Understanding the Importance of the Interview: First Impressions

Create a good first impression in a job interview.

Body language and attitude

Make sure your body language during the interview projects a professional image.

  • Eye contact — Good eye contact conveys confidence and enthusiasm.
  • Facial expression — Smile. Imagine yourself as an interviewer meeting people all day. Walk in with a friendly and energetic face.
  • Energy level — Show enthusiasm.
  • Posture — Maintain good posture throughout the interview. Sit up straight, relax, cross your feet at your ankles or place feet firmly on the ground, don't slouch and don't rock back in your chair.
  • Don't chew gum.

Filling out an application

It may seem like a time-consuming chore, but there is a reason you must fill-out an application. Applications organize information about you into a format that is familiar to the employer. Most applications have room for all of your necessary information for experience, education, contacts, emergency numbers and tax information. Resumes do not always answer specific questions an employer may have. The application does, and that explains why there are many varieties of applications.

Always bring a resume!

It is always professional to have a resume with you. You will still be asked to complete applications, but having a resume tells an employer that you know how to present yourself effectively. Visit AIE's "Developing Your Resume" page for resume-writing tips. In addition there are other online articles as well as many good books at your local library, campus bookstore or local bookstores.

Ask for the job!

If you are truly interested in the job, ask for it. As you are preparing to leave, offer the interviewer your hand to shake, look directly into his or her eyes, and say how much you would enjoy working there. Tell the interviewer that you believe your skills and background are a perfect match to the company's goals and function, that you believe you have a lot to offer the company, and that such a great company has a lot to offer your continued career development, as well.

Thank you

Always send a thank you note! This is important, not just for the sake of good manners, but to get the job. If time constraints make it difficult to send a hand written note, at least send an email, written fax, or make a phone call and tell the interviewer, "Thank You."

Follow-up phone calls

Before leaving an interview, ask the employer to give you some idea when they will be making a hiring decision. If you haven't heard anything after one week, phone the interviewer and inquire whether the position has been filled. If a decision has not been made, now is a good time to let the prospective employer know that you are interested in the job. Many employers hire the most enthusiastic applicant out of a group of qualified candidates.

Here are other documents located on AIE.org that you may be interested in: