Tips for making a great first impression at a job interview
As a jobseeker, a job interview may strike both hope and fear in your heart at the same time. Getting an interview is a job in and of itself, now you have to charm the socks off the hiring manager and show them what a catch you are. Although skills and qualifications certainly play a role in a hiring decision, making a good first impression will give you the extra leg up you need to finally score that perfect position. Here are a few tips to make sure you go into the interview with your best foot forward.
Be there on time
We know that life tends to run a little slower here in Hawaii, but potential employers still expect you to come into work on time. In fact, plan to show up a few minutes early (10 minutes is good). If you are running late, call your interviewer ASAP to let them know. But really, you should do your best to never get to that point. Arrive on time.
Dress to impress
Though this has been said many times before and should be a universally known truth by now, many people still miss the mark when it comes to dressing appropriately for an interview. Here in Hawaii, it’s not as common to wear a tie or suit to work, however it’s still important to dress professionally. Men should wear slacks and a fresh aloha shirt and women should wear a workplace-appropriate skirt and blouse. Make sure your fingernails are clean and you don’t overdo it with the cologne or perfume.
Show your aloha spirit
When you first meet the hiring manager, look him/her in the eye, smile, shake hands, exchange pleasantries, etc. You may be in a business environment, but especially here in Hawaii, a friendly and good-natured candidate will be better received than a stern, all-business attitude. Plus, a few moments of ‘talk story’ with your interviewer will help ease your nerves and make you more likable.
Um, you should like avoid, you know, filler words
A study by LinkedIn revealed that 45% of employers want to hire people with strong oral communications skills. That means that when you head into an interview, you need to think about how you speak and answer questions. When you’re nervous, it’s easy to start adding filler words to your sentences like um, like, and you know, but this comes across as unprofessional. Focus on eliminating these types of words while you talk. If you’re stumped by a question and feel the urge to start adding filler words, try repeating the question slowly to give you more time to process your answer.
Say thank you
Before you leave the interview, make sure you say ‘thank you’. Showing your gratefulness for the opportunity of an interview will be appreciated by the hiring manager. Gain extra points by sending a thank you letter or email a day or two after the fact.