Interviews: The Critical First 5 minutes…

So, you’ve done your homework on the company?   Check

Read the job spec numerous times so you know what you’re interviewing for? Check

Put on your best bib & tucker?   Check

Cleaned your shoes and made sure you don’t have a hair out of place?  Double Check

And have you left plenty of time to get to the interview?  Check

So WHAT could go wrong? Surely the job is as good as yours, right?


Well it could be, but you cannot take anything for granted. And if you don’t approach the first few minutes of the interview correctly, then you may as well have stayed at home!

Remember: first-impressions count so when you meet the interviewer, a firm handshake (but not vice-like!) with eye contact is an absolute must. No one likes a limp or sweaty-palmed greeting, so make sure you keep your wits about you, even at this stage. Don’t give the interviewer the chance to think negatively about you at this point; if you do, it can prove very challenging to get them back on-side.

Something that people rarely think about is that not only is the interviewee likely to be nervous, the interviewer may be too! They might not be particularly experienced at giving interviews, or they simply be having an off-day. SO… on the walk from reception to the interview room, DO NOT walk in silence. Make small talk, even if it is about the weather (the go-to conversation maker for all Brits!) or your journey to the office. Something. Anything. If you find the first words you utter since being in reception are in the interview room, the nerves are likely to have increased considerably. And it may be impossible to get the blighters under control again!

And if the receptionist shows you to the room, do the same thing – talk. It will help keep the nerves under control a little and it may seem surprising, but interviewers can ask anyone you come in to contact with, what their impression of you is. So don’t let your guard down, for even a second!

And my final thought? Ask for a Glass of water! Even if you’re not thirsty, it could act as a perfect opportunity to help you gather your thoughts when you’ve been fired a killer question. But make sure you don’t gulp it down either, a loo-break in the middle of interview isn’t the best idea!

So remember: just because you have prepared properly, don’t relax – always be on your guard! From the moment you walk in to reception, try to make the right impression to win-over your interviewer and everyone else you come in to contact with. If you achieve this, you may find the rest of the process is as easy as a walk in the park.

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