How to Make a Memorable First Impression

When a hiring manager first meets you, they’ll evaluate you within a few short seconds. This first impression they get from you will form the basis of their overall opinion. It’s therefore difficult to undo if it’s negative. To make the most favorable impression, here are a few tips to follow:

Be on time.

If you’re running even a few minutes behind, it’s going to impact the impression you’re making on the hiring manager. It’s therefore important to know where you’re going ahead of time, so you’re not late. Also, give yourself some extra time in case of an accident or traffic jam.

Be prepared to dress the part.

The clothes you’re wearing will have a big impact on the impression you’re making. You, therefore, don’t want to look sloppy or underdressed. Instead, don a business suit or, if more appropriate, business casual clothing. Whatever you wear, make sure it’s cleaned and pressed ahead of time, so you’re not left scrambling right before your interview.

Be ready with a smile.

When you first meet the hiring manager, make sure you’re smiling, making eye contact and shaking hands firmly with them. You want to come across as confident and friendly. If this is difficult for you to pull off, practice ahead of time with a family member or friend.

Be mindful of body language.

The hiring manager will be taking in everything you do, so avoid any nervous ticks, like twirling your hair or tapping your feet. This will immediately send the message that you’re not at ease and can impact the way the hiring manager perceives you. Instead, keep your body language in check by sitting up straight and keeping your hands still in your lap.

Be open to small talk.

Depending on your personality, you might love or loathe small talk. However, you should follow the hiring manager’s lead on this. If they seem like they want to chat for a few minutes about the weather or another topic ahead of the interview, engage with them. If they’re ready to get right down to business, then don’t hold them back with small talk.

Be polite and professional.

In everything you do, be polite and professional. This includes any interactions you might have while waiting in the reception area. These are the people who will often report back to the hiring manager about how they were treated. So make sure you are professional and courteous with everyone you come in contact with.

Need more help with your next interview?

At ResumeSpice, we offer an interview preparation service that will ensure you’re ready to ace your next conversation with a hiring manager. We can help you get everything right, from your body language to what you say, so you make the best impression. If you’re ready to learn more, call 832.930.7378 or contact us online.

 

3 Interview Thank You Email Templates You Can Customize

You just successfully completed a job interview. Good work!

The next step is to send a polished thank you email to your interviewer and further demonstrate your enthusiasm (and competency!) for the position.

It’s tempting to simply copy/paste an email template that you find online. However, to truly come across as a unique candidate, personalization is key. 

Interviewers can sense a cookie-cutter message a mile away and a copied email suggests laziness on your part. We’re going to provide templates here, but we highly recommend that you customize them to your interview / interviewer.

Below are three customizable interview follow-up email templates.

 

Template #1: Informal Thank You Email

This thank you email is appropriate for an entry-level to mid-level position interview or a more informal email (such as with a startup). 

Subject Line: Thank you for your time, <Interviewer Name>!

Dear <Interviewer Name>:

Thank you for meeting with me on <Day>. I enjoyed learning more about the <Position Name> and <Company Name>. 

What I found particularly interesting was <something unique about the position.> I believe that my skill set in <x,y,z> would lend itself well to this responsibility. 

At <Previous Company Name>, I approached a similar task and I took <x,y,z steps> to achieve <provide quantifiable results>.

On a personal note, I enjoyed discussing <sports team, home town, or your shared love of dogs>. <Add a personal note about it>

If you need additional information about my experience or skill set, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you by <follow up date discussed in the interview>.

Thank you again!

Best regards,

<Your Name>

 

Template #2: Formal Thank You Email

This thank you email has a formal tone which makes it more appropriate to send after an interview for a corporate position (e.g. director or C-Suite level). 

Subject Line: Follow-up regarding <Position Name> 

Dear Mr./Mrs. <Interviewer’s Last Name>, 

I want to formally thank you for meeting with me on <Day> regarding <Position Name>. I enjoyed discussing <specifics from your conversation> and learning about <Company Name>.

Your vision for <x,y,z> and insights about <topic discussed> were compelling and aligned with my personal and professional values. I believe that my experience and skillset with <specific business activity> are a perfect fit for <Company Name>.

Regarding the challenges you mentioned with the position, I approached similar challenges with positive results at <Previous Company Name>. I took <x,y,z steps> to achieve <provide quantifiable results>.

I was also interested to learn about <specific project within the position>. Please find attached a document with preliminary ideas and their projected impact on the company. In summary, this document includes:

  • Detail 1
  • Detail 2
  • Detail 3

If you need additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I look forward to our follow-up conversation on <date discussed>.

Thank you again for your time. 

Best regards,

<Your Name>

 

Template #3: Second Interview Thank You Email

Not sure what to say after a 2nd interview? Here’s a template that can be adapted after an additional conversation with a company. 

Subject Line: Thank you again for your time!

Dear <Interviewer Name>:

Thank you again for your time! I enjoyed our 2nd interview and learning about specific projects for <Position Name>.

As discussed, the position’s responsibilities align closely with my previous experience and skill set of <x,y,z>.

I am confident that I can achieve the results that <Company Name> desires. I’ve attached a <document that includes ideas that relate to your conversation> for your review. In summary, this document includes:

  • Detail 1
  • Detail 2
  • Detail 3

Please let me know if you need additional information. I look forward to hearing from you by <follow-up date discussed in the interview). 

Best regards,

<Your Name>

 

Customize these interview thank you email templates

As mentioned previously, we don’t recommend copying/pasting an email template for your thank you email. 

It’s important that the email is unique to you. You also want to avoid the interviewer receiving the same thank you email from 15 other candidates.

Use one of these templates as the starting point for writing the perfect interview thank you email!

Check out our article about writing effective interview thank you emails for more great tips. For additional interview guidance and career coaching, you can also check out our top-rated services here at ResumeSpice. Contact us today!

Why You Shouldn’t Rely On The Unstructured Interview

Hiring mistakes are costly. In fact, one survey found that companies lost $14,900 on every bad hire in 2017. 

Unfortunately, mishires are all too common with 74% of employers saying they’ve hired the wrong person for a position. 

These numbers suggest that steps in the hiring process are flawed. The interview is a top suspect since companies normally lean heavily on interviews to choose a candidate. According to Murray Resources, 90% of survey respondents ranked the interview as the first or second most important factor in the hiring decision. 

interview stat

But unstructured interviews — interviews that have no set list of predetermined questions — are limited in their ability to produce qualified hires. Research suggests that standard, unstructured interviews are one of the worst ways to successfully select the right person for a job. 

Here are three problems with relying too much on unstructured interviews and what you can do instead. 

 

Interview Issue #1: Interviewer Bias

Interviewer bias is a common problem with traditional interviews. In fact, 42% of recruiters cite interviewer bias as a challenge. Interviewer bias means that our own conscious or unconscious biases skew our judgment of a candidate and their potential fit for a role.

There are different types of interview bias. For example, similarity bias is when the interviewer likes the interviewee because the person is similar in appearance, interests, background, etc. Confirmation bias is when an interviewer makes a quick decision about an interviewee and confirms that belief throughout the interview, even if it’s inaccurate. Intuition bias is when the interviewer trusts their “gut feeling” about an interviewee, instead of the candidate’s skills and experience. 

The list goes on, but the damage of interviewer bias is clear. Interviewer bias isn’t only harmful to hiring decisions – it also makes it harder to generate a more inclusive workforce. Considering that a diverse workforce performs better, interviewer bias is worth eliminating. 

 

Interview Issue #2: Top Candidates Aren’t Always the Best Interviewers

A great job candidate doesn’t necessarily equate to a great interviewer. Why? Great candidates with steady tenure don’t interview often. As a result, they don’t have as much practice sharpening their interview skills. 

This lack of practice creates a distinct disadvantage for the candidate, especially if a hiring manager is relying on an unstructured interview to make the final hiring decision. 

unstructured interview

Photo by Tim Gouw from Pexels

33% of employers say that they decide if they’ll hire a job candidate within the first 90 seconds of an interview. The best candidates might then be overlooked thanks to unpolished interviewing skills. 

 

Interview Issue #3: Job Hoppers Have Extensive Interview Experience

Throughout the interview process, you’ll likely meet job hoppers — employees who regularly change roles every year, unrelated to layoffs, market downturns, or any other factor outside their control. 

These employees are skilled interviewers because they have the most practice. They are also easily able to answer tough questions with confidence. Confidence is one of the most admirable traits in a candidate, according to 42% of HR professionals.

Unfortunately, hiring a job hopper can be costly if the candidate repeats their pattern and leaves the company within a year or two. The cost of employee turnover can range from 16%-213% of the lost employee’s salary

 

Approach Interviewing Differently 

Interviews shouldn’t be eliminated from the hiring process as they provide an excellent opportunity to build relationships and learn more about a candidate. Expectations for a role can also be set within an interview. 

However, unstructured interviews are a problem. Here are ways to rethink the structure of an interview and how to better fit interviews within the recruiting process. 

 

Solution #1: Follow a predetermined interview scorecard

A predetermined interview scorecard reduces the potential for bias within an interview. You can develop a baseline of standard interview questions for each skill related to the position, as well as a predetermined grading scale – the process is then fair and objective. All candidates are judged by the same scorecard and grading system.

For example, say that your scorecard has questions to assess a candidate’s leadership skills, culture skills, and technical skills. Each skill has a grading scale from “Low” to “Outstanding” that you can use to score the candidate. Companies like Google use this method as part of their hiring process. 


interview scorecard

[Source]

Granted, it’s challenging to create scorecards for positions over and over again. It’s why many people don’t adhere to structured interviews. They feel confident in their ability to judge people without guidance. But the truth is, objectivity is needed in the hiring process. Interview scorecards add in a layer of objectivity. 

 

Solution #2: Conduct pre-employment assessments

Pre-employment assessments evaluate candidates based on a consistent rating system. This method is proven to remove bias from the hiring process. It’s also a time-efficient way to screen applicants. 

Pre-employment assessments are also called job assessments or skill assessments. Employers use these tools to objectively assess job candidates before they make a hire. These assessments can be cognitive tests (verbal/numerical reasoning), skills assessments (ex: Excel or typing tests), personality assessments (ex: Myers-Briggs), or job fit assessments (ex: Birkman for sales, Predictive Index). 

Here’s how the hiring process might work for a sales role, with assessments integrated:

  1. Sales aptitude assessment (ex: Predictive Index or Birkman)
  2. 20-minute phone screen with hiring manager
  3. Personality assessments (ex: DISC) 
  4. 60 minute, in-person interview
  5. Sales presentation / Blind audition

In this example, steps #1 and #3 serve as objective assessments. Step #2 (the phone screen) helps eliminate some of the natural biases that come with face-to-face meetings. 

If a candidate successfully reaches step #4 (the in-person interview), they most likely have the skills and aptitude for the role. The impact of interviewer bias is thus reduced. 

 

Solution #3: Host blind auditions. 

Have you ever watched “The Voice?” It’s a singing competition where judges have their backs to the stage. A singer performs and judges select contestants based solely on their voice talent. This method is designed to remove bias. A blind audition works the same way in hiring. It reduces interview bias and reliance on traditional interviewing practices. 

Here’s how it works: During a blind audition, you have an applicant complete a job-related task such as writing a case study or finishing a coding challenge. The applicant is then hired based on their merit and skill, rather than solely on an unstructured interview. This hiring method also helps generate a more diverse pool of candidates.

 

Solution #4: Decide on an area of focus for each interviewer

Unfortunately, too many conversations after an interview go something like this:

Interviewer #1: “What did you think?”

Interviewer #2: “I liked her. I think she could fit well here.”

Interviewer #1: “I think so too. And her experience with XYZ company was great.”

Interviewer #2: “Let’s ask Barbara what she thought.”

Despite this not being the most rigorous evaluation process, it’s far too common.

Here’s how to avoid a simple “thumbs up or thumbs down” hiring decision with the interview team: Give each interviewer a particular area to evaluate such as the interviewee’s culture fit, technical skills, or managerial acumen. Base evaluation assignments on each interviewer’s position within the company. 

For example, the HR manager might evaluate managerial skills or culture fit. The hiring manager could evaluate technical skills. By dividing responsibility, all areas of an open interview are evaluated more objectively. 

 

Beyond the Unstructured Interview

There are always mistakes involved in the recruiting and hiring process, but a poor interview system shouldn’t dictate who you hire. You might overlook the most qualified candidates. Introduce a level of consistency and objectivity into your hiring process and step away from the unstructured interview – your chances of mishiring will go down significantly. 

Stand Out in Your Next Interview by Being Fully Prepared

When it comes to job interviews, only the strongest survive – and either move onto the next round or get a call with an offer. So, what can you do to ensure you beat out the competition in your next interview? Prepare. Sounds simple, but too few candidates go into an interview fully prepared. Here are four tips to help you do just that, from ResumeSpice, one of the top interview prep services.

Tip #1: Research.

A big part of preparing for a job interview is learning all you can about the hiring company. What do they do? Who are their customers? What challenges are they currently facing? And what are their main products and services? You can read through their website, Google them for the latest news, and view their employees’ backgrounds on LinkedIn. We always recommend setting up a Google alert for their company name so you don’t miss any important news. You can also seek out current information by viewing their social media sites. 

Tip #2: Assess

Once you know more about the company, you should have a good understanding of where you fit in. If you don’t, thoroughly read through the job description. Check LinkedIn for employees who are currently in similar roles or who may have left the role. What are their backgrounds? What similar skills do you have? Focus on your most relevant accomplishments.  

Tip #3: Develop.

Develop your responses to common interview questions. In most cases, you’ll also be asked questions specific to the information provided on your resume, as well as behavioral-based questions, such as “Tell me about a time when you (fill in the blank).” When responding, try to tie in a specific example of how you went above and beyond or made a difference at a past employer. Just make sure you don’t give these interview answers!

Beyond responses, you should also be developing a list of your own questions to ask. Not only will you make a better impression with the hiring manager, but you’ll be able to dig deeper into the role and employer to ensure they’re the right fit for you. Here are some of the best questions to ask an interviewer.

Tip #4: Get ready.

A few days before your interview, make sure you have appropriate attire to wear. You should wear a business suit that’s neutral in color, paired with professional shoes. Keep any cologne, perfume, and jewelry to a minimum. Also, make sure you have several copies of your resume, a notebook and a pen to take notes, and the correct address of the interview location.

Preparing for an interview isn’t difficult. But it certainly takes an investment of time to ensure you’re completely ready once the big day arrives. Simply follow the tips above and you’ll be well on your way to setting yourself apart from your competition.

Ready to get expert help preparing for your next interview?

Connect with ResumeSpice. We provide interview prep services to all levels of candidates, whether you’re highly experienced or just entering or re-entering the workforce. Call 832.930.7378 today to learn more about how we can help.