Make the best first impression with graduate recruiters

Make the best first impression with graduate recruiters

Handshake, smile, eye contact: check! You don't need to be told that the impression you give in the first few minutes of the interview is of critical importance. Find out how to leave a lasting impression right from the start.

Even the most professional interviewer is a human being first and a professional second. But however nervous you feel, you must not enter the room looking and feeling like a victim. There are just three things to concentrate on at the start of the interview: your eyes, your mouth and your hands:

Eyes: make contact, but don't stare!

A great deal of communication between two people takes place through the eyes, so look at the interviewer. Aim for an open, confident gaze rather than a fixed stare, but do look. Remember, they liked you enough to invite you for an interview, so they will be happy to see you. The interviewer is not your enemy – there’s nothing they want more than a successful interview. Maintain a decent level of eye contact throughout the interview, but especially at the start.

Mouth: a smile will get you off to a good start

With the odd exception, interviewers are normal people who will respond positively if you appear in the interview room with a smile on your face. You may feel more like crying than smiling but resist the temptation. Don’t force yourself but do give it a try. What usually happens, unless the interviewer is a Vulcan, is that they smile back. The ice is broken and you have leapt the first hurdle.

Hands: get your handshake right

Ah yes, the handshake. You normally get one at the start and this little act can have immense consequences. A flabby wet handshake, a limp lettuce or a bone-crusher all leave their mark on the interviewer’s psyche and it can be several minutes before the effect wears off. Go, if you can, for the middle ground – firm and dry. If you don’t know what kind of handshake you have, practise on a friend.

You need to start thinking about your first impression before you even get to the interview. Yep, a huge part of the employer’s first impression of you will be determined by your outfit. It’s important to wear suitable clothing, be neat and tidy, and smartly dressed.