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Top 5 Tips to Make a Good Impression in Your Next Interview

Speak to anyone who is responsible for interviewing people as part of their job role and they will tell you that they pretty much know within the first 30 seconds if the candidate is right for the job. Just 30 seconds can shape someone’s future – that is not a lot of time and chances are, not a lot has been said in that time either!

Research backs up this claim too. Even though we would all like to believe that qualifications matter (after all, there was a lot of hard work that went into obtaining them), it seems first impressions really do matter.

Fear not! Here are five tips that can help you perform well in your next job interview:

1. Preparation is the key to success

Before you even think about what to wear and how to act, you need to think about what you know! Chances are, you had to carry out some research about the job role and the company at the point you submitted your application – now is the time to expand on that research!

Research the company:

  • How long have they been operating?
  • What do they do?
  • Who are their competitors?
  • What makes them different to their competitors?
  • What has been their biggest success to date?
  • What is their company mission and their values?

The interviewer may not ask any questions relating to this research, but you can certainly drop the information into your answers, to help add depth to your replies.

Pre-empt the questions - Look at the job advert/specification and identify what you think the key skills are that they are looking for in a candidate. A hiring manager will want to extract this information from any candidate, so jot down five possible questions you think they would ask around these skills and prepare your answer. To really stand out, ensure you provide evidence of when you have used these skills in previous roles. They may not ask the exact same questions that you have prepared for, but you will have some answers ready to choose from, which you can tailor to the questions they ask. Here are some examples of questions to help you.

Prepare a portfolio – a hiring manager loves to see someone who is prepared, so purchase a plastic envelope file that can hold the following items:

  • Your resume and cover letter
  • The job advert/specification you used to prepare – highlighted areas looks good!
  • A pen – Take notes if you feel comfortable doing that
  • A list of questions you have prepared to ask at the end of the interview – these should be well thought out, pertinent and aimed to show that you are interested in the company and the job role. They could link into the research you have carried out about the company, to highlight you have done your homework.

2. Dress to impress

Your brain is ready, now it is time to look the part. Here are some points to consider when getting ready:

  • Dress in professional attire
    The dress code in the office may be anything goes, but in an interview, dressing smartly in a suit, dress, trousers with a button up shirt is an absolute must. Think classic, not trendy; you need to sell yourself and package yourself up in the best possible way.
  • Be comfortable
    Make sure you are not dressed in something too tight, too revealing or too baggy. If you need to check with someone if the outfit really does look okay, change the outfit and wear something else. Feeling good in what you wear is a huge confidence booster.
  • Smell just right
    Interview rooms tend to be on the smaller side and so don’t go over the top (and vice versa) with the deodorant, perfume and aftershave, as this can be overwhelming for everyone in the room.
  • Remove excess baggage
    Remove loose change from your pockets, turn off your mobile phone and throw your bottle of water or coffee in the bin. Don’t wear any big, sparkly jewellery either, as this could easily distract the interviewer.

3. Your arrival

Being late for an interview is not an option. If the worst happens and you are running late, you MUST call to apologize and explain the reason. Hopefully, the interview can still occur when you arrive or be rearranged.

Plan for the unexpected and aim to arrive at least 30 minutes early, however, do not enter the office 30 minutes early! Sit in your car or pop into a coffee shop close by and plan to enter the building 10 minutes prior to the allocated time. The hiring manager will probably still be carrying out their day job, as well as conducting other interviews so they will be very busy. Arriving too early can make them feel rushed to meet you.

Chances are, it won’t be the hiring manager that you meet first. However, make sure you treat everyone you meet as if they are the hiring manager as you can bet your bottom dollar they will pass on any negative feelings they have about you to the person conducting the interview!

4. The greeting

You have done your research, you are dressed professionally, you arrived at the perfect time and now it is time to build that rapport!

  • The handshake
    Wipe your hands before you enter the building to avoid having sweaty palms, then approach the handshake with confidence. Don’t crush the person’s hand but be firm – no one likes a limp handshake! Shake all the attendees’ hands and stand up if someone walks into the room later than everyone else.
  • Eye contact
    Meet the person’s eyes as you give the handshake and smile with your eyes while saying your greeting. Maintain eye contact throughout the interview.
  • Body language
    Be alert in your body language and mirror those in the room. Do not slouch and ensure you act interested. It’s also important to try to avoid excessive hand gestures or fidgeting.

For further advice, check out 5 nonverbal mistakes to avoid during your job interview.

5. Be yourself

You want this company to hire you, not a pretend version of yourself, so be genuine in your interview. Don’t be afraid to show passion about something if it helps to highlight that you are the right person for that job role and remember that an interview is also about you discovering if the company is the right fit for you.


If you do your homework, dress correctly and conduct yourself well, then rapport will happen naturally, so you can relax into the interview and get on with showing the hiring manager what you are made of.

Thinking of hiring a career coach to help you brush up on your interview skills and land your dream job? Browse our directory of career coaches and get a FREE consultation or request a personalized coach recommendation!

About the Author Upskilled

Upskilled is a leading Registered Training Organisation (RTO) that innovates the effective and efficient delivery of vocational qualifications and short courses to working professionals, job seekers and school leavers. As one of the largest RTOs in Australia, we partner with businesses and career-minded individuals to secure superior measurable outcomes. You can visit our website to find out more, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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