Spirited conversation at an interview

It’s easy to see why finding the right job is said to be a lot like dating: first you have to weed out the “right” ones and then search for compatibilities. A good first impression is a first-class ticket to success.

Hitting it off with a hiring manager the first time around can put you in the running as a top candidate. Want to make sure the hiring manager remembers your name when it gets down to the hiring wire? Here’s how:


Know Your Hiring Manager


Billions tvshow foxhole buddies

Always good to have a buddy on your side. Via Giphy

As a valuable player of the team, hiring managers can do more than just get you hired. These folks provide a strong opportunity for you to grow your network and make a new friend.

To make a good first impression, find out who they are ahead of time. Are they on Linkedin? What kinds of roles did they do beforehand? What classes or activities did they participate in during college? You may find you have a thread or two in common that really shows you’re not just interested in the job, but in the people you’ll be working with too! Get to know them beyond just landing a job. You never know how you might be able to help each other in the future.


Be Authentic


Dwight Schrute from The Office wearing wigs

Don’t disguise the real you. Via Giphy

Handing over a fly résumé and flexing what you’ve accomplished in the past is a good first step to getting a face to face at your dream job, but who you are is just as vital! Hiring managers love getting you in person for a real life feel of how you’ll fit in with the team. Prefer a post-lunch siesta before diving back into work? A team that’s all business, all the time may not be right for you in that case.

Being yourself, as cheesy as it sounds, prepares you and the HR manager to create a genuine connection. The more you’re authentic about who you are (as long as you keep it professional) the better your first impression will be!


Get With the Industry “Culture”


Sloth from Zootopia stamping paperwork

That might take a while... Via Giphy

Startups have their own flair and personality. This is what’s called “company culture.” Just like each company has its own flair and personality, so do industries! You’ll prepare much differently for a fashion startup than a tech startup.

When searching, take a peek into the life of the leading brands in your dream industry to see how they dress, and communicate. It’s important to know ahead of time if an industry is laid-back and casual or more fast-paced and traditional to nail the first impression.

Remember, hiring managers aren’t just looking for someone who can fill the role. They’re looking for someone who can grow within the field too, so work your researching skills and dig deeper into the behind the scenes of where you want to work.


Free Your Enthusiasm


The Unbreakable Kimmy Scmidt giving a very enthusiastic high five

Kimmy’s got it! Via Giphy

Okay, so being a little TOO excited may reek of job desperation but you can show your genuine interest without worry of scaring your interviewer away. Ask questions to let your potential boss know you’re looking to get to know the role and the company. If, for example, you’re stoked about a new partnership, strike up a conversation about it! How cool is it that you not only bring talent to the job, but also an attentiveness to how this company is a game changer? Having that clear idea of why you and why that organization will go a long way in making a great impression.


Respect Every Part of the Process


baby tipping his hat

Hats off to you too, winner! Via Giphy

Winning an interview is an awesome accomplishment, but don’t forget to work your magic at informational interviews too! At any step in the process, treating your interactions with the utmost respect will give off the impression that you take both the role and yourself seriously (as a working professional).

Whether chatting with a current employee over the phone or grabbing a cup of coffee with a friend of a friend of the company, do your best to be the employee you want your future team to hear about. Drop a nice note to anyone who gave you a helping hand, and be kind to assistants. Making a good impression shouldn’t just extend to the ones directly involved in hiring you, but with anyone connected to the company.


Instead of being nervous about making a good first impression, be yourself and express how much you enjoy the role you’re interested in. Being true to what caught your eye about them is a great place to start showing the hiring manager that you’re the right person for the job. Be sure to leverage other opportunities with other employees and contacts too.

Throw on your networking cap and use your initial impressions to show off your stellar skills! Looking for more ways to sway HR? Check out these other tips on forging professional connections and advocating for yourself on the Planted blog!


Dronile Hiraldo is a New York city born and bred writer with a love for travel, fashion, wellness and entrepreneurship. She credits her East-coast upbringing in Washington Heights for empowering her love of Selena, pop culture and social activism. When she’s not deep in a new book, she loves tinkering with photography, eating donuts and listening to Michael Jackson.