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How to Make a Great Impression During a Job Interview

Updated on January 15, 2013
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You got the Interview, now What?

Your resume and cover letter may have gotten you the job interview, but now you have to show them your just as good as your paperwork says. Verbal and nonverbal communication are going to be very important in your interview. Make sure you follow these tips to get the most out of your interview.

Don't be Late

This is your first impression. If you show up late you are conveying that this interview is not that important to you. You show that you are irresponsible and unreliable in the first few moments your interviewer sees you. To avoid this, make sure you have the correct date, time and location of the interview in advance. Also, plan to arrive early just in case you get lost or traffic and parking are bad.

Be Professional

Being professional is not only about how you act but also how you look. Make sure you know the interviewer's name and title and don't call anyone by their first name unless asked to do so. If your interviewer is still standing, you should be too. Don't sit down until they have.

If you are a female, do not cake on your makeup or wear a ton of jewelry. You should look clean, neat and put together. Don't bring anything excessive into the interview such as a hat, jacket, large bag or purse. Make sure to have a pen, paper and extra copies of your resume and references.

Learn About the Position and the Company

Research the company that you are interviewing with. Find out what they make or sell and who their competition is. Make sure you fully explore the company's website.

Contact the company's personnel office for a job description for the position in which you are applying. What kind of employee and skills does the company want?

Be Honest

You want the interviewer to know all of your great characteristics but do not go overboard. If you lie or embellish about your qualifications, they will find out. Also, be sure not to intentionally leave something out because you are afraid it will look bad. It could look even worse for you went it is uncovered and they wonder why you felt the need to hide it. Be upfront and honest about everything that is related to your ability to correct perform the job you are applying for. Employers do a background check on all possible employees.

Firm, confident handshake
Firm, confident handshake

Be Poised but Relaxed

Don't speak too casually with the interviewer. Don't use "like" and "you know". Avoid any nervous habits you have, such as playing with your hair, tapping your foot, fidgeting or biting your nails. Take a deep breath, be confident and you will be fine.

How can you Benefit the Company?

Use every question you are asked as an opportunity to show that your skills relate to the job you are applying for. Don't ask your interviewer about benefits, pay, or vacation just yet. This is the first interview and you need to be focused on proving yourself. Show the interviewer how you could contribute to the organization. Don't discuss moving up in the company or suggest you are trying to gain experience for something else. You don't want to talk about what you are going to get out of the job. You want to talk about what the company is going to get out of you.

Maintain Eye Contact

You want to look the interviewer in the eyes to show your respect and confidence. However, don't stare at the interviewer; it comes off a little creepy. Make sure you glance away or blink every now and then. Sit up straight and give a firm handshake to reinforce your confidence.

Be Prepared

Practice interviewing with a friend of family member. Rehearse different questions and be prepared to answer them. Expect to be asked some open-ended questions like "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" Figure out your answers to some of these common questions before you ever show up to the interview. You don't want to end up rambling on or making yourself look bad.

Send a Thank-You Letter

Before you leave the interview, you should thank them for their time, shake their hand and tell them that you look forward to hearing from them.

One thing job candidates rarely do now is send a thank you letter in the mail after an interview. Make sure you do not e-mail the letter. It is best to hand write or type and mail the letter to every person involved in the interview, no later than 1 day after the interview. This is typically the hiring manager, administrative assistant and human resources personnel.

Doing this shows gratitude, reminds the interviewer about you and gives you a chance to reiterate your interest in the job.

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    • Learning in Life profile imageAUTHOR

      Megan Smith 

      5 years ago from SW Florida

      That's great! Congratulations. Thanks for the comment.

    • ienjoythis profile image

      M Carnahan 

      5 years ago from Nevada

      Awesome tips!! You really nailed it. One thing that I have learned is companies want to hear potential employees say, "I want to grow with your company". By saying this, you are telling them that you are not above them or the position you are applying for. The job I currently have right now wanted someone with a Bachelors of Business Administration. I was the 17th person they interviewed for the job. Everyone before me had a degree, tons of experience, and did not need a whole lot of training. But they were not impressed. I finally got an interview, no degree, and got the job. My boss later told me that what got me the job was my ambition, my professionalism, and when I said I wanted to grow with the company.

      Great hub.

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