First impressions matter

Employers really only hire people they like, unless they have no other choice. So, it is in your best interest to be able to establish a positive rapport with new people quickly. This does not mean you have to be loveable, but you need to be likeable, and not just to the interviewer.

There is a saying that an interviewer's first impression of you will stick for 20 minutes. The interviewer will then spend the remainder of their interaction with you trying to affirm this first impression. So, you don't want to start off by giving them the wrong impression, as you won't have the opportunity to correct it.

In an article for Forbes, Jack Kelly states, "You can have all of the necessary attributes to effectively succeed in the job - strong references and having attended top schools - but if the employers involved in the hiring process can’t connect with the interviewee on a personal level, they may hold off on extending an offer." In other words, sometimes being likeable is more important than having all the right skills or experience for a role.

There are a number of things you can do during your next interview to increase your likeability. According to Forbes, you should:

  • Show up looking sharp, polished and wearing appropriate attire for the role, and arrive early to freshen up.
  • Show a genuine interest during your interactions with others - focus on the interviewer and engage in active listening, don't interrupt or get distracted while they are speaking. Show that you are paying attention by nodding your head and reiterating important points.
  • Make eye contact with the interviewer, but don't overdo it.
  • Interject and ask questions as you see fit. Don't leave all of your questions until the end of the interview.
  • Be aware of your body language and make an effort to be warm and open. Smile when appropriate, don't cross your arms or sit stiffly and take care to not squirm or fidget.
  • Use the interviewer's name from time to time to create intimacy.
  • Mirror the interviewer's tone and language.
  • Stay positive and upbeat in your language and mannerisms, and avoid negative comments about past bosses and jobs.

The interviewer isn't the only person you need to impress

Imagine it's time for your next interview. You arrive a little nervous and announce your arrival to the receptionist, stating "I'm here for an interview with John Smith". It's a bit short, because you are focused on your upcoming performance. The receptionist asks you to "please take a seat and wait over there". So you wait, and you do so until the interviewer appears. 

Many people do exactly this - they wait until it's time for the interview to perform, and don't consider their interactions with others up until that point. However, while the interviewer will have the final say on whether or not you progress, they will often support their decision with the opinion of influencers. And one such influencer is the receptionist.

Once your interview has concluded and you have left the building, the interviewer will likely ask the receptionist "what did you think?". The answer you need the receptionist to give is something along the lines of "he/she was really friendly - I think they would fit in well here". 

So, when it's time for your next interview, strike up a friendly conversation with the receptionist and make a genuine connection instead of just sitting and waiting. While this is fairly easy for extroverts, it's a harder for introverts and may require a bit of effort. However, it's worth it, as the receptionist's opinion may influence the interviewer enough that they call you in for a second interview or offer you the job.

If you'd like more tips on how to ace your next interview, click the button below to access our free e-book.


Christian Madsen - Managing Director at 11 Recruitment
Christian Madsen
Managing Director
11 Recruitment

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