Start as you mean to go on
How to make a great first impression at your interview
They liked your CV. You’ve got an interview lined up. You’ve photo-memorised their website and rehearsed so much at home you caught your child lecturing Teddy about ‘team work’. Now all you have to do is turn up and remember your research, right? Wrong. In fact, a Daily Mail article has stated that interviewers make hiring decisions in under seven minutes. Seven minutes! What this tells us, is no matter how much you carefully prepare content, if you don’t make a great ‘first impression’ then you’re really selling yourself short. So, here are just a few ways you can impress from the minute you arrive.
If you’re on time – you’re already late!
Now we hate to state the obvious, but being late is a huge no-no. Particularly if you’re conscious of mitigating any stigma around the ‘working mum’ factor. Making sure your childcare arrangements are watertight and that you’ve studied the travel route (if not done a trail-run) are basic ways to avoid unnecessary delays on the day. Most sources recommend arriving ten minutes prior to your meeting. We suggest arriving to the area twenty minutes before that – factoring in time to grab a quick cuppa, get your head in the game and walk into the venue cool, calm, collected.
Take pride in your appearance
Unless you’re going for a job in fashion, this is not about ‘wowing’ employers with stand-out pieces from your wardrobe. It’s about two things. First, dressing smartly is an indication to the interviewer that you respect the professional expectations of the role, not to mention that you want this job enough to have justified getting the iron out. Second, if you feel you look good, you’ll probably carry yourself far more confidently. So, don’t leave your outfit choice to the morning if that means frantically looking for whatever doesn’t have little sticky finger prints on it. And if you’ve been in Lulu Lemon for the last twelve months then make an effort to check that the ‘work gear’ you hibernated under the bed still fits. A ‘will it burst, will it not’ button is the last distraction you or an employer needs when you shake hands!
Confidence is key
As much as being qualified, employers want to know that A) you’ll be a nice human to work with and B) you can handle pressured professional situations – which this is. So even if you’re feeling nervous, and you’re dwelling on the fact that you had to prise yourself away this morning saying “No, you can’t come with Mummy today”, you have to leave distractions at the door, be present, and be positive. Seem like you really want to be there, because even if interviews are scary, you really do want this opportunity! Greet receptionists and interviewers with a friendly smile, make eye-contact and try your best not to fidget. Breathe, pinch yourself, you’ve got this.