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5 Tips on how to nail an interview in the first 5 minutes

03 Jun 16:00 By Lawrence Akers

5 Tips Interview
The first few moments of your interview can have a major impact on how well the rest of it goes. Here are my 5 tips to start strong.
1. The interview starts at home
The interview starts long before you are in front of the interviewer.  Make sure you set out with a good attitude and in a professional manner the minute you leave the house.
Make sure you arrive early enough to allow yourself time to settle in. Put your phone on silent mode, make conversation with the receptionist and take in your surroundings – you might notice something that will make a useful 'small-talk' topic later. Don’t try and cram in any last-minute facts – you want to come across as calm and organised, not flustered and under-prepared.  
2. Treat everyone you meet as your interviewer
Make sure that you’re polite and friendly to everyone you come across in the interview process. From greeting the receptionist, to the people you share a lift with, to walking through an open-plan office to reach your meeting-room. These are all touchpoints with your potential future employer and colleagues, who will often share their impressions of visitors afterwards. Make sure that everyone you come into contact with sees you in a positive light.
3. First impressions do count

So in those first few minutes, it’s all about smiling confidently, shaking hands firmly, making eye contact and generally looking as if you’re glad to be there and you want the job. In everything you do, project an attitude of energy, enthusiasm and interest.  

Clothes-wise, try to match your dress style to that of the company you’re meeting. You should be able to get a good idea of the company’s typical dress code through its website and social media, especially any content about its working culture, and your recruiter can advise you too. You want to project some personality and charisma, but you also want to come across as a good fit.

4. Be prepared for small talk

As part of your interview preparation, it’s a good idea to think ahead to some likely topics that might come up, so as to help keep the conversation flowing smoothly. The key is to come up with topics where you may have a shared interest, so that you’re able to both ask and answer credible questions.   

Think about topical themes. For example, has your potential employer been in the news recently? Or could you ask about the potential impact on the company of a recent event? In each case, make sure you have an interesting thought of your own to contribute.  

5. Be ready with key questions

It’s a good idea to have two or three key points that you want to make about what you have to offer and what you’re looking for – for example, ‘I’m ready for the challenge of managing a team’, ‘I combine creative experience with technical expertise’, ‘in my career, I’ve developed a fully integrated campaign’. 

These are the three key points that you want your interviewer to remember about you. So try and work them in naturally whenever you can, even in the first few minutes. It’s also important to have a ready answer for some of the most common questions that come up early on – such as ‘tell me why you want this job’ and ‘what’s your understanding of what this job involves?’ 

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