When you start your job search, first impressions are vital. Employers will often evaluate candidates from the beginning of the process to the end, including if you fully complete the application process, how you interact with the receptionist, etc. Do not underestimate the value of a first impression!
The Muse is an online career resource that helps candidates with job opportunities, career advice, and coaching. They offer some tips for succeeding in a job interview. While we often prepare for a myriad of difficult questions the employer may have but it is often the seemingly little things that can have a major impact.
1. Show up on time – being on time to a job interview is the very first step in making a good impression. If you are applying for your dream job, showing up early is a necessity. If you are running late, call the interviewers as soon as possible to let them know. Being proactive leaves a much better impression than showing up late without reason.
2. Dress the part – appearance does not always make the final decision in the employer’s eyes but it does have a major impact in how you are perceived. Wearing a pressed shirt and khakis or slacks with a portfolio or other materials can express that you are put-together in your work also. At Mason Construction, Ltd. we do not wear suits to work because we may be going to a jobsite or doing other work. Therefore, we do not expect candidates to show up in a suit. But we do appreciate professionalism and polish.
3. Bring only the essentials – the Muse gives an example of bringing a coffee cup into an interview as being unnecessary. This may seem like overkill but think about it, do you really want to risk a job with what could turn in to an accidental spill and mess?
4. Be nice to the receptionist – as was mentioned earlier, employers often evaluate candidates in a variety of ways. While the receptionist may not be in the interview, they are often asked for their input on the interviewee. It is important to treat everyone with respect and it can give the hiring manager a sense of if you will fit in with the office culture.
5. Put your phone away – our world revolves around mobile devises and it is easy to check for updates when we are waiting somewhere. However, do not pull out your phone if you are just bored, waiting on your interview. That way you can stay observant to when your interviewer appears to start your interview. Looking at your phone can also automatically place your body in a less confident position. Do check to make sure you have placed your phone on silence for your interview.
6. Have everything neat, organized, and accessible – always bring extra copies of your resume and other relevant documents (TWIC card, certifications, etc.). Have it organized in a simple folder so it easy to reference when asked. In addition, bring a pen and paper to take notes if needed or have questions prepared for your interviewer.
7. Make the first move – do not be afraid to introduce yourself and offer a handshake when you are meeting individuals for the first time. According to the Muse, this can express your excitement and overall confidence.
8. Find a connection – after introductions are made, and when it is appropriate, try to find a common connection with your interviewer. This could be something outside of work if they have an interested award or wall hanging in the office. Or it could be something brought up in conversation. Finding something in common can often help you and the interviewer relax.
Job interviews can be stressful and we often put a lot of pressure on ourselves to success. By taking some time to prepare, we are able to present our best first impression. Best of luck in the job hunting process!
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