Make a great first impression in your next job interview

It is said that you have between 5-60 seconds to make an impression in a job interview. Therefore first impressions are everything and they start right from when you walk in the door and meet the receptionist!

Follow these recommendations from our recruitment specialists to project confidence during your next job interview.

Prior to the interview

In the competitive and short span of an interview, your appearance and body language play a significant role in showcasing you as a potential employee.

Make sure you arrive AT LEAST 10-15 minutes prior to the start of your interview. These 10-15 minutes will give you time to use the bathroom, have a drink and take a few deep breaths. In the waiting area, check that you have good posture while sitting or standing – this will show your confidence and commitment (to the receptionist or prospective future co-workers that are potentially observing you).

Hot tip: while waiting for your interviewer, place your briefcase or purse to the left side of your chair or in your left hand — this will reduce awkwardness when you go to shake the interviewer’s hand, while simultaneously grabbing your personal belongings. 

The handshake

A study on the influence of handshakes found that they play a significant role in first impressions, so make it count!

Your handshake should be neither limp, which can make you appear overly passive, or bone crushing. Aim for a firm handshake (yet brief enough to avoid discomfort), with eye contact and a smile.

During the interview

Believe it or not, your body language in an interview also has a big influence on whether or not you get the job! Keep these body language tips in mind:

  1. First and foremost, no slouching! Keep your back upright, relax your shoulders and make a conscious effort not to fiddle and fidget.
  2. Speaking of fidgeting, if you’re a nail-biter, knuckle cracker, hair twirler, or leg tapper, don’t allow these habits to make an appearance during the interview! All these habits will appear unprofessional and convey nerves, not to mention most of these are generally considered impolite.
  3. Avoid crossing your arms or legs. These habits can indicate defensiveness, when what you ideally want to convey during an interview is confidence and friendliness.
  4. Oscar Wilde once said, ‘be yourself; everyone else is already taken’. Do you naturally talk with your hands? Go ahead and let them move during the interview as stopping the natural gestures may lead to an awkward appearance. Try not to ‘fake it’, your characteristics, whether you talk with your hands, you’re shy or you can’t help but smile – it’s part of you and depending on the job, could be quite appealing to the employer.
  5. Eye contact is very important! Aim to make eye contact as you listen and respond to questions.

Sitting upright, making eye contact, focusing on the person who asked the question and being aware of personal space are simple things that can go a long way to convincing an interviewer that you’re the right candidate for the job!

Want to know the big ‘no no’s’ in an interview? Read our blog on interview etiquette!


Programmed is a leading provider of operations and maintenance services across Australia and New Zealand, with more than 20,000 employees supporting industry.

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About Programmed


Programmed is a leading provider of operations and maintenance services across Australia and New Zealand. Our business model is built around our ability to recruit, deploy, manage and maintain a large, directly employed workforce of professional, skilled and semi-skilled staff with a wide range of capabilities. We are proud to efficiently serve more than 10,000 customers every day.

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