Don’t underestimate the importance of first impressions. The reason why first impressions matter is because they last well beyond that moment. The tendency to recall information presented at the start is also referred to as the primacy effect in social psychology.
Often times, interviewers will typically make up their mind about an applicant in the first 3 minutes and spend the rest of the interview finding out information to help confirm their initial impression. On this page, you’ll learn how to introduce yourself in a job interview and make a good first impression.
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#1 Print Your Cover Letter, CV & Job Description
You’ll feel more comfortable if you print and take your cover letter, CV and the job description to the interview. Highlight the most important information so you can have a quick sneak peek if you forget or want to address something. That way, you’ll also come across as punctual, organized and well-prepared.
#2 Dress Appropriately For Your Interview
Appearance plays a significant role in leaving a good first impression. How you dress will represent, in part, who you are and your intentions for the job opportunity. What you need to wear, also referred to as the dress code, depends on the position and company culture.
Formal Interview Attire
There are many job interviews that require formal attire. These include, but are not limited to: bank clerk, accountant, investment banker, lawyer, real estate agent, political and financial consultant.
For men, this means a single-breasted, two piece suit in dark colours with a white or light-coloured dress shirt and conservative tie. Wear dark gentleman shoes that are polished and free of scratches and stains.
For women, a blouse, dress pants or a statement dress is appropriate. You can also wear a skirt as long as it’s no shorter than two inches above the knee with tights or stockings under your skirt with 2-6cm heels.
Remember, don’t wear formal clothes if that makes you uncomfortable or insecure. Instead wear semi-formal clothes if that makes you feel better.
Casual Interview Attire
Nowadays, most job interviews require a more relaxed / casual interview attire. For example, if you have an interview at a startup company or an IT environment, you don’t want to look too formal.
For men, this means a casual shirt, chino’s or dark trousers (no jeans) and leather shoes. For women, a casual shirt / cropped cardigan, dark coloured jeans or knee length skirt. Wear flats or small heel shoes.
#3 Prepare Right Before The Interview
Make sure you arrive 20 minutes before the interview starts. That way, you avoid being late and, if needed, you can use the toilet upon your arrival. Once you arrive at the interview venue, re-read the job description and rehearse your first interview answer to the question:
“Tell me more about yourself” or “Can you introduce yourself?“
#4 Make a Good First Impression
In between the preparation, you probably need to check in at the reception. Step forward and introduce yourself with your full name, interview time and the interviewer’s name:
“Hi, my name is [Name Surname] and I am here for the [12 p.m.] interview with [Recruiter’s Name].”
You’ll be asked to wait while the recruiter comes to meet you. While you are waiting, don’t check your phone but instead read your documents and pay attention to your posture.
When the recruiter arrives to greet you:
- Stand up, smile and offer to shake hands
- Give a firm handshake and make eye contact
- Introduce yourself by saying:
“I’m [Name Surname], it’s a pleasure to meet you” OR “It’s nice to meet you in person.”
They’ll do a quick tour to the interview room. Once arrived you should wait for the recruiter to invite you to sit, and then take the seat they gesture to. It’s the proper etiquette as part of the introduction.