Your Guide to Making Good First Impressions

During the interview process, you have the opportunity to make a good first impression by the way you speak, act and how well you listen. Making the most of this opportunity is important to landing a job and winning over your new colleagues. In this article, you’ll learn what a first impression is, why a good first impression is important, how to make a good first impression during a job interview and how first impressions can affect you in the workplace.

What is a first impression?

A first impression is the initial consideration or judgment someone makes about who you are after their first interaction with you. Several factors may influence someone’s first impression of you, such as how you look, what you wear, how you speak and your overall emotional state. When you are looking for a new position, how you present yourself on your application, in your resume and during an interview can all impact the recruiter and hiring manager’s first impression of who you are.

The importance of a good first impression

First impressions are important because human nature compels us to hold on to our initial impression of someone and we can find it difficult to change this opinion even when the other person presents us with evidence contrary to that belief. This makes it very important for us to know the impression we portray of ourselves when we first meet someone in an interview or the workplace.

How to make good first impressions during an interview

Follow these steps to ensure you make a good first impression during your interview:

  1. Be prepared.

  2. Arrive on time.

  3. Dress professionally.

  4. Use good posture.

  5. Use a friendly greeting.

1. Be prepared

The best thing you can do to make a good first impression during an interview is to be well-prepared for the interview when you arrive. Before your interview, research the company and know what they do, what your responsibility would be in the position you are applying for, what the company’s core values are and how you can add value to the company. Showing you have done your research can leave the interviewer with the impression that you are serious about the position you have applied to.

You can also role-play with a friend or family member to practice interview questions you expect the interviewer to ask. Prepare answers to both technical interview questions related to the responsibilities of the job and behavioral interview questions. Practicing answers to interview questions will show your confidence during the interview.

2. Arrive on time

Arriving at your interview on-time sets the tone of professionalism the interviewer can expect from you. In fact, it is best to arrive at least five to 10 minutes early to show the interviewer that punctuality is something you value. The interviewer and hiring manager will expect you to be reliable and punctual in your role, so being on-time or early to the interviewer gives the impression they can trust you to be on-time for your new job.

3. Dress professionally

How you dress is likely to have a big impact on the first impression an interviewer makes of you. It is important to dress professionally and appropriately for the role and industry you are applying to. It is also important to ensure you are well-groomed with good hygiene, a professional hairstyle, brushed teeth and good breath.

Dressing professionally and being well-groomed displays your interest in presenting your personal brand and the company professionally. Professional business attire allows the focus of the interview to remain on your qualifications rather than on how you look.

Read more: What to wear for different job interviews based on the company

4. Use good posture

Your posture can also have a major impact on how someone perceives you when they first meet you. It is important to stand tall, sit-up straight, hold your head up and keep your shoulders back throughout your interview. Good posture gives an impression of confidence and professionalism. You should also be sure to maintain eye contact with the interviewer throughout your meeting.

5. Use a friendly greeting

Many people form their first impression of you within just a few minutes of meeting you. When you first meet the interviewer it is important to offer a warm and friendly greeting with a professional introduction and firm handshake. Your greeting should include a friendly smile and a clear introduction of who you are. For example: “Hello Mr. Smith, my name is Jacob Anderson and I’m here to interview for the executive assistant role.” Use a professional and friendly greeting to anyone you encounter in the office, not just the interviewer.

First impressions in the workplace

Once you receive the job offer, you should continue to make a good first impression as you start working in that position. On your first day, you will meet new colleagues and supervisors and you may interact with clients. You can use the same techniques you used during the interview process to ensure you make a strong first impression. That can help you build good long-term professional relationships.