How to Make a Good First Impression

You have moments to make a good first impression at a job interview. Don't botch it! 

Lisa B. Marshall
1-minute read

Let’s face it, we are all judged by our appearance. First impressions are formed quickly (in the first few seconds or minutes of meeting). Of course, first impressions at a job interview are absolutely critical -- and, more importantly, very difficult to reverse.

Before your interview, have a trusted colleague give you honest feedback on your handshake. If you’ve never been trained, there’s a pretty good chance you’re doing it wrong (and no one has ever told you). 

In the U.S., to convey confidence and professionalism, your handshake needs to be firm (but not crushing) and full-handed. Different countries have slightly different standards so if you are not interviewing in the U.S., be sure you get honest feedback from a native.

At the interview, wear well-fitting, wrinkle-free, professional attire. It’s a safe bet to wear something somewhat dressier than what the employees of the company wear to work. Be sure you have excellent posture and your smile is genuine. Wait a moment and let the interviewer initiate the shake. Pay close attention to his or her name. Finally, your first words should be respectful and thankful. Something like, "Maria, thanks for taking the time to schedule this interview."

Best of luck!

About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.

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