How to Impress in an Interview: a Step-By-Step Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 7 October 2022 | Published 29 September 2021

Updated 7 October 2022

Published 29 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Making a good first impression in a job interview can make the difference between being invited back for a second interview or being rejected by the employer. The way you conduct yourself, dress and speak can significantly impact the recruiter's impression of you. If you're preparing for an interview, you may have some questions about how to behave. In this article, we explain how to impress during an interview, give tips on the importance of preparation and discuss some common questions so you can wow at your next interview.

Related: The Essential Job Search Guide

How to impress in an interview

Here are five tips on how to impress in an interview:

1. Show passion

Keep a positive attitude and enthusiasm when discussing your career and talking about yourself. People who are passionate about what they do are more likely to perform well at work. Being optimistic in your tone and energy can show the interviewer that you're excited about the job.

2. Highlight your relevant skills and talents

When the interviewer asks why you're interested in the company or the role, tell them what value you can bring to the job. Use your prior research to sense the company's needs, connecting them to your talents and how your skills could benefit the organisation. Mention the company's goals or mission in your response.

3. Tell a story

Make a lasting impression by including personal stories in your interview answers. Showing some of your personality can generate more interest and help to make you more memorable. Use examples to describe your past accomplishments or how you have solved problems in the past. If given the opportunity, explain how you have achieved solutions to problems faced by this company.

4. Prepare to ask questions

Express your interest in the position by having a list of questions you want to ask the interviewer. Interviewers typically give time to ask questions at the end of the interview. Questions you might ask include:

  • What are the biggest challenges your industry is facing?

  • What skills are you looking for in the ideal candidate?

  • What is the most challenging part of this job?

  • What would you expect from me in my first 60 days of employment?

Related: Questions to Ask at an Interview

5. Tell them you want the job

Make it clear to the interviewer you want to work for the company. It can demonstrate your confidence and enthusiasm for the position. This simple step leaves the interviewer with no doubt that you want the job.

Related: What to Do If You Aren't Hearing Back From Employers

Why is it important to impress in an interview?

It's important to know how to impress your interviewer because you only have a short amount of time before they form an opinion of you. The first few minutes at the start of your interview when you walk into the room, greet the employer and sit down are especially crucial. This is when you make a good first impression, and you won't get another chance to make it. It can set the tone for the rest of the meeting and influence the outcome of the interview.

What can I do to prepare the day before an interview?

Here are four things you can do to prepare yourself on the day and in the hours before an interview:

1. Exercise

Physical activity such as jogging, cycling and lifting weights can help to relieve stress and stop you from overthinking. Exercise also causes the body to release endorphins, which can leave you feeling relaxed and confident. Schedule a moderate workout session the day before or the morning of an interview so that you arrive feeling confident and strong.

2. Get plenty of rest

If you're nervous or excited the night before an interview, you might find it difficult to fall asleep. Aim to get at least eight hours of sleep to ensure you're well-rested and focused the next day. To improve your chances of getting enough sleep, avoid having caffeine too late in the day, try not to look at TV and phone screens before you go to sleep and practice slow and rhythmic breathing.

3. Remember to eat

Before your interview, try to eat a healthy breakfast or lunch with foods like leafy green vegetables, nuts, blueberries and avocados. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Eating well can also prevent you from being distracted by hunger during your interview.

4. Practice

Ask a friend or family member to help you practice a few questions before your interview. This can help give you more confidence, reduce nervousness and recall important information about the company and position. It's also a good opportunity to practice your body language, posture and tone of voice.

Some common interview questions include:

  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

  • What motivates you?

  • Why do you think you're a great fit for this position?

Related: Job Interview Tips: How to Make a Great Impression

Tips for preparing to impress in an interview

You can impress the interviewer by being self-assured, professional and prompt when you arrive. Here are some tips to prepare for a successful interview:

Research the company

Read up on the company's history, leaders, mission and values, products and services. Learn about the industry and the things that affect it. Discover who their business competitors are. You can usually find all this information by conducting an online search. If you have done adequate research, you can talk about the company, position and current trends with confidence.

Dress appropriately

It may be helpful to find out what the appropriate dress code is. If you know someone in the company, be sure to ask. If you're in doubt, dress smartly and wear professional work attire. A neat, professional appearance demonstrates to the interviewer that you take this job opportunity seriously.

Related: How to Succeed in an Informal Interview

Arrive early

Plan to get to the interview on time. If you arrive early, you can always sit in a cafe or wait in the car park for a few minutes. Aim to walk into the office five to ten minutes before your scheduled interview time. Being prompt demonstrates to the interviewer that you're well-prepared and respectful of their time.

Bring your CV

Bring a couple of copies of your printed CV with you. While it's likely the interviewer has seen your CV, they may not recall every detail, and there may be other people interviewing you who haven't had the chance to review it. You can also keep a copy for yourself to highlight specific career accomplishments, skills and qualifications.

Practice your handshake

Ask a friend or family member to evaluate your handshake. When you greet the interviewer, wait for them to initiate the handshake and extend their hand first. You want to maintain a firm hand and offer one or two confident shakes.

Project confident body language

Smiling and making eye contact as you walk into the room can help make a good first impression. Sit or stand confidently with your shoulders back and maintain a good posture. A natural smile demonstrates confidence and can help you relax, so smile frequently throughout the interview.

Treat everyone with respect

Be sure to treat everyone you encounter with respect. This includes front desk staff and security. Act as if everyone is the recruiter because your interviewer may ask for their feedback afterwards. It can also help to learn the names of people, such as front desk staff, that you've spoken to as this shows that you're attentive to detail and have good interpersonal skills.

Tips for leaving a lasting impression on the interviewer

After the interview has ended, you still have the chance to make a good impression on the interviewer. Some things you can do include:

Say thank you

Retain the interviewer's contact information so you can send them a thank you email or note following the interview. Keep your note professional, concise and courteous and send it later that day or within 24 hours. This shows the employer that you're truly interested in the role.

Related: What to Include in a Thank You Email After an Interview (With Examples)

Follow up

Follow up a week or two after the initial interview if the employer has not yet contacted you. Communicate your enthusiasm for the job and stay on the interviewer's mind by calling or emailing them to find out the status of the recruitment process. Keep your message brief and restate your interest in the job.

Related: Follow-Up Email Examples For After the Interview

Connect on social media

Ask to connect with your interviewer on professional networking sites. This can demonstrate that you're proactive and trying to position yourself as the right candidate for the job. If you don't get the job, then at least you'll have made a valuable professional connection.

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