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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.

Making a great impression

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.

You can practise interviews using resources available from our partners Shortlist.Me.

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This describes content that has been written and edited in close collaboration with the organisation, who has funded the feature; it is advertising. We are committed to upholding our ethical values of transparency and honesty when dealing with students and feel that this is the best way not to deceive consumers of our content. The content will be written by GTI editors, but the organisation will have had input into the messaging, provided knowledge and contributors and approved the content.

In Partnership

This content has been written or sourced by AGCAS, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, and edited by TARGETjobs as part of a content partnership. AGCAS provides impartial information and guidance resources for higher education student career development and graduate employment professionals.

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