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What an Interviewer First Notices About You

I have written before about how to make a lasting impression as a job candidate in the hiring process. But what about the face-to-face interview specifically? I have also discussed how to answer the question, “Why should we hire you?” However, what does an interviewer (or interviewers) first notice about you before the interview even begins?

The answer may surprise you: they notice a lot!

The moment you walk into the interview room (or appear on the screen if it is an online interview or video interview), the interviewer begins forming initial perceptions about you. From your appearance to your body language and communication skills, there are several factors that an interviewer pays attention to when forming their first impression. Their impression of you does not start the moment that you open your mouth. It starts far sooner than that.

In fact, below are 10 things that an interview first notices about you:

#1—Whether or not you were on time

Punctuality counts a great deal, and this applies to both an in-person interview and an online interview. In fact, it might hold more weight for an online interview because you do not have to physically travel anywhere.

This is why it is critical to make sure that you are familiar with the software being used to conduct the interview, whether it’s Zoom, Microsoft, or Google. After all, if you cannot show up on time for the interview, how important could the position be to you?

#2—Your surroundings and environment

This applies strictly to online interviews or video interviews. If your surroundings are cluttered or distracting in any way, that will become a focus of the interview instead of your candidacy for the position. (And your candidacy should always be the only focus of the interview.)

Also be mindful of the noises around if you are part of an online interview. The interviewers should be able to hear you clearly. Even if there are no distracting sounds, you might have to speak more loudly than usual to ensure that you are understood.

#3—Professional appearance

Your appearance is one of the first things an interviewer notices about you. Dressing professionally and appropriately for the job and company culture is essential. A polished and well-groomed appearance demonstrates your attention to detail, professionalism, and respect for the interview process. Pay attention to factors such as appropriate attire, cleanliness, and personal grooming to project a confident and professional image.

#4—Non-verbal communication

Non-verbal cues play a significant role in the initial impression you make. Interviewers observe your body language, facial expressions, and overall demeanor.

Maintain good posture, make eye contact, and offer a firm handshake when greeting the interviewer. Avoid fidgeting or slouching, as it can convey nervousness or a lack of confidence. Your non-verbal communication should convey attentiveness, engagement, and a positive attitude.

#5—Confidence and enthusiasm

Confidence and enthusiasm are traits that interviewers immediately notice. Displaying confidence in your abilities, skills, and qualifications instills trust in the interviewer.

Speak clearly, project your voice, and use confident body language to demonstrate your self-assurance. In addition, showcasing enthusiasm for the role and the organization conveys your genuine interest and motivation.

#6—Communication skills

Interviewers pay close attention to your communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal. They observe how effectively you articulate your thoughts, express ideas, and respond to questions.

Use clear and concise language, listen attentively, and provide well-thought-out answers. Good communication skills include the ability to convey information effectively, actively listen, and adapt your communication style to the interviewer’s cues.

#7—Preparedness and knowledge

The level of preparedness and knowledge you demonstrate during the interview leaves a lasting impression on the interviewer. They notice if you have researched the organization and the position in which you are interested.

Come prepared with relevant examples, achievements, and thoughtful questions about the organization and role. Demonstrating your knowledge and preparedness shows your commitment to the opportunity and your ability to contribute effectively.

#8—Attitude and cultural fit

Interviewers assess your attitude and cultural fit with the organization. They observe your demeanor, interpersonal skills, and how well you align with the company’s values and work environment.

Display a positive attitude, friendliness, and the ability to work well with others. Show interest in the company’s culture, values, and mission. Aligning yourself with the culture and demonstrating a willingness to contribute positively to the team can greatly impact the interviewer’s perception of you.

#9—Personal branding

Interviewers notice the unique qualities and personal branding you bring to the table. They pay attention to what sets you apart from other candidates.

Highlight your strengths, skills, and experiences that align with the job requirements. Clearly communicate your value proposition and what you can bring to the organization. Differentiate yourself by showcasing your unique abilities, achievements, and perspectives.

#10—Professionalism and etiquette

Professionalism and etiquette are key aspects that interviewers observe during the initial interaction. They notice how you conduct yourself; whether you arrive on time (see above); your level of preparedness; and how you treat others, such as receptionists or other employees.

Display professionalism by demonstrating respect, maintaining a positive demeanor, and following proper etiquette throughout the interview process. This includes being attentive, refraining from interrupting, and expressing gratitude for the opportunity.

Making a strong first impression is vital in a job interview, as interviewers form initial perceptions that can influence the outcome. Remember to be authentic and well-prepared and demonstrate your genuine interest in the position and the organization. A strong first impression sets the stage for a successful interview and increases your chances of progressing in the hiring process.

Remember: you cannot receive an offer of employment without making a great impression during the interview!

If you’re looking to make a change or explore your employment options, then we want to talk with you. I encourage you to contact us or you can also create a profile and/or submit your resume for consideration.

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.

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