5 tips to nail your job interview before it even starts!

5 tips to nail your job interview before it even starts!

There is this great saying of Dr Derek Roger: ”We only ever meet a person once - after that, we meet our idea of them.” Our brain creates this idea in a split second. As they say, there are no second chances in making a great first impression. So, how can you make sure you do make a great first impression at your job interview? Preparation is key at this stage, after all, you have probably put great effort into your CV, cover letter and LinkedIn profile, and it is important to not stop just yet! 

How to make a great first impression at your job interview

So, what CAN you do to prepare yourself? In the past, I have written a couple of articles on job interviews, and in this one, I have especially focused on the preparation phase as I believe it is crucial. Below, I gathered a list of tips for you, based on my 10+ years of experience in helping people land their dream jobs. I am confident these tips will help you put your best foot forward and stand out from the crowd.

1. Research the person you are going to have an interview with

I do not mean that you start stalking them, but a decent amount of research of their LinkedIn profile will help you see if there is any common ground. For example, do you have any common connections, interests, companies you worked for or causes you support? Nothing bonds people better than commonalities, whether we like it or not. And you definitely want to have the interviewer on your side, before the official part of the interview starts. Once you find something, make sure to mention it at the beginning of the conversation to create that immediate bonding.

2. Show up 15 minutes earlier

Do not come hours earlier either, as this might be a sign of desperation, but by all means, do not be LATE. Especially not in the Netherlands, where people value time a lot.

3. Follow the “relevance rule”

What do I mean by that? When preparing for your interview and its questions, make sure to study the role in-depth and write down all the requirements. Once you have done that, look thoroughly through your own CV and beyond to make sure the answers you are going to give and the examples you are going to use to illustrate that you can do that job and are RELEVANT to the job you are applying for. Do not dump everything that you have done in your professional life on the interviewer. Before giving your answer, ask yourself: “How relevant it is to the job I am going to do?”

4. Prepare your own questions

I know you probably have heard it a thousand times already, but I cannot stress this point enough. In the heat of the moment, you might not know what questions to ask, which is why preparing your questions beforehand and writing them down is so crucial. In the Netherlands, showing initiative is very important, and this is one of the ways for recruiters to test this. Are you interested in the company and the job beyond what is said in the job ad?

Make sure to ask a smart question, one that you couldn’t have easily checked on the internet as this would only show your ignorance. This is why this point is so important and tricky.

5. Bring your best self to the table

You might be stressed, you might have a bad day, or have had a bad night, yet it is important to work on your mindset before entering the interview room or opening Zoom on your desktop. Remind yourself of all the great achievements you have accomplished to date. Remind yourself of all the talents and skills you possess. Strike a power pose (in the bathroom, for instance) and stay positive.

If you are not 100 percent confident before starting the interview, imagine you are putting on the jacket of a professional and on which all your achievements, strengths, and skills are hanging like medals. Feel strong and positive and rock that interview!

Share your tips!

Have you ever felt that things are going to work out or just the opposite within the first five minutes of the interview? What are your best tips to prepare for a job interview? Share them in the comments and good luck with your job search!

Dorota Klop-Sowinska


Dorota Klop-Sowinska

Official Member of Forbes Coaches Council. I specialize in international career and expat coaching. I am the author of the book Career Jump! How to Successfully Change Your Professional Path...

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