A person walks into a job interview. They’re 20 minutes late, slouching in their seat and make their distaste for their former employer known, well, several times within the conversation. It’s safe to say the candidate’s left a not-so-great impression on the interviewer — one that even the most qualified or skilled professionals can’t shake.
In fact, research shows the outcome of an interview can be determined 20 seconds from the first greeting. Put plainly: first impressions matter. Make your snapshot intro count by mastering these three tips by Associate Director of Recruiting, Maryum Anwar.
1. ARRIVE EARLY
Anwar recommends candidates get to the interview 10 to 15 minutes before their scheduled meeting. “Make sure to leave yourself a buffer to account for any traffic, especially if it’s an area you’re not familiar with,” she explains. “Remember: if you are early, you’re on time. If you are on time, you’re late!”
2. NEVER SPEAK NEGATIVELY ABOUT FORMER EMPLOYERS
Think of the situation like a date. Talking about how terrible your ex was is a major turn-off to a prospective partner. “You’re not likely to get the second date, or in this case, a second interview,” Anwar says. It’s valid to have poor experiences in previous roles, but framing your responses in a positive light — rather than accusatory — will leave a better lasting impression on the hiring manager.
3. DO YOUR RESEARCH
The interview shouldn’t be the first time you find out what the company does. Most businesses have an online presence — perfect for some amateur sleuthing, and easy access to a company’s mission statement, staff and more. Pro tip: If you learn who will be interviewing you before the meeting, check out their LinkedIn profile to gain extra insight that may come in handy. “You should be able to hold an educated conversation regarding the company,” Anwar says. “And share why you’re interested in working for their organization.”
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