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How to make a great first impression at your job interview

If you’ve been invited to an interview, it’s crucial that you prepare to make an outstanding and memorable impression.

In 2021, according to research by Level, the average number of interviews per role conducted was roughly three and a half, accentuating how a first great impression counts to make you stand out from the crowd.

To help, below we’ve outlined our top 5 tips to help you calm those nerves and have a successful interview.

  1. Research the company

It may seem obvious but research the company thoroughly. Look through the website, learning the company’s values and reading any news announcements or blogs.

Researching the company goes beyond looking at its website and social media channels. Dig deep into the services or products it offers and have a look at what their competitors do.

If you know who is interviewing you, research them too. This can be a good talking point and will show that you’re proactive, enthusiastic and will put you in a good position to answer any unexpected questions relating to the company.

  1. Don’t forget body language

 As we’re so preoccupied with the interview itself and what is going to be asked, it’s easy to forget about body language. However, as body language is another form of communication that influences how you’re perceived, it’simportant to be aware of it. From being mindful of your hands, to posture, body language is key to showcasing your genuine personality and forming connections.

Make eye contact and smile – try to look the interviewers in their eyes when you’re talking to them. This not only establishes you as being trustworthy and helps to build a connection, but it also exudes confidence.

Stand tall when you walk in. Avoid slouching as it can look too relaxed, which can translate to a lack of enthusiasm. On the other hand, being stiff can make you appear uncomfortable. The key is to sit up straight and occasionally lean forwards a little when you’re answering questions as it gives a sense of curiosity and engagement.

  1. Familiarise yourself with the STAR method

 Plan answering behavioural questions using the STAR method. Behavioural questions can include:

  • How do you handle a challenge?
  • Tell me about how you worked effectively under pressure.
  • Describe a time when you had to meet a tight deadline. How did you overcome this?

The STAR method stands for situation, task, action, and result and is a very helpful technique for forming answers to such questions. This technique is a great way of giving structured, straightforward, and concise answers using specific real-life examples.

  1. Find out the interview format

 Interviews can take place in many formats. It could be over a video, telephone or face-to-face, therefore it’s important to prepare for each possibility.

As virtual interviews are becoming more popular, there’s a chance your first interview may take place online. If this is the case, it’s essential that you understand the specific requirements of the interview.

Firstly, choose the right location and minimise disruptions. Make sure there’s nothing distracting in the background as this can take the attention away from you.

When you’ve selected a good spot, practice the interview to see if the technology is working correctly. This involves reviewing the software and platform that is being used for the interview, to checking if the hardware of your device is working.

If it’s in person, plan the route. Determining where your interview is located, preparing travel arrangements, and planning the route in advance will ensure you arrive on time on the day, setting the interview off for a great start!

  1. Dress professionally

Whether it’s a face-to-face interview, or virtual, dress professionally. We suggest planning what to wear a few days beforehand as this will allow you to focus on the more important things and will avoid any last-minute panic on the day!

The outfit you choose depends on who you are interviewing with, therefore it’s important to follow the employer’s dress code. For example, if you’re interviewing for a corporate role, such as a financial advisor, wear business attire such as a suit or a professional looking dress. If it’s a start-up, opt for smart casual.

If the interview is virtual, pick softer colours and try to avoid wearing anything with patterns as this will appear less harsh and better on the camera.

Above all, make sure you feel comfortable in whatever you wear.

If you’re thinking of a career move, or need support with the interview process, our team is here to help. Contact them at Starting Point Recruitment for more information.

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