The 6 Best Ways to Leave a Lasting Impression in an Interview

In the last couple of years, we’ve seen a significant shift back towards in-person interviews after a period of reliance on virtual platforms like Zoom.

This signals at least a partial return to traditional hiring practices, where the importance of personal connection and the subtleties of communication play a role in the hiring decision.

While Zoom interviews are more convenient, for sure, employers are remembering that conducting interviews in person helps them gain a deeper understanding of a candidate’s demeanour, professionalism, and interpersonal skills. These qualities are often difficult to fully grasp through a screen.

In case you haven’t been interviewed in person for a long time, here are a few pointers to refresh your memory.

1. Arrive Prepared

Your interview begins the moment you walk in the door. Scout the location in advance, aiming to arrive 20 – 30 minutes early, but enter the building only 10-15 minutes before your interview. This shows respect for others’ time. Present yourself well from the start, as everyone, including the front desk receptionist, is judging your manner.

2. Pass the Handshake Test

A firm handshake, accompanied by eye contact, a warm smile, and a proper greeting, is one of the best ways to make an excellent first impression. Stand up, ensure your palm is dry, and maintain the handshake for two to three seconds, avoiding overly strong grips or two-handed handshakes.

3. Choose Your Seat Wisely

In the interview room, accept the seat offered or choose an upright chair if given an option, to avoid appearing too casual. Place personal items on the floor beside you, not on the table or on your lap.

4. Don’t Overdress or Underdress

If you overdress, you risk conveying that you are somehow superior, which is an immediate turnoff for the interviewer. Similarly, underdressing, such as wearing jeans and t-shirts in a corporate setting, conveys a message of disrespect. By the way, asking about the dress code beforehand is okay. This demonstrates your attention to detail and eagerness to make a good impression.

5. Control Your Voice and Body Language

Speaking deliberately will convey calmness and confidence. You should bring (or accept) water to stay hydrated, especially since nerves can dry your mouth. Steer clear of coffee, tea, or juice.

When the interviewer is speaking to you, maintain 100% eye contact to show you are engaged and listening actively. You can also use nods and affirmations to show understanding. When you are speaking, maintain eye contact with the interviewer about 75% of the time. Looking away occasionally when speaking is fine as it gives the impression that you are collecting your thoughts to continue the conversation.

6. Pay Attention to Non-Verbal Cues  Observing the interviewer’s body language can provide insights into their perception of your responses.  For example, loss of eye contact might indicate that you have already answered their question sufficiently and they want you to wrap up your answer. A furrowed