Eight ways to make a positive impression during a job interview

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) continues to report a promising outlook when it comes to the availability of local jobs.

With Louisiana recently setting a record for its lowest unemployment rate ever, it’s estimated that as of last month (July) a total of 2,027,635 people in Louisiana are working.

For individuals who are still on the job hunt, opportunities abound and it takes skill to make the best of these moments.

For example, it’s important to make a positive impression during the interviewing process.

How is this accomplished?

The following eight suggestions from experts below may be helpful in this regard.

#1 Do your research before the interview

Before going on a first date with a stranger, it’s common to do a bit of googling to find out what kind of person you’re going to meet up with. The same principle can be applied to a job interview.

According to Indeed, a popular employment website for job listings, “Understanding key information about the company you’re interviewing with can help you go into your interview with confidence.”

This key information can be found on the company’s website and on its social media posts.

#2 Prepare to describe your strengths and flaws

Two of the most commonly asked questions during a job interview are various forms of, “What are your greatest strengths?” and “Can you describe an area in which you need work?”

According to Psychology Today, it’s best to be proactive when it comes to questions like these. In other words, before the interview, prepare answers to these questions and include specific examples for each.

For instance, if you were hired as a restaurant server but took some initiative and volunteered to revamp the restaurant’s website, you might mention this as a specific example of your creativity and ambition.

As far as any negative aspects of your career experience, perhaps a struggle with perfectionism led to a delay in a project timeline or a miscommunication on your part led to a misunderstanding with a coworker.

There’s no shame in mentioning such specific examples as doing so will highlight your humility and eagerness to improve.

Psychology Today says, “Don’t worry about the possibility of having to drop some negative information about your past. Focus on how the experience helped you become better at what you do.”

#3 Prepare a list of questions for your interviewers

A job interview is not an interrogation, but a conversation that will allow both the potential employer and applicant to find out if the job is a good fit for both.

So, it’s likely the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions for them.

You might consider posing two or three questions, such as:

#4 Make sure all paperwork is neat, organized, and accessible

During the interview, you may be asked to provide another copy of your resume, a list of references, letters of recommendation, and a CV. So, instead of showing up empty-handed or having to search through a bag for these items it would be best to prepare a neat and organized portfolio with at least two copies of everything you might need.

Regarding this, The Muse says, “To make the best first impression, everything you need should be neatly organized and readily accessible: You should be able to pull out your resume, references, and even a pen (one that’s not completely mangled) on command. The less you have to rifle through your bag, the better.”

#5 Prepare a modest yet tasteful outfit

Before the interview, it may be advantageous to choose an outfit that comes across as professional and appropriate for an office setting, meaning it’s tasteful and modest.

In most cases, you can’t go wrong with a neatly pressed suit.

Even if you expect to dress more casually once you get the job, it’s typically best to attend an interview in office-appropriate attire than in jeans and a t-shirt.

#6 Show up early and be polite to the receptionist

Aim to arrive at least fifteen minutes prior to your interview time and when addressing the receptionist, be respectful and kind.

The Muse touches on this, saying, “The person at the front desk may not be the hiring manager—but that doesn’t mean his or her impression of you doesn’t matter. In fact, some companies specifically ask their front desk attendants to report back on the demeanor of interviewees who come through the door. And that likely plays a role in the ultimate hiring decision—so it’s important to treat that person as well as you’ll treat your interviewer.”

#7 Turn your phone off and listen attentively

During the interview, be sure to practice good manners by giving the potential employer your full attention. This means making sure your phone is on silent or off during the conversation. It also means listening attentively and conveying warmth throughout the interaction.

In a Psychology Today article on the subject, Dr. Glenn Geher explains how to come across as attentive and warm, explaining, “A warm person smiles, agrees with others, compliments others, and puts others at ease. These are all desirable characteristics and they all lead to positive evaluations from others (even, often, at an unconscious level). Sure, some people may naturally be warmer than others and you certainly don’t want to fake anything. But if you’ve got a splash of warmth in your character, I’d say to amplify it during the interview.”

#8 Keep answers concise, focused, and positive

The interviewer’s time is limited, so respect this by keeping your answers brief and straight-to-the-point.

Also important is the need to be sincere yet positive. This means avoiding any negative comments about previous employers. If you had a less than stellar relationship with your last employer, reframe it as a learning experience that taught you something positive. If the interviewer poses questions about your last job, you might want to keep your response brief and only mention the aspects of your work that were enjoyable.

On this note, Indeed says, “Companies want to hire problem solvers who overcome tough situations. If you’re feeling discouraged about your current job, focus on talking about what you’ve gained from that experience and what you want to do next.”

Hopefully, by applying the eight suggestions above, you’ll hone your interviewing skills and secure a job that provides both financial stability and personal fulfillment.