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Interview preparation is not just about planning your responses. Sure, it’s important to know what you’ll say to common interview questions to avoid awkward pauses. But you should also know how to make a positive impression on the interviewer even before you wow them with your knowledge and experience. You may not realize it, but it’s the little things an interviewer will notice that can help cement you as a strong candidate. Here’s what you need to know to make a winning first impression.

You can establish yourself as a polished professional with the following five interview tips:

  1. Prepare an interview kit. Be ready for anything that may happen from your house to your interview (and even after you arrive) by assembling a few helpful items. This should include a few copies of your resume, a notepad and pen, business cards (if you have them), a stain stick, a travel sewing kit, a bottle of water, dental floss and breath mints. Make sure your resume and notepad are within easy reach and the other items are safely stowed in your bag.
  2. Arrive early. If you shoot for an early arrival—rather than right on time—you’ll be safe if you hit any unexpected traffic. Plus if you arrive around 15 minutes early, you’ll have a little time to breathe and calm yourself before show time!
  3. Look sharp. You should dress the part for your interview, and can check with the scheduler if you have any questions. Simply ask, “How do people usually dress for interviews at this company?” You can never go wrong with a seasonally appropriate suit and polished shoes. Keep jewelry, makeup and fragrance to a minimum. A fresh haircut can finish off your look and help you feel confident.
  4. Shake hands. When you first meet your interviewer, don’t wait for them to greet you—get in there! Being the first to extend your hand and say hello will make a great first impression and help you appear confident and enthusiastic.
  5. Make a connection. It can help you ease your way into a more comfortable interview if you have something in common with the interviewer. Right from the start, try chatting about your interests to see if you can make a connection. Sports, hobbies, the weather, your favorite coffee shop … you never know what could spark an interesting conversation!

If you don’t succeed, don’t give up

Sometimes you can do your very best at an interview, but still not land the job. And that’s OK—the employer is under pressure to pick the absolute best person for the job. Never give up! The right position for you is out there and with practice, you will get better and better at interviews.

A recruiter can help in your job search

Have you considered working with a staffing agency? Your recruiter will want to understand your background, experience and career goals to help find a job that’s right for you. If you’re looking for a recruiter, contact McGrath Systems. We place candidates with administrative, HR, engineering, light industrial and IT positions, and we’re ready to work with you! To learn more, contact McGrath Systems today!

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