10 ways to make a great first impression

You never get a second chance to make a great first impression so it’s important that you nail it first time round if you want the best chance of bagging a graduate job! You can research the company and prepare for hours on end, but if you come off badly in the first impression then you may as well kiss goodbye to a second interview! Here are 10 tips to help you make a great first impression and bag that second interview!

  1. Check your spelling and grammar

It’s so obvious but you would be surprised how many candidates don’t check this before submitting an application! Recruiters / hiring managers will scan over a CV in a couple of minutes and if they spot spelling mistakes your CV will go straight to the bottom of the pile… and sometimes straight in the bin!

  1. Follow up with a call

Don’t be afraid to follow up your application with a phone-call – it will show your eagerness to work for the company!

  1. Look the part

I am a firm believer in the motto “It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed” so apply this thinking when dressing for your interview. Not only will your smart appearance give a great first impression to the interviewer but it should give you more confidence as well.

  1. Arrive on time

Punctuality is something all employers need from their staff, and if someone can’t even make their interview on time then it will raise alarm bells immediately. Aim to arrive around 10 minutes before your interview is booked and make sure you know exactly where you are going / prepare your route to avoid any delays.

  1. It’s all in a name

Remembering people’s names is key so have firmly in your mind who you are meeting so you can ask for them when you arrive.

  1. Smile and shake hands

Always stand, smile and shake hands when you meet your interviewer. I once met a candidate who couldn’t be bothered to get up or look me in the eye and immediately it made me wary of them. Handshakes are important too, it has to be firm (I mean there is nothing worse than a limp handshake) but don’t crush them at the same time!

  1. Adopt the correct body language

It can be difficult to appear comfortable in an interview situation – lets face it they can be pretty terrifying experiences – but it’s important you adopt the correct body language here. Good posture is important so sit up straight and avoid folding your arms or resting your elbows on the table. Try and maintain eye contact for the majority of the interview – think of it as staying engaged with the interviewer though, it’s not a staring competition!

  1. Listen

Seems pretty obvious but again you would be surprised how many candidates fail to do this properly. You can only prepare so much before an interview so it is vital that you listen to your interviewer so you can respond as best as possible.

  1. Thank them as you leave

Make sure you thank everyone who’s interviewed you as you leave with a smile and a hand-shake – after all the last impression is as important as the first! 

  1. Follow up with an email

Don’t be afraid to follow up with a personalised email after your interview reiterating your interest for the role. Keep it short and sweet though – you don’t want to come off as desperate!


Sophie Heaton (Digital Campaign Manager)

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