There are so many things that go into a successful interview. And all in all, content is king. Your stories and your ability to tell them effectively are going to make you stand out above all else. However, there are a lot of small “deal-breakers” to avoid along the way.
Here are 7 simple things you can do to make a positive first impression during an interview.
If there’s a morning interview slot, take it.
When you walk into an interview, you have no idea what kind of day your interviewer is having. Your chances of it still being a good one are better earlier in the morning. At the end of the day, your interviewer will probably be tired. They may be burnt out after interviewing five other candidates. You don’t know. So, if there’s a morning slot – snag that one.
Don’t assume people remember who you are. At a fast-paced company, there’s a good chance your interviewer has met with many people already in the day and will be trying to remember the name on their calendar reminder when you step into their office. Be proactive. Introduce yourself (First and last name. You are not Beyonce.) and shake their hand. Maybe even remind them the position you are interviewing for.
Say “Yes” to water or coffee.
Take the cup into the interview with you, and take it back to the kitchen / trash / dishwasher when the interview is done. The cup of water/coffee is actually a classic interview test. It’s polite to accept something when it’s offered, and it’s polite to clean up after yourself. Be polite, and pass the test.
Bring a hard copy of your resume.
Make sure it is no color that is not white. Also, make sure that it is no number of pages except one. Bring a couple extras in case you meet with more than one person. No excuses, just do it.
Bring questions that are non-Google-able.
Before any interview, you should thoroughly research the company. Read everything you can get your hands on about the company, and spend some time coming up with questions that you are genuinely curious about.
Non-Google-able includes questions you can use to connect with your interviewer such as why they like the company or what their biggest challenges are. Use this as an opportunity to ask where the company has the most pain points, or where they are looking to grow. It shows you’re ready to have an impact.
You’ve turned this into a two-way conversation with your kickass questions. Now, demonstrate that you care what the interviewer is saying and that you’re invested in learning more about this company in order to help solve their problems. Take notes.
Send a thank you note.
Don’t wait. Make sure this is the very first thing you do after completing the interview. Sending a thank you note over email is just fine – so make sure you have the email of your interviewer before you leave in order to do this. Thank your interviewer for your time, mention something specific about your conversation, reaffirm your interest in the role / company. You can’t make a second first impression, so be sure your last impression is strong.
Michaela Gianotti is Koru's content manager. She attended Whitman College, where she spent the better part of four years convincing her family that English majors can get jobs too. She has since found awesome work (SEE!) at 826 Seattle, msnNOW, and Koru.