you don't have a second opportunity to make a good first impression

There are two kinds of job interviews. Those that go well and those that don’t. There is no mid-situation. Most of the HR managers know from the first five minutes of the interview what is going to happen but they need to follow the process. I am sure you have heard questions like:

  • Did you find it easy to get here?
  • Tell us a bit about yourself…
  • What are your three strong and three weak points?
  • What are your expectations from this job opportunity?
  • Why would you like to work for us?

Have you ever thought to answer sincerely to these questions? Like:

  • No, you are in the middle of nowhere… feel free to be honest in a polite way as your potential employers probably have the same problem each day and will understand you.
  • Well, my name is John Smith, two words that apparently define who I am. But this is not what defines me… continue with YOUR answer and use it to demonstrate that you are very qualified for and interested in the position.
  • Strong points (without being arrogant or egotistical0
    I like to bring results
    I want to get better as a person and as a professional
    I like to live and work freely with no commodity constraints
  • Weak points (that can be interpreted in both ways)
    I am a bit lazy sometimes and therefore find ways to do things efficiently
    I am ambitious and have very demanding goals
    I follow the logic of “it must be black or white”
  • To become better and earn a good salary. (Why not?)
    Show that you researched the company. One way is to match the company’s values/mission/vision with your own values. I would like to contribute to the change this NGO has on human rights. Because of my passion for foreign languages, I would be proud to work for the market leader in language translation software.

Now, three tips before your next interview:

  1. Be confident but not overconfident
  2. Understand why you want that job
  3. Be honest with your potential employer, but, first, be honest with yourself!

A real interview scenario

Everything was perfect. I had my notebook, my favorite pen, the CV of the candidate and, of course, the appointment at 13h45. I always set almost strange hours just to see if the candidate will arrive on time.


– Hello, I am Mr. X. Z. and I am here for the interview! (you should have been here  5 minutes later!)
– Please come inside, coffee?
– No thanks… (Why not? who said it’s bad anyway to accept some coffee???) just some water.
– (me smile) so Mr. X. tell me about yourself
– blah blah blah and blah (is there a pattern that people follow on interviews? “my” and “I”, and again “I”…)
– (after 4-5 minutes…) Why our company Mr. X.
– Hmmm, you had a post, and I need a job (sincere… but…)
– So you practically know nothing about our company, but you want to work with us!
– red face … no response
– What is your expertise Z? Please call me Y…
– Well Y I am a really good engineer (practically 8 months of experience) and I want 2000 net (there I gave up!)
– Thank you Mr. X. we will inform you
– I really want to work with you Y. (he continues!)
– We’ll be in touch, have a good day (he didn’t touch the water…)

This is a typical scenario. It happens in about 70% of the cases. Why? There are two basic reasons for that.

  • The first one is the “ego”. You see there are two egos. The good one is self esteem and should exist by being conscious and sincere with yourself and abilities. The bad one is the one that makes people blind and ignorant of their actual situation.
  • The second one is the barrier people set on knowledge. If you want to achieve something, you should read and investigate the facts. No matter what you do, if you don’t enhance your knowledge, you always receive low pay and without any perspective.

Tips for a successful interview

Let’s see some more tips for interviews…

  • First of all, you need to understand for whom you apply for a position. It is actually for your benefit since you will work there, and if you don’t like it, it will mean that at the beginning you didn’t observe small things that would have annoyed you or simply o not fit your priorities and talents.
  • Who is the person that you are going to meet? Do you have some information about him/her? Do you know his/her position in the company? I remember, a long time ago I had an interview in front of a panel of five managers of an International company and I was prepared to answer with specific words to each one of them that they would expect to hear in order to be satisfied.
  • Think: you don’t have a second chance to make a good first impression!
  • Smile always. Have in mind your values, and how these values will contribute to the company. Never say negative comments about previous companies that you have been employed.
  • Be confident but not arrogant! I remember that many arrogant people left my office with their heads down because they didn’t realize that they are not perfect, and someone can spot those tiny details that will expose them!!!

By the way… everybody will fail in some job interviews and… that will be an opportunity to become a better person and more professional after that. It always matters how you treat failure. Your choice should be to continue evolving!