Things That Affect a First Impression in an Interview

by Naomi Millburn

Job interviews can be intimidating no matter how confident you usually are. First impressions are critical for moving interviews into positive directions. Many factors can contribute to an interviewer's initial opinion of you, from your apparel all the way to the expression on your face.


Promptness is vital for making a positive first impression at an interview. If you show up late, even if just by a couple of minutes, you risk making the interviewer feel like the meeting isn't a priority for you -- the last thing you want. Being on time is key. Remember, though, that it's also important to not show up too early. If you're overly early, the interviewer could be busy doing something else and you could make her feel pressured.

Body Talk

When your interviewer escorts you from the lobby to her office, your body language will be one of the first things she notices about you. If you slouch, avoid eye contact, seem restless or look rigid and nervous, she'll pick up on that. The goal in job interviews is to come across as self-assured and at ease, but never to an excessive degree. A genuine smile is often an effective tool for appearing cool and confident.

Manner of Speech

Your manner of talking can also affect an interviewer's initial impression of you. If you talk too rapidly, your interviewer might find it difficult to understand you. Talking too slowly, however, can also be problematic. Try to emulate the way your interviewer converses with you, both in terms of speed and cadence.

Negativity and Positivity

People gravitate to positivity in life. If an interviewee spends the first minute of his interview complaining about the weather or talking about how little sleep he got last night, it might just make the interviewer establish a not-so-happy association with him. If he starts out with an upbeat attitude, it might just have the total opposite effect, however.

Physical Appearance

Physical appearance is a major component. Interviewers carefully look at the manner in which the person is dressed. If an interviewee's attire isn't professional or doesn't suit the requirements of the company, it could have a lasting impression. Interviewers also pay attention to other things, including overall tidiness and gum chewing. Showing up to an interview with bubble gum in your mouth and cookie crumbs all over your hands isn't optimal.

Little Extras

Job interviewers often look for people who pay attention to the little details. If you leave your cell phone ringer on and it buzzes the second you shake your interviewer's hand, it could affect the first impression you give, and probably not in a positive way. If you neglect to bring an extra copy of your resume, it could do the same.

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