Did you know that the first five minutes of an interview are often the most important?

As soon as you walk into the room, your prospective employer is already making tons of snap judgments about you that will inevitably influence their hiring decision. How are you dressed? What’s your energy like? Did you arrive on time? There are so many small—but highly important—ways to make a great first impression in a job interview. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Arrive on time.

This one may seem obvious—of course you need to show up on time—but accidental lateness is one of the fastest ways to lose a great job. Nobody plans to be late to an interview. But without organization it can happen to anyone. To avoid it, always make sure you leave your house early. This way if you get stuck in traffic or miss your bus, you have a buffer. Laying out your clothes the night before, setting two alarm clocks, and putting all of your personal belongings (purse or briefcase, resume, jacket, keys, etc.) in a tidy pile by your front door are other great ways to protect yourself against being late for your interview.

Practice your handshake.

A firm, professional handshake sends a message loud and clear that you’re mature, confident, and serious about the position. It’s a small gesture, but it makes a big impression on a prospective employer. Before you go to your interview, practice your handshake on a friend or family member. You want it to be firm, but not too tight. Most importantly, it shouldn’t be too soft and non-committal.  

Make strong eye contact.

When you make strong, steady eye contact, you let your employer know that you feel comfortable and secure. You also appear trustworthy. If eye contact is something that you struggle with, practice on your friends or loved ones (maybe the same ones you tested out your interview handshake on). You could also practice in front of the bathroom mirror. It may feel silly at first, but getting comfortable speaking and listening while maintaining good eye contact is a very valuable interviewing skill.

Do you have more questions about job interviews? Or perhaps you’re looking for a new job? If so, reach out to HCR today. We are a leading GTA and Southwestern Ontario employment agency with offices in Toronto, Newmarket, Milton, and St. Thomas.

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