Job Seeker Resources

How To Make A Killer First Impression When Interviewing

CLOSING THE DEAL. An interview is the culmination of all your efforts so far. You only get one shot, so here are a few tips to help you make a fabulous first impression:

Be on time. In fact, get there 10-15 minutes early. It’ll give you a chance to catch your breath and collect your thoughts before the big talk. If you’re not familiar with the area, take the time to visit the location a day or two before your interview to check the route (GPS systems are imperfect), and get clear on how much travel time you’ll need. And still, pad that time.

 Act like a pro. This means a lot of things. Bring a few extra copies of your resumé along with your book. If your portfolio’s online, either download it to your tablet or laptop or get advance approval to access the interviewer’s wireless network. Make good eye contact but don’t be overly familiar, or overly confident.

Dress to impress. Even though creative environments, particularly agencies, are well-known for having a casual dress code and accepting – even encouraging – over-the-top wardrobes, now is not the time to strut that much of your stuff. Keep it simple. You want them to be blinded by the greatness of your work, not the rhinestones on your shoes.

FIELDING COMMON QUESTIONS. There are a few questions that seem to surface in just about every interview. The questions may be rote, but your answers shouldn’t be. Be honest and straightforward, but don’t just wing it. Thoughtful answers demonstrate that you respect the interview process and take the work seriously. Here are some questions you might be asked, with suggestions on how to handle them. Think about your answers, and then try rehearsing in front of a mirror a few times. You’ll be surprised how much going through this simple exercise can help when you’re sitting in the interview chair.

“Tell me about your current job. What’s your role and some of your responsibilities?” When asked a question like this, answer, “In my current position, I do A, B, C and D.” then provide a clear, concise description of each, in order, and give examples of results you’ve achieved.

“What’s one of your weaknesses?” Describe a trait that has no effect on your work. Don’t mention communication style or another personal characteristic that could be misconstrued or seen as an important job requirement.

“Why did you leave your last position?” Answer with something like, “My current role has taken me as far as I can go,” and then, to help further explain, list the three most important things you’re looking for in a new job.

“What are your salary requirements?” Try to avoid being specific, as you usually won’t get enough information in a first interview to help gauge how you should answer. Do some research on typical salary ranges for the role you’re interviewing for in case you feel pressured to give an answer, and answer with a range rather than a specific number.

Q & A – YOUR TURN. A little quid pro quo will be expected. You’ll want to demonstrate your interest in the job by asking a few questions about the company, the people and the position. Here are a few to grease the gears:

 The Company

“What kind of growth do you expect over the next five years?”

“What’s the business strategy?”

“What’s the growth strategy?”

 The People

What personality types succeed best on your team?

Is there a specific personality type you look for?

What are some of the common characteristics you look for in people on your team?

 The Position

How will my success in this position be measured one month, six months, or a year from now?

Is there a specific first project you’d like me to handle? Can you tell me about it?

Which aspect of my professional background will most help me be successful in this position?

FOLLOW-UP. It may sound old school, but the best finishing touch to any interview is still a handwritten note. It gives you one more point of contact with the interviewer – plus, since fewer and fewer people do it these days, it can only help you stand out as unique among your peers.