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Interview Prep Tips

The Guide to a Great Job Interview First Impression

A great interviewer comes to an interview with the basics already, having reviewed your resume and cover letter. They may have a positive impression of you, but the moment that cements this is the job interview first impression: You communicate many things in that first 60 seconds! 

Practicing for your interview with a service like Voomer can help you make the most of that critical first impression and feel natural while you do it.

Start With the Basics of a Job Interview First Impression

Punctuality

Being on time may not be particularly tough, but it’s worth the extra effort on interview day for those who struggle to get places on time.

Walking through the door calmly two minutes before your interview is a totally different impression than rushing through two minutes late.

Follow Dress Code or a Touch More Formal

It’s entirely fair to check in ahead of time about dress code expectations, but if you aren’t sure, default to a little more formal: a blazer and formal dress or a suit, even if it is a simple one, are likely to work well for most interview situations.

Following the dress code makes you more comfortable when you arrive.

You can also put attention into your clothes in ways that come across well: Choose clothes that fit you nicely, aren’t wrinkled or stained, and are comfortable enough for you not to fidget or adjust them.

Practice wearing them ahead of time if you worry about any of these possibilities.

Know About the Company and the Job

Coming through the door — or virtual waiting room — you want to know as much as possible about this job and the company.

One of the best ways to ease nerves and feel better about your upcoming interview is to know so much about the job description and the company’s website that you’ll be able to ask good questions and feel connected to everything the interviewer mentions. 

Minimize Distractions

It’s easy to look at your phone to check the time or a message, but checking your phone during that all-important first impression has an outsized impact.

Instead, turn your phone down before entering the building, and don’t look at it again until the interview is over. There are exceptions if you are waiting for a critical call, but recognize that being distracted by anything, phone included, can negatively affect your first impression.

Prepare for First Moments: How To Make a Job Interview Good First Impression

Good Eye Contact

From the start, make eye contact with your interviewer. If you’re used to looking away from people, practice before the day of, but making eye contact is one of the best ways to show someone you’re giving them your full attention.

Enthusiasm and Alertness

Enthusiasm doesn’t have to be putting an exclamation point at the end of everything you say, but rather just a fully attentive, awake attitude.

Coming to an interview visibly exhausted or distracted will come across poorly — as if the interview doesn’t matter to you — and that can be hard to come back from later in the interview.

Firm Handshake

Find a friend and practice “meeting” them for the first time. You want your handshake to be firm and brief but also natural and not a source of awkwardness.

Practice offering a handshake and greeting someone simultaneously — it may feel silly, but it’s way better to be practiced and comfortable for that key job interview first impression. 

Overall Positivity With Mirroring as Needed

While you don’t have to be thrilled with every detail of the job, you want to show positivity — or at least neutral pleasantness — about most of what is said in the interview.

If you come in with a frustrated look or a frown, your interviewer will be focused on that energy rather than on all your great qualities.

Of course, if your interviewer comes to the interview with negative energy, such as a downcast expression or sadness, you should and can mirror them, asking if they are alright.

Positivity is the default for interviews, but mirroring (showing you are noticing the other person’s mood) can also help if, for some reason, your interviewer isn’t coming to the experience in a positive headspace. 

Sustain Your First Impression

Confidently Discuss Your Background With a Strengths Focus

One of the most important things to remember in an interview is that you are the expert on your experiences, and you know what made this job seem like a good fit.

You aren’t here to prove you’re the best at something, but rather that your unique combination of training and experience will fit this job perfectly.

As such, discuss your accomplishments confidently and turn any setbacks into lessons you’ve learned that make you a well-rounded candidate.

Use the STAR Method To Offer Thorough Responses Without Rambling

Interviewees often use the STAR method to answer questions: it stands for Situation, Task at hand, Action you took, and Result.

Learning how to tell work-related anecdotes this way does two things. First, it makes it very easy for the interviewer to see your role in a given situation and helps you not to ramble or clam up during an interview. 

Practicing interview questions using this structure will help ensure you’ll answer with all relevant details — and without going on for too long. 

Ready To Practice Job Interview First Impressions? Meet Voomer

The importance of the first interaction can sometimes make people nervous about interviewing for a job. We all feel more comfortable when we’ve practiced a little more, and Voomer is the perfect platform to practice and do interview prep. 

We help job searchers like yourself to feel confident and easygoing so you can focus on sharing your unique story with your interviewer. Powered by AI and with lots of customization, Voomer is ready to help you become truly interview-ready. 

By Patrick Lemouche

Patrick Lemouche is co-founder of Voomer.

A former hiring manager, he is extremely interested in the opportunities created by the intersection of video and hiring.

He is a P&G alumni with an international career that has spanned multiple countries.