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Making impressions: no second chance!

Important rule of job interviews: you’ll never be given a second chance to make a first impression. The first interview with a company is all-important, for it will make or break your opportunity to progress to a second interview or get a job offer. Here are some tips to help you score at your first meeting and increase your chances for a next one.

  • Dress good. No flamboyant dressing! Go conservative. For example, white long sleeve shirts with a tie for men. For ladies, wear minimal jewelry. Make-up should be restrained, fingernails nails clean, neat and not brightly polished.

  • Smell good. Watch what you eat before the interview and keep a breath mint on hand. Never chew gum during an interview. Also, have a good bath before you go, and wear light perfume or cologne.

  • Time it well. Don’t plan an interview before work or during lunch if your time does not permit it. Allow more time for the interview than you think you need to avoid feeling rushed.

  • Be conscious of your body language. Look the interviewer in the eye. Remain professional in posture and demeanour. Sit up straight and control your nervous habits.

  • Speak clearly and enthusiastically about your skills, knowledge, and abilities. Answer all questions to the point, and don't reveal more information than necessary.

  • Be pleasant, but not overly friendly. You are interviewing for a job, so remain professional.

  • Listen carefully. Don't interrupt the speaker. If you need to take notes, ask for permission. Sometimes, there may be long pauses during the interview. Don’t let it make you feel uncomfortable.

  • Always be positive. Never run down your previous employer. Be prepared for questions that can make you look bad, like "Tell me about a weakness."

  • Do your homework. There’s always the Internet. Learn as much about the company as possible. If possible, brush up on the industry by reading the newspapers or industry publications.

  • Don’t be late. If you're not familiar with the location of the company, get a map. Try to look over the area to find the location a few days before the interview.

  • Etiquette. Know what to do if lunch or dinner is part of the interview.

  • Write a thank you note. Be professional until the end. Give them a “thank you” note once the interview is over. Ask for the interviewer’s business cards so that you know how to spell their names and addresses properly.




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