Making A Good First Impression With Your Interviewer

Young woman having a job interview

By Susan Ricker, CareerBuilder writer

Meeting with a job interviewer evokes a strange feeling: This person, who you've likely never met before, has a strong hold over your future, and you want them to like you and approve of you. After all, that approval can translate to a job offer and other potential career perks.

What if you had a checklist of the important criteria the interviewer is hoping to see? A cheat sheet of what the interviewer is looking for in a star candidate?

From the time you get offered an interview to the days following your meeting with the hiring manager, there are some key steps to take that will ensure you meet the hiring manager's criteria, as well as stand out from the competition. Ford R. Myers, president of Career Potential, LLC and author of "Get The Job You Want, Even When No One's Hiring," offers job candidates his 10 guidelines to make a good - and lasting - first impression:
1. Be mindful of the other person's time. Ask how much time the other person has to devote to the meeting, and hold to that time frame.

2. Ask questions about the company and the open position.

3. Dress appropriately.

4. If you were referred by a mutual friend or colleague, reference that person in positive terms. This helps build a "personal bridge" and establish rapport.

5. Take notes throughout the interview. This shows that you are interested and engaged enough to be taken seriously.

6. Arrive to the meeting on time. This shows that you respect the other person and that you are a true professional.

7. Be fully prepared. Learn everything you can in advance about the company, the opportunity and the interviewer.

8. Make a connection between your past successes and how they relate to the prospective employer's needs and challenges.

9. Present yourself as a solutions provider rather than an applicant. Offer to be of service, and show genuine interest in helping the interviewer solve his business problems.

10. Follow up with a timely thank-you note. This is a must.

From Myers' tips, it's clear that hiring managers are most likely to consider candidates who demonstrate an actual interest in the position and company and show respect for the interviewer's time and expertise. Also key to a job candidate's success is creating a personal bond with hiring managers: Any common bond you can establish with them makes them more likely to view you as a good fit for their organization and someone they can relate to and work alongside.

Remember that the interview isn't a time to coast by on your intuition or something that you can get through by faking it. These opportunities are still infrequent for many job seekers and shouldn't be treated lightly. "In today's tight job market, so few job seekers actually make it to the interview stage," Myers says. "By incorporating these simple suggestions into the interview process, job seekers will make a good first impression, be memorable, receive better feedback and ultimately get more job offers."

And as Myers' tips and advice reveal, by taking time to prepare for the interview, being mindful of the hiring manager's needs and taking steps to be punctual and thoughtful before and after the interview, it's possible to make a strong impression on the hiring manager and even get the job.

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