During an interview you are evaluated on:
- How you answer the interviewer’s questions
- First Impressions
- Final Impressions
First impressions are extremely important during an interview. They can set the tone for the rest of the interview. A bad first impression can be hard to change. Here are some interesting statistics about interviews and first impressions:
- The average length of an interview is about 40 minutes.
- In a survey of 2000 bosses, 33% claimed that they know within 90 seconds of an interview whether they will hire someone.
- It takes 4 to 7 seconds for an employer to decide if they like you and trust you as soon as you walk through the door!
There are five elements to creating a positive first impression at an interview:
- Handshake: Handshakes happen first in an interview and can set the tone for the entire interaction.
- In Canadian culture, both men and women shake hands; it shows interest, openness and confidence
- People make an immediate judgement about your character and level of confidence through your handshake
- Here is a resource on handshakes:Importance of Handshakes in Interviews
- Eye Contact: Maintain eye contact while you listen and while you speak. Looking away can indicate a lack of interest or a lack of confidence in what you are saying.
- Direct eye contact will show that you are interested and listening, just don’t stare.
- In a panel interview, make eye contact with all the people interviewing you, not just the person who asked the question
- Enthusiasm: It’s important to look interested and show that you are genuinely happy to be there.
- A genuine smile will tell the interviewers that you are happy to be interviewing for that job; it also makes you look more sociable and confident
- Make sure you smile when you first meet the interviewers and smile often during the interview.
- Proper Body Language: Proper body language can demonstrate that you are competent and confident.
- Sit up straight with feet firmly on the floor and lean forward slightly to show you’re interested in the conversation.
- Keep your arms at your sides or rest them in your lap or on the table in front of you. Do not cross your arms, it can suggest that you are not confident or that you are hiding something.
- Manners: Be kind and polite to EVERYONE at the company.
- Do not chew gum.
- Ask where you should sit.
Here is more information on leaving a positive impression:
During the Interview
Pay attention to the following points during your interview to ensure you maintain a positive impression throughout your interview.
- Express a positive attitude
- Do not complain about traffic, the weather, your past employer or past co-workers
- When giving examples about interactions with co-workers, don’t use “he” or “she”; use the word “co-worker” or “colleague”
- Use positive body language
- Be clear and concise
- Use business language and avoid slang and verbal fillers like “umm” and “you know”
- Be sure to answer the question that you were asked – think before you speak
- Pay attention to the interviewer’s body language, if you have said too much they make look bored or check their watch. If you have not said enough, the interviewer may look like they are waiting for more information
Here are more resources on what to do during the interview:
How you conclude the interview is as important as first impressions and how you answered during the interview. Here are four things that you need to keep in mind.
- Ask Questions
The interview gives you a chance to get an impression of the organization. Asking good questions can help you decide if this is the right job for you and will make a lasting impression on the employer.
- In Canadian interviews, you are expected to ask questions during and at the end of the interview
- Prepare your questions before you go to the interview
- Prepare 5 to 10 questions – you want to have 2 or 3 questions to ask at the end of the interview
- Before you leave, tell interviewers that you are very interested in the opportunity
- Ask are what the next steps
- Thank everyone who interviewed you
- On your way out, thank the reception staff
- If you cannot get business cards, make sure that you obtain the interviewer’s name, title and contact information; you will need this to follow-up
- Call reception if you were unable to get this information on the day of the interview
Need more help?
Attend The Centre’s Interviews that “Impress Workshop” and learn what to do during an interview. You can also book an appointment with one of our Employment Advisors for one-on-one interview coaching.