How to make a great first impression at a job interview

Published: 30 August 2018 By Harvard Business Review 2017

How to make a great first impression at a job interview

Follow these three tips to ensure you impress your interviewer and secure your dream job

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Job interview: ask open-ended questions that are connected to what you just heard. Photograph: Getty Images

  
You’ve landed an interview for the job of your dreams. You’ve got your answers ready and selling points lined up. But when the interview starts, something’s off. What went wrong?

You probably prepared your content well, but – like many people – you didn’t prepare something perhaps more important: your performance. You can steal some tricks from the actor’s toolbox to prepare the character you will play in the interview.

Here’s how to play the role of someone who will get the job:

1. Be curious
Most people talk too much during an interview. Instead, perform curiosity – ask open-ended questions that are connected to what you just heard. This will help you discover common ground with your interviewer, which is key to making a great first impression.

2. Accept every conversational offer
Of course you need to prepare “talking points” for your interview. But being in a conversation means creating back-and-forth repartee. That means you can do what improvisers do, practise starting every sentence with the words “yes, and”. This fundamental improv technique will make you less focused on proving yourself and much more attuned to the other person.

3. Prepare to tell stories
This may be one of the most powerful elements of a great conversationalist performance. Prepare and practise yours in advance so that when the interviewer asks if you’re experienced in leading projects, you can tell the story in a way that dramatises the most recent project you led. Describe how the project began, what you did, the obstacles you faced and how you overcame them.


– (Copyright Harvard Business Review 2017)

Previously published in The Irish Times.

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