Reasons Why First Impressions Are Important (With Tips)

Updated September 30, 2022

Companies conduct interviews for a role to assess applicants' skills and suitability. Performing well in these interviews and impressing the interviewer can help applicants proceed to the next stage of the recruitment process. Knowing how to create an excellent first impression can increase your chances of getting a job.

In this article, we discuss why first impressions are important, outline steps to create a good first impression during an interview, and share popular tips that can help you achieve this.

Reasons why first impressions are important

There are many reasons why first impressions are important. Usually, they involve some form of evaluation and result in an initial perception or mental idea of a person. For example, hiring managers often assess a candidate's tone and body language during the first meeting to determine if that person is a good fit for the company. Making a positive first impression at a job interview offers several benefits, including:

Increases likelihood of success

A good first impression can help reduce or eliminate tensions during an interview. Interviewers can assess candidates by their outfits, mannerisms, and behaviour. They typically make these assessments briefly before they begin asking questions. This initial assessment may influence the interview results, as an excellent first impression can increase your chances of getting hired.

Creates a lasting impression

First impressions typically have a lasting effect because of what's known as the primary effect. This term explains that it's more likely for people to remember the first experience or encounter in a sequence of experiences. Making a good first impression during your interview can help you build a solid relationship with the hiring manager. This relationship may eventually extend beyond the interview and last until after the recruitment process. A good first impression can also aid the interview process and help make it more interactive.

Attracts the interviewer's attention

You can gain the interviewer's attention by making an excellent first impression. Good posture and confident replies to their questions can compel your interviewer to listen to what you say. With this, you can provide compelling answers that demonstrate your skills and expertise. The interviewer may find the answers interesting and proceed to ask more questions, which may provide an opportunity to further express your interests, capabilities, and visions.

Smooth interaction between you and the interviewer can increase the likeliness of you getting the job, as it can provide an opportunity for you to discuss past experiences and explain how you're a good fit for the role.

Facilitates a good interview start

A good impression can help you and the interviewer relax and interact more freely. Greeting the interviewers politely when you enter the interview room and practising proper etiquette can help the interview start in an amicable manner. This way, the interview session may be interactive, interesting, and enlightening, as the interviewer may want to discover more information about you.

How to create an excellent first impression

Passing an interview may be easier when you create a good first impression. Here's a list of steps you can take to make a positive and long-lasting impression on your interviewer:

1. Be punctual

You can validate your professionalism by arriving at the interview venue on time. This is also a way to prove your competence and diligence to an employer. Arriving early can also be helpful for relieving the stress of getting to the venue and can help you maintain a calm demeanour during the interview. While waiting, you can review possible interview questions and check your appearance to confirm everything is in place. It can also be a way to display your work ethic to an employer and assure them you can be a good fit for the company.

2. Dress appropriately

Your interview outfit is important as an interviewer can assess and evaluate you by it. You can use your interview outfit as an opportunity to impress interviewers, as your outfit is usually what they notice first when you enter the interview room. Ensure to dress professionally in an outfit that's appropriate for the industry to which you're applying.

Dressing appropriately and being well-groomed can help you display your understanding of the company's culture and expectations. It can also be helpful in keeping the interviewer's focus on your skills and qualifications instead of on how you look.

Related: What Does Business Formal Attire Mean? What You Need to Know

3. Go with only necessary items

When going for an interview, avoid entering the interview room with unnecessary items like unfinished foods or drinks. You can go with your work portfolio or an essential certification to help you prove your capabilities and competence during the interview. The interviewer may have your application documents with them already, but it can be safe to ensure you also have copies of these documents with you if the interviewer asks. This can help you demonstrate to the employer that you always prepare for events.

Related: 3 Free Cover Letter Templates to Create an Impactful First Impression

4. Maintain a good posture

Using a good posture during the interview can help you give an impression of professionalism and confidence and can impact how your interviewer perceives you. For example, you can try to sit straight, stand tall, keep your shoulders back, and hold your head up during the interview session to demonstrate confidence. Maintaining eye contact during the interview can also help reassure the interviewer that you're listening attentively to what they're saying and maintaining focus.

5. Observe proper interview etiquette

Exhibiting your best behaviour can help you create a good first impression during your interview. Check your mobile phone to confirm it's on silent mode and try to remove distracting items like a set of keys to ensure there are no interruptions or distractions during the interview.

Answer the interviewer's questions politely and confirm they've completed their sentences before answering to avoid interrupting them mid-sentence. You can answer politely and request the interviewer repeat a question if you didn't hear it correctly the first time.

Related: 12 Tips to Make a Good Impression on Your First Day of Work

6. Speak confidently

Answering the interviewer's questions intelligently and confidently can assure them you have the competence and skills to thrive in the role for which you're applying. Try to cite instances and experiences from your previous job to support the claims on your resume and job application form, validate your experiences, and demonstrate your skills to the interviewer. This can be helpful in convincing them you're a good fit for the job.

Tips for a good first impression during an interview

Passing an interview may be easier when you create a good impression. The following are tips that can help you achieve this:

Prepare adequately

Prepare for an interview by doing adequate research and reading about the company's goals and vision. It can be helpful to check the job listing to understand the responsibilities. You can hold a mock interview session where you compile possible questions and answers to these questions. If you know the interviewer's name, you can address them by it during the interview. Preparing adequately can help improve your confidence before the interview and increase your chances of creating an excellent first impression.

Related: 14 Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

Ask questions and find a connection

You can impress an interviewer and show interest by asking relevant questions. The questions can be about the company or the job position. You can try to connect with the interviewer to build a relationship with them and aid interactions. For example, if there's a degree certificate hanging on the wall, you can discuss how you attended the same school or have a mentor who graduated from the school. While trying to connect with the interviewer, ensure it's applicable and try to keep the conversation professional.

Related: How to Start an Interview (With Tips for Good Performance)

Be kind to everyone at the company

It can be essential to extend kindness and act politely to the employees you meet at the company. For example, it may be helpful to greet the receptionist or front desk operator. You can also ask job-related questions because the hiring manager may ask them to give reports on the demeanour and attitude of the interviewees to evaluate their traits.

It's also possible for interviewers to consult with strategic employees or the receptionist when assessing candidates. Being nice to the employees can also help you build a strong relationship if you start working at the company.

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