First impressions count – we all know that. And it’s incredibly hard to shake the first impressions you make on your interviewer, so it’s essential that they are positive from the word go.

Contrary to popular belief interviewers do not make complete hiring decisions in the first few seconds of an interview. If it were completely true, interviews would be much shorter and harsher. So how does an interviewer makes an instinctive prediction about how personable you are?

They will question whether you are easy to talk to, pleasant to work alongside and good at establishing relationships quickly. A decision will also be made about how open you are too. Do you readily respond to questions and volunteer information? Do you help the interview flow? You might think this opening chemistry is entirely instinctive and outside your control; that’s a great way of keeping your head in the sand.

Here are a few ideas for your consideration before you head into your next interview:-

1)      Pace yourself

Slowing down slightly helps you sound measured and confident, while nervous chatter suggests you are covering something up. Speak clearly and at a volume that matches the interviewer.

2)     Practise small talk

Rehearse what you will say in the opening moments of the interview when someone asks one of the two classic questions: “tell us about yourself,” or “why are you interested in this role?” Do your homework and show real interest in the organisation. Be open and friendly to everyone, particularly reception staff who may be asked for their opinion after you leave.

3)     Plan your outfit and entrance

Yes, your walk-in appearance matters. Do you look and sound the part? Dressing so that you look comfortable yet carry authority is the secret. Check out the dress code of the organisation and try to look as if you already work there. Dress slightly conservatively and a touch more formally than employees already in post.

When you arrive, de-clutter; leave your coat, umbrella and bag in reception and remain standing so you are ready to greet your interviewer face to face as opposed to having to stand up and recompose yourself.

4)     Research the background of all the people interviewing you.

Note names and titles so that you are able to address the interviewer confidently, and give detailed, well-structured answers. You might ask directly “does that cover what you need?” Ask one or two good questions at the end, and look confident as you say goodbye, shaking each person’s hand and thanking them for their time.

Finally, beware of informal interviews. It’s always an interview, whether it’s in the boardroom, Starbucks, or at the gym. Even if you’re assured that it is just a conversation, prepare thoroughly.

Source: Guardian Careers