Job Hunting Tip #5: First Impressions are Important

Although making a good first impression is always important, it is critical if you want to land a position in today’s soft job market. Generally common sense governs what you should or should not do; however, let me give you a few reminders:

  1. Don’t arrive late to an interview! We had one candidate who showed up almost 30 minutes late to a scheduled interview. When they finally made it to our lobby, we told him to go home. Ten minutes early equals on-time….thirty minutes early is sending a message that you don’t respect the employer’s time at all.
  2. Practice your firm handshake. Grabbing fingertips is not advised!
  3. Stay away from the garlic. No amount of mouth wash is going to mask your bad breath…and do not chew gum in the interview.
  4. Sit up and at the edge of your seat. Save the crossing of your legs or leaning back on the chair for when you have your family over for dinner.
  5. Retain good eye contact. Staring at the floor or the interviewer’s body parts is not advised.
  6. Pause a second before answering questions. This gives the interviewer the feeling that you are thoughtful and intelligent.
  7. Bring a copy of your resume. Although you sent the interviewer a copy of your resume already, you might have an ad hoc meeting with others in the office. Providing them with a copy of your resume demonstrates thoughtful consideration on your part.
  8. Come prepared with well articulated questions. Overwhelmingly interviewers will ask you if you have any questions. If your response is “not at this time” or “you have answered everything” then you are demonstrating that you are not prepared for the interview.
  9. Don’t talk about compensation. Ultimately you will need to do this and it is best that if a recruiter has served as an intermediary that you leverage off of that recruiter to negotiate financial terms on your behalf. Talking money right away is a bad idea.
  10. Never talk badly about your current or any previous employer. As bad as you feel you might have been treated in the past, nobody likes negativity. If you talk poorly about prior employers, what you will say about your employer after you leave the job for which you are applying?

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