How to Make a Great First Impression at a Job Interview in 15 Easy Steps

Maddie Lloyd
by Maddie Lloyd
Get The Job, Guides - 3 years ago

Find a Job You Really Want In

To get started, tell us where you'd like to work.

Sorry, we can't find that. Please try a different city or state.


When you’re getting ready for an interview, you’re probably spending a lot of your time focusing on answering all of the most common interview questions in a way that shows you’re qualified and perfect for the job.

But here’s the kicker:

From the second you walk into an interview, every move you make can determine whether or not you get the job. Crazy, right? This means you’ll want to make sure you do everything right to make a good impression on not only the interviewer, but everyone you meet.

Here’s everything you need to do to make a great first impression at an interview and get the job:

1. Practice your answers before the big day

Do yourself a huge favor and practice your answers to the most common interview questions you can expect to hear. Practice in the mirror, or ask a friend or family member to help you out. Heck, practice with your dog if you need to.

Some of the questions you’ll probably encounter are “What sets you apart from other candidates?” or “What motivates you?” You’ll save yourself a lot of stress and anxiety by practicing your answers to these questions, trust us on this one.

2. Don’t go into the interview clueless about the company

You don’t want to be that dummy whose response is “Uhhh…” when asked what you know about the company. Do some research on their history, their mission, and their products and services.

While you’re at it, take a minute or two to check out any information you can find on the person who’s going to be interviewing you. It might even make it less stressful to feel like you’re not talking to a complete stranger.

3. Know everything there is to know about the job

Read the job posting, read it again, and then read it one more time. Memorize any important keywords or qualifications. Make sure you know everything that employer is looking for in a candidate and make sure that your cover letter, resume, and interview answers reflect these qualities.

4. Dress for the part

We all love to scoff at the notion of judging a book based on its cover, but the fact is — this is your only chance to make a good first impression, and the first thing someone is going to notice about you is how you’re dressed.

Make sure you’re well-groomed and dressed in business attire to show off your professionalism. Check out this article for more tips on how to dress for an interview.

5. Take it easy on the smells

Seriously, it’s going to be pretty difficult to make a good first impression on your interviewer if you suffocate them with an overwhelming amount of perfume or cologne.

Keep the scents light, or just keep it au naturale — that doesn’t mean you should forego showers for a week before your interview. Just make sure that you’re clean, well-groomed, and not exuding an excessive amount of smells.

Oh, and while you’re at it — make sure to brush your teeth. No one needs to know what kind of coffee you were drinking before the interview.

6. Show up early

When your dream job is on the line, the last thing you want to do is show up late.

Try to get to your interview 15 minutes early. This will give you just enough time to look over your resume, go over the answers you’ve practiced, and show that you’re excited for the opportunity.

If you happen to be running late, call as soon as possible to let them know. They’ll appreciate it much more than if you show up 30 minutes late with Starbucks.

7. Bring only the essentials and have your shit together

Leave behind anything and everything that isn’t essential to the interview. This means no coffee, no gum, no food, no computers, no coloring books, no pet alligators — you get the idea. If it doesn’t directly relate to the interview, leave it in your car.

On that note, for the things you do need to bring to your interview, make sure that they’re put together in an orderly fashion so you don’t look like a sloppy loser.

When your interviewer asks for a copy of your resume, you don’t want to have to dig through through crumpled old receipts and candy wrappers trying to find it. Looking organized and put-together is key to making a good impression.

8. Put your dang phone away

If you want to remove yourself from all of the stereotypes about millennials, you’re going to have to put that smartphone away. Smartphones are a comfort blanket of sorts nowadays, but you’re just going to have to go on without it for now.

Sure, it’s easy to whip out your phone and go through Twitter when you’re waiting and feeling nervous, but you’ll look way more professional looking over your resume than you would stuffing your phone in your pocket.

9. Take a deep breath and don’t panic

It might seem too good to be true, but focusing on your breathing is a great way to calm your nerves and stay composed. While you’re waiting, take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that you’re there because they thought you could be the best person for the job.

10. Make sure your hands aren’t sweaty

No one wants to shake hands with a cold limp fish. If you’ve been known to have clammy hands when you get anxious, go to the bathroom to wash and thoroughly dry your hands. If you’re pressed for time, grab a tissue to make sure your hands are dry.

11. Have a good handshake

While we’re on the subject of hands, it’s worth mentioning that a great handshake is a great way to make a good first impression.

When you greet the interviewer, introduce yourself with a firm handshake, a smile, and some solid eye contact that isn’t creepy.

12. Smile and make eye contact

Make to have a positive attitude, smile, and use eye contact when you meet your interviewer and while you’re answering questions. People who are positive and have good interpersonal skills are more likely to be hired.

But don’t overdo it — you don’t want to come off as creepy or have the interviewer think that you’re staring into their soul. Be positive and attentive, but don’t go overboard.

13. Be nice to the receptionist

Once you step through the doors of your interview location, every move you make is going to be judged — so that means you’re going to want to be nice and respectful to everyone you encounter.

As a matter of fact, some companies will ask their receptionists to report back on the attitudes of the candidates. So you’ll definitely want to be polite and respectful to everyone you meet — they could make or break your chances of getting a job.

14. Make small talk with your interviewer

After you’ve introduced yourself with a smile and a firm handshake, it’s time to solidify your awesome first impression with some good ol’ interview small talk.

Find something that you have in common, maybe a shared love of volunteering or an affinity for exercise. Mention something about the company or ask them questions about themselves.

Every part of an interview is a chance to sell yourself, and making small talk is a great way to get a lead over everyone else.

15. Be enthusiastic and share why you’re perfect for job

During an interview, always make sure to be enthusiastic and show that you’re passionate about what you’d like to do in your next job. Tell the interviewer that you’re excited for the opportunity to work with their company and that you’re excited for the interview (even if you’re not, they don’t have to know).

Back up your enthusiasm with examples of why you’re perfect for the job. Use your storytelling skills to share examples of your past achievements and show off your mad skills.

Now you’re ready to make a great first impression at your interview!

Every part of an interview is a test from the moment you walk through the door. Each and every move you make should be focused on present your best self and making a good impression.

Follow these tips and brush up on your interview etiquette, and you’re sure to make a great impression on your interviewer and land the job.

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time