Job Interview 1st Impressions: Make an Interviewer’s Snap Decisions Work in Your Favor

Headed out on a job interview?

Then know this: Your interviewer begins sizing you up from the moment they lay eyes on you. In this infographic, we share some surprising statistics:

  • It takes someone just 1/10th of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face. Longer exposures don’t significantly alter those impressions!
  • Within 15 minutes, 60% of interviewers say they make a hiring decision. More than 1 in 4 of them make it within the first 5 minutes!

Interviewers make snap decisions about you.

It’s up to you to make sure those decisions are favorable. Use these surefire tips to boost your confidence and make a great first impression at your next interview:

Be Prepared

Before the interview:

  • Research the employer’s website and social media accounts.
  • If you know who will be interviewing you, review their LinkedIn profile so you’re familiar with their background and role in the organization.
  • Practice your interview skills, answers to common interview questions, your 30-second “elevator pitch” and even your driving route (heavy traffic could make you late – and cost you the job).
  • Review the job posting, so you know the requirements and can speak to your transferable job skills.
  • Compile a list of follow-up questions, so it’s apparent to the interviewer that you’ve done your homework.
  • Eat a light meal, so your stomach isn’t growling. But don’t guzzle an entire bottle of water or eat anything that might make you have to excuse yourself mid-interview for a bathroom break (yikes!).
  • Dress a notch above what’s required to show you are serious about the opportunity.
  • Skip the perfume or cologne. The interviewer may not love your fragrance choice as much as you do, or they could have scent-triggered allergies.
  • Bring a copy of your resume, your portfolio (if applicable), a pen and notepad. While a small purse is acceptable for women to bring, leave all other personal items at home or in your car.

At the interview:

  • Arrive 10 minutes early. Any later, and you may feel rushed or stressed; any earlier may signal poor planning on your part or be inconvenient for the employer.
  • Be nice to everyone you meet. You never know who may provide feedback to the interviewer.
  • Turn your phone completely off. A vibrating phone is just as distracting as a ringing one.

When you meet your interviewer:

  • Make eye contact and smile. It’ll help you relax, while appearing both confident and approachable.
  • Let the interviewer speak first, so you don’t come across as too aggressive.
  • Offer a solid handshake that’s not too firm, not too limp and lasts two seconds or so.
  • Be enthusiastic but don’t monopolize the conversation. During the first few minutes, let the interviewer lead the discussion. Let your responses (both verbal and nonverbal) convey your excitement for the opportunity.

On the job hunt?

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