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7 Ways to Make a Great First Impression During an Interview


Interviewing is something you don’t do every day…but when you do, you certainly don’t want to blow it with a bad impression.

Interview scenario.
So, you’re in the interview, and you want to impress the interviewer – you figure the best thing to do is to tell them everything you know, share with them all of your experiences, right?

So, what do you do to prepare? You think through your experiences and highlight your most impressive accomplishments; you rehearse answers to questions you think they’ll ask, hoping that what you say is exactly what they want to hear. You are determined to impress them!

Making an impression.
Do you think this is the right approach to take? Sort of…you want to make sure they hear all the good stuff, BUT you also want to leave an impression. And an impression doesn’t mean throwing the kitchen sink at them with everything you’ve ever done.

An impression is the take-away the interviewer has about you – how well you handled yourself within the interview. The interview can be an indicator of how you would react in a company meeting, handle a project setting, or interface with a customer. It helps them to determine how well you’d fit into the organization.

You’ve already passed the first test.
Remember, by the time you’ve gotten the interview, your resume has already identified you as a fit for the role based on the criteria of the job description. Of course, the hiring managers are going to verify by asking for examples of your experience and making sure you exhibit a level of knowledge needed to meet the challenges of the job.

The trick is to learn to speak naturally about yourself without coming off as a “bragger.” This can be accomplished by spending time mapping out your experiences as it relates to the job description. Put your resume and job description side-by-side and use that as an outline of what you want to talk about.

The interview is a chance to showcase your ability to communicate and have a productive meeting – like having a dry run or a dress rehearsal. The experience the hiring manager has interacting with you is going to weigh heavily in determining your fit factor, which is important to building a team or organization.

7 ways to make a great impression in the interview.

1.  Have a conversation. Approach the interview as a conversation, not as a give and take of question and answer. Tell your story.

2.  Remember to listen. A conversation has two simple components: listening and speaking. Make sure you do plenty of listening so you understand what is being asked of you.

3.  Be concise. Provide concise answers – if they ask you what time it is, don’t tell them how to build a watch. The interviewer has an agenda; make sure they are able to complete it.

4.  Don’t talk too much. If you think you’re talking too much – you probably are. When you get this feeling, stop and ask a checking question like:

“Am I addressing your question/am on track with what you were asking or looking for?“

“Is there anything I have said so far that you have questions about?”

“Would you like more detail or have I answered your question satisfactorily?”

5.  Speak with authority. When you address the position, speak as though you already have it, and have command of what is needed to be successful. For example, use “When in this role…” rather than“If I had this position…”

6.  Summarize with confidence. Close the interview with your own summary, including highlights of key role requirements and how you meet them. This refers to the mapping we talked about earlier.

7.  Ask for the job. Finally, the best impression you can make is to ask for the job.

Here’s a great interview cheat sheet to use, along with more helpful interviewing tips! Now, get out there, and make a great impression.