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“You only have one chance to make a first impression.”


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You only have one chance to make a first impression!

Congratulations! Your hard work, research and resume have paid off. The purpose of an interview is to allow the interviewer an opportunity to gather additional information about you. Interviews are conducted to learn about an individual’s job skills, behavioral traits, the ability to solve problems, organizational skills, and attitudes. Remember that the employer will determine if you are the best-qualified candidate and how well you will fit into the organization. In order to make a favorable impression, the applicant must give some serious thought and be well prepared to give organized and concise information in the following areas:

Steps in Preperation

Plan to arrive 15 minutes early. These precious minutes will give you the opportunity to relax, collect your thoughts and help you to focus on greeting the interviewer. Remember to be courteous with everyone with whom you have contact. At this point you don’t know who is who, and snubbing someone could prove to be disastrous. Don’t overlook the receptionist. If given the opportunity, take advantage of engaging in casual conversation with the receptionist. Usually they are, informally, gathering information about you and are a direct link to the interviewer.

  • Training, education and experience
  • Personal traits, values, interests, and skills as they relate to what the candidate can contribute to the position
  • Accomplishments, awards and acknowledgments of personal excellence that would be desirable to the employer
  • Defined, well thought out career goals that indicate the route taken towards those goals
  • Be able to articulate questions and working knowledge of the position in which you are applying
  • Formal (sources are located in the library or the Internet)
  • Annual Reports
  • Dun and Bradstreet’s Million Dollar Directory
  • Moody’s Manuals
  • Standard & Poor’s Register of Corporations, Directors and Executives
  • Thomas’ Register of American Manufacturers
  • Informal
  • Talk to people who work in the business
  • Call marketing, sales and public relations departments.
  • Ask questions about the business.
  1. Prepare your list of questions for the interviewer.
  2. Know the points about yourself you wish to state.
  3. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses prior to the interview.
  4. Keep this particular question in mind throughout the interview-”Why would someone want to hire me for this job?”
  5. Be prepared to explain your motivation.
  6. Stress accomplishments and achievements.

What to Wear

The matter of dress is important. Remember that first impressions are lasting impressions. Dress your best. This is a business interview and your appearance should reflect it as such. Always use common sense when dressing for the job. Here are some suggestions:

  • Be neat & clean
  • Be color-coordinated
  • Have clean fingernails
  • Have fresh breath
  • Wear a conservative, well-tailored suit
  • Have conservative jewelry & hair style
  • Make sure your shoes are shined
  • Wear minimal perfume or cologne

Credibility Outfits for Women:

  • Medium-range blue suit
  • Navy blue suit
  • Medium-range gray suit
  • Deep maroon suit
  • Beige suit
  • Camel suit
  • Tan suit


Your attitude speaks louder than your skill level and determines whether or not you will be successful during the interview process. Personal frustrations and setbacks in your job can affect your voice and demeanor. Avoid all signs of arrogance, abrasiveness, or showing a lack of interest. Use phrases like “seeking more opportunity” rather than “no room for advancement.” Boost your self-confidence and avoid nervousness by being well prepared. Concentrate on all of your skills and abilities before you get to the interview. Avoid racist, sexist, or negative remarks. Be polite. Be positive (even if you have to fake it).

Body Language

Sit up straight, look attentive, do not cross your arms or legs. Make eye contact. Typically, the interviewer is observing your body language to determine your level of interest. After all, the majority of the time our nonverbal language conveys more meaning than our verbal language.