Whether you’re speaking with internal HR roles or external recruiters, interviewers have one intention of a first interview: to decide whether or not to invest more time in a candidate. Below we outline how you can make a strong first impression in order to advance to the next stage of the hiring process.

A checklist to help you prepare for your interview:

  • Oral communication skills
  • Organization and planning
  • Problem solving capabilities
  • Leadership inclinations
  • Creativity
  • Tolerance of ambiguity
  • Research the company you’re interviewing for.
  • Familiarize yourself with their products and services.
  • Bring a hard copy of your references and resume.
  • Most importantly, arrive on time.

Interview dos

A first impression can have a great impact on your interview. Your punctuality, preparation, and even wardrobe choices can all play a part in your first impression.

Be sure to:

  • Examine your strengths: Be ready to speak to the things that you can do with considerable success.
  • Seek to serve: Show the interviewer how you can be of service to them and their needs by tying your experience back to the role.
  • Be uniquely you: Don’t be afraid to show your personality and inherent individuality in order to attract the right job.
  • Stay poised and relaxed: Interviews are designed to see how you react under pressure—take a few deep breaths and remember how prepared you are.
  • Ask questions: Don’t dominate the conversation, but do ask follow up questions to make the interview feel more like a dialogue.
  • Bring up past successes: Prepare to discuss past results to show how you’ll bring value to your next employer.
  • Sit up straight, lean slightly forward, and look your interviewer in the eye: Confident body language is incredibly important—keep in mind that your resume has already earned you a spot in the conversation.

Check out our blog post on Creating a Winning Personal Brand, and set yourself apart in your next interview.

Interview don'ts

Even if you have the perfect background and a spotless resume, a few landmines can quickly derail the process.

Remember not to:

  • Dress too casually, or wear brown, orange, yellow, or purple
  • Lie about past employment or skills that you do not have
  • Slouch, cross your arms, or showcase other behaviors that imply a lack of confidence such as rambling
  • Forget to prepare questions in advance
  • Pose questions or provide answers in a potentially negative tone. Try the following adjustments to these common interview topics.
  • “How much will I get paid?”
  • Instead: prompt a professional discussion about projected salary range for the role.
  • “I couldn’t stand my last boss”
  • Instead: explain that the company’s vision didn’t align with your own—and outline how this company’s vision excites you.
  • “What does your company do?”
  • Instead: research the organization in advance and prepare probing questions that show your knowledge and gain you a deeper understanding of the role at hand.
  • “How can I get your job?”
  • Instead: ask about their career progression within the organization, and what they like most about working there.

Check out our blog posts on What Not To Say In An Interview and Interview Pro Tip: Don’t Get Drunk or Swear Like a Sailor for a more in-depth look into interview don’ts.