In the midst of a struggling economy, jobs are harder to come by than ever. People searching for new employment can often feel at a loss when faced with the realities of today’s economy. Actually securing an interview is a huge accomplishment, but it’s important to make sure that you stand out from the hoard of other job seekers competing for the same position. Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to make certain that you’re cementing a great and lasting first impression.
- Be on time. Sure, it’s understandable that life can often get in the way. Realistically, though, an employer is going to be immediately turned off by an applicant who can’t be bothered to show up when they’re scheduled. You may have had a horrible morning – the interviewer doesn’t want to hear it and doesn’t care. They have their own jobs to do, and your tardiness likely sets them behind schedule. So, leave extra early and wait in the parking lot if you have to, but make sure to arrive five to ten minutes before your interview is scheduled to start.
- Come prepared. Although most employers will have your resume and sometimes even your references printed out from your application, it never hurts to bring extra copies. Also make sure to have any other paperwork or documentation they have asked for or that logic dictates you may need. They’ll be impressed that you’re thinking ahead.
- Know about the company and job you’re interviewing for. Researching a job and a company ahead of time tells the employer that you were interested in their position, not just any position. It can also help you be better prepared for the questions that they might ask during the interview.
- Don’t ask about money! While we all realize that money is obviously a key factor in whether or not a job is for you, it’s downright tacky to bring it up yourself. Either let them introduce the topic of payment or assume that it’s something that can be shared during a later interview.
- Keep it friendly, but professional. Have a good attitude, make eye contact, and laugh at their jokes, but don’t go off on long winded personal tangents that have nothing to do with the position. Make sure the conversation stays focused on the position, the company, and how you fit their needs.
These five simple steps are a great building block for a fabulous first impression. Know them, live them, and you’ll be surprised at the opportunities coming your way.