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How to make a good first impression at an interview

Posted on: 01 May
When an employer invites you to come in for an interview, they already think that you’re qualified to do the job at hand. Having seen your CV, cover letter, and perhaps even your social media accounts, they should already have decided that you are the kind of person that they could see filling the vacancy that they currently have.

However, coming in for an interview is the vital next step in the job-hunting process. It’s here that employers will decide whether your skill set, your personality, and your personal values align with that of the company’s, and make you the perfect fit for your job. And with the average job opening attracting an average of 250 applications, it’s important that you stand out from the crowd by making a great first impression.

Here’s how to do it.

Be polite 

Nothing puts off a potential employer faster than a rude candidate, and that’s a quality that is evident from the moment you step through the reception doors. From the receptionist to the person who takes you to the interview room, it pays to be polite to the people working there: put your phone away, make eye contact, and shake their hand. If the situation calls for it, try and make some small talk. It’ll all go a long way to showing that you’re the kind of person that others want to work with, and somebody who will fit well into the team. 

Be prompt

The best time to show up for an interview is ten to fifteen minutes before the scheduled time- and in a recruitment market where interviews are often crammed into a busy working day by overworked interviewers, arriving late can be a deal-breaker for many. Being late implies that you don’t care enough about the job you’re applying for to make a good impression¸ so make sure you factor in a buffer zone of at least half an hour onto your travel time to make sure you get there on time, if not early.

Be organised

Being organised for an interview is a must, especially if you want to look like you know what you’re doing. It’s almost guaranteed that your interviewer will ask you for an updated copy of your CV within a few minutes of walking through the door; make sure you have one to hand, as well as a notepad and a pen that are easily accessible, so you don’t have to spend an age rifling through your bag to fish them out. The same applies for what you bring with you, which should include only the essentials: though a coffee might sound tempting, the first question you ask an interviewer should not be where the rubbish bin is. Pack light!

Dress to impress

Striking the right tone with what you wear can be a minefield. Take some time to assess your wardrobe, and look into the company for tips: is it a corporate enterprise, which favours suits and dresses, or is it more of a casual startup? Once you’ll know it’ll be easier to find the perfect outfit, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to getting ready for an interview: after all, if you arrive underdressed, you won’t look quite as professional, prepared or enthusiastic as you would arriving in a three-piece suit.

Do your research

A shocking 47% of candidates admit to having had little or no knowledge of the company they were applying to during the interview process. Don’t be one of those people- though of course the bulk of this knowledge will come in handy during the main body of the interview, make the effort to find out where the company is located, and who your examiners are, will make a huge difference from the start- whether it’s greeting the interviewers by their names or making small talk about the field that your prospective company specialises within in the lift.

Be confident

Though of course interviews can be understandably daunting, it’s important that you go in and project a confident image to the people that you’re meeting. 33% of bosses say that failure to make eye contact is a common non-verbal mistake that often costs the candidate, and it’s easy to see why: if you don’t believe in yourself, why should the interviewers believe in you, and believe that you’re the ideal candidate for the job? 

Instead, stand tall, make eye contact with your interviews, and speak slowly, especially when you introduce yourself: you’ll impress them, and come across as relaxed, confident and professional.

Stand out from the crowd.

With IQVIA, we pride ourselves on connecting the freshest talent to the best pharmaceutical sales jobs around the world. To kick-start your career with us, take a look at our jobs, or why not find more interview tips and tricks in our article section?