Whether you are starting a new job or have an interview coming up, you may be thinking about how to make a good first impression. Making a good first impression at work or in an interview is important, so we’ve put some tips together to help you do this.
- Be prepared
- Think about your body language
- Be an active listener
- Show your personality
- Get to know people
- Follow up
1. Be prepared
Make a good first impression in an interview and on your first day in a new job by turning up around 10 minutes early, dressing appropriately and showing your knowledge of the company.
Doing your research on all of these things will put you in a fantastic position for making a good impression. Check your route if the interview is in person or you are heading into the office for your first day. Are you working from home or is your interview online? Check your technology well before your start time so you can fix any issues in advance. Take a look at our other advice for a video interview.
Don’t be afraid to email the hiring manager prior to the interview or your first day to see what the dress code is – this avoids you feeling over or underdressed on the day. And finally, look into the company by reading through their website and taking a look at their social media, as being well researched always creates a good first impression.
If you’ve got an interview coming up and are feeling a little nervous, read our article on nine tips for a successful job interview.
2. Think about your body language
It’s easy when you’ve got other things on your mind to completely forget about your body language – but it is a key part of how you come across. Keep your hands by your sides (don’t cross your arms!) and be ready to shake people’s hands when introduced. When someone is talking to you, or you are talking to someone else, make eye contact and smile.
If you are in an interview, sit in a position that helps you feel relaxed. Take off your coat if you have one and make sure you feel comfortable in your chair. Being relaxed will help you look and feel calmer, meaning you’re more confident when answering the interview questions.
3. Be an active listener
Visual cues like smiling and eye contact are great for showing that you are listening, but you can take it one step further by being an active listener. Being an active listener includes:
- Reflect on what has been said – ensure the speaker feels heard by paraphrasing what they’ve said to you. For example, with phrases like “So what I’m hearing is…”
- Ask questions – clarify certain points or ask for more detail
- Don’t interrupt – let the person speaking finish what they are saying before you interject, even if it is to agree with them
Not only will active listening help you to create a great first impression, but it can also help you retain information and learn quicker – which are great for interview scenarios and your first few months in a new job.
4. Show your personality
Another key part of how to make a good first impression is showing aspects of your personality. In an interview, the hiring manager will also be assessing whether you’re a good fit for the team, so don’t be afraid to give them a feel for your personality while answering questions.
When it comes to settling into a new role, again don’t feel like you can’t discuss things unrelated to work. Not only will this help you to feel more comfortable in your new team, but having conversations about something other than work will give you a bit of a break too.
The trick here is to walk the line between being formal and informal. While it’s good to show what you’re like outside of work, it’s important to still maintain some professionalism. Companies hire a diverse range of people, so while some of your colleagues may be comfortable with things like swearing, others may not, so it’s good to keep this in mind when chatting about non-work subjects.
5. Get to know people
A large part of starting a new job is getting to know your colleagues. Making small talk, such as asking people what they got up to at the weekend, is a simple way of connecting with your co-workers.
When it comes to people outside of your immediate team, it’s good practice to introduce yourself. For example, if you find yourself in the office kitchen at the same time as someone you’ve not spoken to yet, say hello, tell them your name and the team you’re working for. This will help you put names to people’s faces and mean that they know who to contact if they need support from you or your team.
Some workplaces make time for socialising outside of work too, such as team meals, after work drinks or even playing sport. Even if this isn’t your kind of scene, it may be a good idea to attend one or two of these events initially. Your co-workers will appreciate you making the effort and it will make you feel more included in the company.
6. Follow up
This last point ties in with some of our previous advice on how to make a good first impression.
After you have left an interview, consider sending a follow up email to the interviewer thanking them for their time. Not all candidates do this, so if you really want the job then it may give you the edge over other applicants.
When it comes to starting a new job, make a note of things and then promptly follow up on them. For example, after a meeting you could follow up with your manager or colleague by letting them know you will finish a task within a certain deadline.
You can also follow up with people in a more informal way. Did somebody you work with mention that they had a fun weekend planned? It’s a nice idea to follow up with them after the weekend to see if they had a good time.
Get more advice on life at work and interview tips in our career advice section or start your job search with Unitemps.
Last updated on 14 April 2023Share this article