your management skills can be put to good use. Make sure to ask. Now is the time, don’t be shy!

The main thing to remember is to be yourself. You will let yourself and others down if you pretend to be someone you are not. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, yet make sure you have prepared for your interview to the best of your ability. All the other rules are just guidelines to ensure that you have covered all of the bases. Now, go get ‘em!


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