Congratulations! You’ve secured your first interview! 🥳
However, it’s now time to prepare for the interview, and we have you covered.
“You never have a second chance to create a first impression,” as the saying goes. What struck you the most the last time you met someone new? According to experts, 55% of initial impressions are formed by what we see (visual), 38% by how we hear their first words (vocal), and 7% by the actual words we speak (spoken). However, many first impressions are influenced by factors we have little control over, such as our natural fragrance, how ‘baby-like’ our features are, and if we require glasses or are bald. For example, men with feminine face traits, such as thinner brows and a pointier chin, are more trustworthy. Therefore, it’s good to set the first impression for your first interview in a different way.
Preparation and Research before your first interview
Investigate the organisation so that you can walk into your interview knowing exactly what the position entails and how your history qualifies you for it. Read company reviews to find out more about the workplace culture and what others think of this employer.
Prepare your response to the usual question, “Tell me about yourself, and why are you interested in this position with our organisation.” The goal is to immediately express who you are and how you will provide value to the organisation and the job.
Read the job description again. You should print it out and start emphasizing certain abilities that the business is seeking. Consider examples from your previous and present work that correspond to these specifications. Writing down a few examples before to the interview might help you react with high-quality responses.
First Interviews are two-way affairs. Employers expect you to ask questions because they want to know that you’re genuinely considering working there.
Set aside some time before your interview to gather the following materials:
Copies of your CV. While the recruiting manager has most certainly seen your CV, it is possible that they have not read every line. You might also be conversing with someone new.
You’ll need a pen and a small notepad. Take notes, but don’t use your smartphone or any other electronic device to do so. Make a note of the specifics so you may refer to them in subsequent thank you notes. Make as much eye contact as you can.
A written version of the questions you’ve prepared for your interviewers.
2. The interview starts as soon as you leave the house
The first interview begins before you shake hands. You never know who you’ll run into when you get off the bus or train or approach the company’s building – your interviewer may be in the same coffee-shop line as you. So, from the minute you go out, try to present a pleasant, confident, and professional demeanour. You’ve most likely planned to arrive early.
Allow yourself time for a comfort break and stay hydrated. Make eye contact with the receptionist, turn off your phone, and take in your surroundings – you could notice something that will make a good topic for a small chat later. Don’t attempt to pack in any last-minute data; you want to appear calm and organized, not panicked, and unprepared.
3. Imagine everyone you encounter as your interviewer
Make an effort to be kind and nice to everyone you meet during the interview process. From greeting the receptionist to sharing a lift with strangers to passing through an open-plan workplace to reach your conference room. These are all touch points with your prospective future employer, and colleagues frequently discuss their thoughts of visitors later, so you want everyone who encounters you to have a favourable image of you.
4. Create a strong first impression
First impressions are important, and nonverbal clues are even more important than spoken indications. So, in those initial five minutes, it’s important to smile boldly, shake hands firmly, establish eye contact, and overall seem happy to be there and interested in the job. Project an attitude of energy, passion, and interest in all you do.
Try to match your clothing style to that of the firm you’re meeting with. You should be able to get a decent understanding of the company’s regular dress code from its website and social media output, particularly any information regarding the company’s working culture, and your recruiter can also assist you. You want to portray some personality and charm, but you also want to come across as a good fit, so lean on the formal side if in doubt.
5. Be ready for small talk
Making the correct (or wrong) small conversation can have serious effects. It’s a means for individuals to establish rapport and affinity, as well as begin to develop the elusive, intangible element of ‘chemistry’ that characterizes all successful commercial partnerships. For example, if you see a photo of the interviewer’s family, you may inquire about them – and be prepared to share a family tale of your own. Or, if you’re a sports enthusiast and see that your interviewer is, you may ask a relevant question to which you have an intriguing answer (‘Do you ever get to the games?’ ‘So, who’s going to win the Cup this year?’ and so on).
Consider current events as well. For example, has your future employer recently been in the news? Could you also inquire about the possible impact on the firm of a recent event, such as Brexit, decreasing stock prices, or a major cyber-attack? Make sure you have an intriguing concept of your own to share in each scenario.
6. be on the message from the outset
Politicians who have received media training are always taught to have a maximum of three essential ideas to convey, which they should stick to and repeat throughout every interview. Similarly, it’s a good idea to have two or three key points about what you have to offer and what you’re looking for – for example, ‘I’m ready for the challenge of team management,’ ‘I combine compliance experience with technical expertise,’ or ‘Throughout my career, I’ve developed an extensive digital transformation skillset.’
These are the three most important aspects about you that you want the interviewer to remember. So try to include them organically wherever possible, especially in the initial few minutes. It’s also crucial to be prepared to answer some of the most popular early-stage inquiries, such as ‘Tell me why you want this position’ and ‘What is your knowledge of what this work entails?’
Do you feel ready for your interview?
Don’t forget to thank the employer/interviewer for their time at the end of the interview and let them know you look forward to hearing from them.
If you’d like some inspiration on what questions to ask, click here to download our top questions.
and finally, good luck with your first interview!