How to nail a job interview in the first 5 minutes?


Lots of bosses say they know within 90 seconds whether they will hire someone, or it takes about a 1/10 of a second to form an impression of your trustworthiness – and that impression rarely changes later. The first few moments of your interview can have a decisive impact on how well the rest of it goes. This article will share on how to start strong – together with some cautionary tales of what not to do during interviews.



The interview starts as soon as you leave the house

The interview starts long before you shake hands and sit down around the table. You never know who you might bump into while you commute. So make sure you project a friendly, confident, professional air from the moment you set off. Doubtless you’ll have made sure you arrive early. Give yourself time to settle in. Make conversation with the receptionist, put your phone on silent mode and take in your surroundings – you might notice something that will make a useful small-talk topic later. 

Be ready for the small talk 

So as part of your interview preparation, it’s a good idea to think ahead to some likely topics that might come up. The key is to come up with topics where you have a shared interest, so that you’re able to both ask and answer credible questions. For example, if you’re a sports fan and you spot signs that your interviewer is too, perhaps you could ask a suitable question that you’ve also got an interesting answer to (‘So who’s going to win the Cup this year?’). 

Create a strong first impression

Clothes-wise, try to match your dress style to that of the company you’re meeting. You should be able to get a good idea of the company’s typical dress code through its website and social media output, especially any content about its working culture. If in doubt always err on the formal side. First impressions count, and non-verbal cues matter even more than verbal ones. So in those first few minutes, it’s all about smiling confidently, shaking hands firmly, making eye contact and generally looking as if you’re glad to be there and you want the job. 

Find more career advice, please visit our Career Advice page.

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