Rightly or wrongly, it’s human nature to make a snap judgement when connecting with a person for the first time. What’s more, it’s difficult to change this view, even if you receive information that contradicts it.
This is precisely why first impressions really matter when job hunting. Here’s eight key ways to ensure you make a good one!
1. Clean Up Your LinkedIn And Socials Before Applying For Jobs
Your digital footprint can make a big difference in your job search. Your professional and social networking sites are often the first thing a recruiter or hiring manager will review after receiving your job application. What do yours say about you?
Take the time to review all your socials, paying particular attention to LinkedIn. Try to curate some interesting and relevant content, either by writing posts yourself or re-sharing from thought leaders in your industry. You can take it a step further by connecting with other professionals in the IT field.
2. After Applying, Go The Extra Mile
Once you’ve submitted a job application, connect with the recruiter on LinkedIn and/or via email. A short but genuine message to let them know your interest in their position could be the thing that lands you an interview.
3. Do Some Extensive Interview Preparation
There are plenty of things you can do in the lead up to your interview to ensure you make the best impression possible:
Try to find out as much as you can about the organisation. This includes their history, values, culture, company structure, operations, current projects, as well as recent achievements and accolades.
Carefully review all aspects of the role by reading through the job ad and position description. If the position is advertised with a recruitment firm, get in touch with the consultant. They can provide you with invaluable insights into the role to help you further prepare.
Questions And Answers
Try to project what questions you may be asked and prepare some answers. Cover both technical and behavioural questions. Then, consider your relevant skillset and prior experience, and draw on these to provide concrete examples of how you can add value to the company.
The questions you ask during your interview are just as important as the ones you’ll be asked. This is your chance to show the recruiter your sincere interest, and demonstrate the research you’ve done about the role and company at large.
4. Do A Practise Run – Especially If It’s A Video Interview
Once you’ve done your interview prep work, ask a friend, family member or your recruitment consultant to help you do a trial run. This will assist in locating any information gaps.
If the interview is online, it’s also vital to do a practise run with your tech set up, including picking the best location.
5. Dress Appropriately
While formal business attire may not be required, it’s still important to pay attention to your physical appearance, as it forms part of making a good first impression.
Clean ironed clothes, neat hair and proper hygiene are all essentials (consider a mint to get rid of that coffee breath!).
6. Be On Time – In Fact, Be Early!
For in-person interviews, aim to arrive around 15 minutes early. This shows the interviewer you value punctuality and also gives you some breathing room for unforeseen events, such as traffic congestion, public transport interruptions or location difficulties.
Extra tip – warmly greet the receptionist or other support staff when arriving. You’d be amazed how much their opinion can matter!
If you have an online interview, be ready at least 10 minutes before. By this stage, you should have already done a practise run to take care of any potential technical glitches.
Whether online or in-person, it’s also imperative to remember to switch off your phone.
7. Use Positive Body Language
You’d be surprised how non-verbal signals can impact the impression you make. Crossed arms, excessive frowning or fidgeting can all project the vibe you’re either standoffish, or lack confidence.
Positive body language encompasses using natural eye contact, smiling and sitting up straight. A slight lean forward when talking can also indicate interest. Practising these things will have you exuding friendliness and confidence, which is a great thing to aim for.
8. Follow Up
Once the interview is over, send the recruiter an email or text thanking them for the opportunity, while restating your interest in the role. Not everyone takes this step and by doing so, you’re likely to stand out from the crowd.
In following these eight tips, you’ll be equipped with the right tools to make an ideal first impression on your potential employer. If you’d like some more assistance in preparing for interviews, feel free to let us know, as it’s one of the key (and most enjoyable!) parts of our job as recruitment consultants.