Your Interview Starts the Minute You Arrive – Make It Count

We often make up our minds about people in a millisecond. That represents Tinder’s main operating principle.

It also applies to business, especially to the hiring process. HR managers have to shuffle through a lot of candidates to whittle their lists down to a manageable size. They aren’t in a mood to give the benefit of the doubt or offer second chances.

For that reason, you have to be ready to impress … instantly. As soon as you walk in the door for an interview, consider yourself on stage. The company reps have come there to judge you; that’s the point of the exercise. Assume that judgment starts from the second they see you.

Here are some reminders to help you make the most of your first impression:

Show up on Time

On time doesn’t just mean on time. Show up at 8:59 for a 9 a.m. meeting and the people who count will probably consider you late.

You want to arrive a little early, so you aren’t hurried or panicked. You want time to prepare and center your thoughts. Ideally, you should arrive a little early, so you’re calmly waiting to be called the moment the interviewers are ready for you.

Dress for Success

Different companies have different standards of dress. Before heading to an interview, find out the appropriate clothes to wear. And don’t be fooled by terminology. Casual doesn’t mean “just out of bed.”

If there is any doubt, dress a little better than you think necessary. Interviewers are more likely to forgive overdressing than they are underdressing.

Sweat the Small Stuff

As you put yourself together for the interview, pay attention to the details. Look closely at hair, shoes, belt, jewelry – hiring managers are prone to snap decisions.

Don’t let a single oversight define you. Don’t become the “dirty glasses guy” or the “lipstick on the teeth” girl.

Come Prepared

Have everything you need for the meeting. Bring some copies of your resume and a portfolio of your past work, if one is appropriate.

Also bring a notepad and some paper to keep notes. Theoretically, you could take notes on your phone, but that often backfires in an interview. It might seem more efficient, but some people might assume you are texting or otherwise not paying attention.

(And speaking of phones, make sure yours is on airplane mode before you walk into the room.)

Calm but Confident (Even If You Have to Fake It)

Get yourself in the right headspace before entering the meeting. Crank up Katy Perry’s “Roar” or repeat self-actualizing phrases in the bathroom mirror – whatever it takes to get in the right mindset.

If you don’t feel calm or confident, fake it. Think of it as playing a character. You only have to seem like a smooth operator for a half hour or so … then you can go back to the parking lot to hyperventilate in a paper bag.

Have an Ice Breaker in Mind

The beginning of the interview can be tense. Usually, the interviewers will take the lead, starting small talk or jumping into the questions. Other times, they’ll leave some space at the beginning. Just in case, have an opener ready.

Introduce yourself and make it clear how excited you are to be considered. Say something along the lines of “I’m so excited to be here … I love your [insert product here].” The point is to show you’ve done some research and are thrilled by the opportunity.

Preparing for the stress of finding a job gets easier when you have a strong partner. Teaming with a staffing firm, like SmartTalent, ensures you’re matched with opportunities that fit your background and advance your career goals.

Contact SmartTalent today to find out more.

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