How to Conquer The First 10 Minutes Of The Job Interview

Job Interview

One of the biggest secrets of Corporate Recruiters and HR Managers is how quickly they decided if a candidate was a fit within a few minutes of the job interview.

Of course, they still do their due diligence, but most Recruiters and HR Managers will admit that they have decided in the first 10 minutes of the job interview.

You only get once chance to make a first impression, but this takes it to a whole new level.

Making a strong first impression gives you a competitive advantage, and it’s why we are setting up the way it is. It would be best if you were the complete package. We don’t leave anything to chance. From the way you look, dress, walk, talk, smile, and answer questions, this process is very simple when you follow key steps to make an impact in the first 10 minutes.

So, what really happens in the first 10 minutes?

Your arrival

 Always arrive early, at least 10 – 15 minutes before your interview — not 30 minutes to an hour. You look ridiculous, sitting in the lobby. If you are late, you better have a really good reason. And if that’s the case, you must call in advance and let your interviewer know. If you can, go to the interview location a few days before, so you know exactly where you are going on the day of the interview.

On the day of your interview, enter the building with confidence. Take a deep breath, relax, and yes, grab a breath mint. Walk into the building and introduce yourself to the receptionist if there is one. Smile and be warm and friendly as you wait for the interviewer. Most recruiters ask the receptionist for their opinions.

Do not sit down. Seriously, NEVER EVER sit down even if you are offered a seat. Stay on your feet, so you are alert and ready. You appear more confident and command attention when you are standing. That’s the look we are going for.

Walk around the waiting area, study product displays, read internal company newsletters, and any plaques or awards on the walls. Get a feel of the corporate environment. Be polite to everyone you meet. Smile and be friendly as people walk by. Everyone in the building is a potential manager, interviewer, or colleague.

Facial Expression

Your facial expression can say a lot about you in the interview. Smile sincerely and often to show that you are friendly and pleased to meet your interviewer. Smiling is an essential part of influencing the interviewer. When you smile, people automatically smile back.

They unconsciously begin to have positive feelings toward you. Acknowledge each question by nodding and smiling when you are asked a question. You will look pleased to be having the conversation. Avoid holding on to a stern and grim look throughout the interview as it sets a negative tone. If you appear to enjoy yourself, the interviewer will too.

Eye Contact

Eye contact is very important in an interview. Always maintain good relaxed eye contact when listening or speaking to your interviewer. If you find it intimidating to look at the eyes, you can look at their whole face, above the tip of the nose, forehead or lips as it is difficult to know what you are looking at.

This has a similar effect and can be less intimidating than looking in the interviewer’s eyes. Lack of eye contact or no eye contact indicates a lack of interest or confidence, lying, or a short attention span.


Always use a firm handshake to make a great first impression. A good handshake is often used as an indicator of self-assurance. Show them how confident you are and what you are the best person for the job. A strong handshake portrays confidence and power while a limp or weak handshake depicts insecurity and uncertainty.


Always stand tall and walk tall. Stand upright with your shoulders back and relaxed. Sit up straight, keep your chin up and do not slouch in your chair. Walk tall with your head up and send a signal of your confidence and power. Lean forward when speaking to show you are engaged and paying attention.

Next is the Introduction

On first meeting, your interviewer, make eye contact and smile immediately. Give a firm handshake and be confident. Understand that they will be analyzing everything about you, including your appearance, posture, eye contact, and smile. Establish rapport immediately by being warm and friendly and try to make a personal connection. Show your enthusiasm as you prepare to start the interview.

You will follow the interviewer to a meeting room. Allow the interviewer to lead the way and follow behind him or her. Make small talk or chit chat as you walk. Mention something you know about the company’s latest news if possible.

When you enter the meeting room, allow the interviewer to sit first and show you where to sit. Get settled and leave enough personal space between the two of you. Be sure to thank them for taking the time to meet with you.

Open with an impact

After the small-talk and chit-chat, the interviewer will begin the formal part of the interview with standard interview questions. The first few questions in a job interview are introductory questions like “tell me about yourself” and “Describe Your Work Experience” or “Walk Me Through Your Resume.”

Then you will most likely be asked why you are interested in the job and why you are looking for work. If nothing else, prepare these answers in advance and know how to tell your story.

Use the 3ME Formula to develop polished answers that are articulate and sell you as the best person for the job. Every moment counts in the first 10 minutes, and it’s usually the most predictable part of the interview, which is great news for you.