You have that first interview lined up at a company you are really excited about. You’ve already done your prep work and your research and you’re ready to go in and meet with your interviewer(s). Here are a few tips you can use during that first meeting that will help you get invited back for a second interview, or even get a job offer right after the first one!
1. First Impressions Count!
Research shows that people’s first impressions really do matter. We know people who have been told, “I knew I was going to hire you as soon as we started talking.” Your outfit, your handshake, your body language and eye-contact all have a more important role in the hiring process than you realize. In that first minute, hiring managers can often assess cultural fit, which is critical in landing a job. So do your best to present yourself well and make a great first impression!
2. The Right Frame of Mind is Critical!
It’s natural to feel nervous when walking into a company and meeting people for the first time, but do your best to relax and seem comfortable. Show that you have done your research, let them know how curious you are about the company. Also, be appreciative of people’s time – realize that both you and your interviewers are taking time from work to talk (and that their deadlines won’t be extended just because they are spending time meeting you). This can help put you in the right frame of mind, and your confidence and abilities will shine through. And feel lucky if you get a trivial question -- answer it as respectfully as you would a challenging one –- view it is an opportunity to earn some easy points!
3. Ask the right Questions
During an interview, you aren’t just expected to answer other people’s questions – you need to have some good ones of your own. Good questions often revolve around the substance of the job you are seeking, the team’s requirements for that job, and the technology used. Also, ask some smart, thoughtful questions about the company and the employees – showing your curiosity (and that you have done some research) will let people know that you are engaged and interested in the position.
4. Don’t ask the wrong Questions
Just as important as asking the right questions is NOT asking the wrong ones! It’s never appropriate to discuss salary and benefits at a first interview. Even in later interviews, it’s better to not start this conversation. Always leave it to the interviewer to bring up these topics but plan ahead as to how you will answer them. You want to create a game plan that will put you in a strong position to negotiate salary and benefits.
5. Don’t be afraid to show who you are
While it’s normal to feel nervous, try to open up and be your true self. Be a three-dimensional candidate and show who you really are. People will remember you better if you do this, and they will generally like you more. If for some reason you really don’t “click” with the team, then at least you know early on that it’s a bad cultural fit and not the right company for you.