Here’s the hard truth: 80% of hiring managers will decide within the first 10 minutes of an interview whether to hire you or not. While every second in that interview room might feel like forever, anxiety might affect your responses to your potential employers. Here’s how you can work on the first impression that you’re putting forward.
Do Your Research
Before the big day, find out as much as you can about the company. A few simple clicks on the organisation’s website will usually reveal the company’s history andother useful facts, like their employee headcount, or who’s in charge of the department you’re hoping to work in.
…And Know Your Interviewer And The Company
With this knowledge, you’ll sound more prepared and stand out as a candidate who is interested in the particular company. Showing interest in the company can also be translated as a “fit” for the company’s culture, boosting your chances of interview success.
Get There On Time
This cannot be stressed enough! Always plan ahead and arrive earlier than the scheduled time. If the interview venue is particularly out of the way, or located in in an area that you’re unfamiliar with, do your research online or go down in person!
Dress to Impress
The First Handshake
It may not seem like much, but 60% of employers say that they will judge a candidate based on their handshake.
Never, ever offer a limp fish/dead fish handshake. Practice until you achieve a firm grip that means business.
Your 30-Second Pitch
Also known as your “elevator pitch”, you should be able to sum up your career history, achievements, and personal qualities within 30 seconds. Who are you? What do you do? Where do you want to go, or what are you looking for? These are the 3 questions that should be answered by the end of your half-minute.
Tips for your pitch include telling stories or anecdotes, eliminating jargon, practicing your pitch on friends and colleagues, and recording yourself on video to spot your own verbal cues and body language. Is your mini-speech interesting enough to captivate your audience? Is it even interesting to yourself? Practice your pitch regularly.
Speaking of body language, this graphic taken from one of our previous blog posts captures the essential body language to-dos during an interview.
Ask The Right Questions
From our post about “Interviewing Your Interviewer”, we mentioned that asking your potential employer questions lays down two things:
“Firstly, when done correctly, the questions you ask confirm your qualifications as a candidate for the position.
Secondly, you are interviewing the employer just as much as the employer is interviewing you. This is your opportunity to find out if this is an organisation where you want to work.”
More on what questions to ask your interviewer here.
Overall, practice, practice, and practice. You’ve got one shot at what could potentially be the best experience in your career, and now that you know how important the first 10 minutes are, you better start preparing for it!