The first minutes of your job interview is the make or break. They’re the precious moments when you can wow your prospective employer with your confident demeanor, impress them with your firm (but not too firm) handshake, and win them over with your opening statement.
So, how do you create that amazing first impression and ensure you’re the top candidate on their list from the get-go? You’re bound to be feeling a little nervous after all! From taking time with the intros to choosing the perfect small talk, read on to discover how to nail a job interview in the first five minutes.
The last thing you want is to arrive at the interview out of breath with sweaty palms and a flushed face. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview, especially if you are relying on public transport or you might encounter traffic. Don’t skip breakfast or lunch and factor in location and time for a comfort break beforehand.
Switch off your phone, check your teeth for lipstick/food and enter the building with a smile for the receptionist. Remember, you’re going to nail this!
Take time with the introductions
When you’re nervous it’s easy to rush the handshakes and intros and get yourself seated as soon as possible. While you don’t want to hang around holding up the proceedings try to take an extra second or so for each intro and make proper eye contact with each person and ensure you have understood their name and title. Your interviewers are unlikely to be anywhere near as nervous as you but this approach should make everyone feel a little more relaxed with each other and ready to get down to the more serious business. It also mitigates the risk of you having to ask their name again later!
Build chemistry with small talk
Making so-called small talk is a wonderful way of creating connections with your interview panel and showing them a bit of your character. It’s important to choose your small talk subjects with care. The weather is a safe one, but unless something meteorologically climatic is happening is it very interesting?
If the company is based in an interesting building you could comment on that, or the area of town they are located in. You might ask how long they have been in that particular building or mention a great food outlet you know near there. Food is almost always a good conversation starter. Everyone has their opinions on the best restaurants and cafes and they are usually up for a good recommendation.
You will doubtless have checked out your interviewer's LinkedIn profiles before the big day. Perhaps there was an indication of their interests you could refer to. Or an industry body or organization that you both belong to. Whatever you decide, make sure it is common ground and that you aren’t going to be bringing up anything awkward or contentious. For example, you might not want to mention that you have been to all the bars in the local area!
Start with your most important statements and messages
Once seated comfortably try to include your key messages into the opening questions. These queries usually involve asking you the reason you were attracted to the role and the company in the first place. Frame your answers to cover the most relevant and salient points of your application including how your wish to work there reflects your recent successes at work and your aspirations for the future. For example, if your goal is to progress to a larger more complex organization you can talk about your desire to work at a firm where your ability to adapt to change and solve problems on your feet can be utilized to its full potential. Or if you are looking to change sectors and are worried your future employer will question this decision, mention this up-front and explain the reasons, aligned positively with your skills and experience, of course.
Thinking of changing the type of business you work in? Find out more about how to know if moving sector is right for you.
We hope these tips on how to nail an interview in the first five minutes have helped you feel more prepared - and excited - about the big day. It is all about being prepared, exuding the right aura, and putting yourself and your interviewers at ease. Confidence doesn't come easy to everyone but practice makes perfect so keep on honing those interview skills and it’ll become second nature before you know it.
If you need any help finding the procurement and supply chain job of your dreams, contact the team at Bramwith today. We work with some of the top brands across the US and we would love to help.
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