The Interview – Top Ten Tips for the First Minute

You have submitted yet another resume. You are quite happy with its contents, outlining all your achievements, your qualifications, your experience, your interests. It’s a good resume. You get a job interview. You turn up on time, you greet the interviewer and you feel the interview goes OK. Then nothing. You never hear back from the company and you believe that they have given the job to someone else.

If this situation has happened to you, then you are not alone. This happens to 99% of job applicants, but did you know that you probably lost the job in the first minute of the interview? First impressions do count, and an informal survey of managers and HR executives in Hong Kong shows that they make decisions on hiring within that first minute. You cannot blame them, they are busy and they may have dozens of job applicants to see.


The good news is that you can work on making that first impression count and making the other minutes memorable so that you have a far better chance of being offered a job.

Here are 10 top tips for first minute of interview:

  1. Prepare from the moment you leave home. Wear a smile because you never know who you will meet on the way to the appointment. Be polite, especially when at your new employer’s office. The people in the elevator may be your future colleagues.
  2. Prepare in your mind that you have got the job and visualise working at the new job. If you think you are going to fail the interview then chances are that you will. Usually our worse enemy is ourselves.
  3. Arrive early. You want to arrive relaxed, check out the address the day before.
  4. Be dressed appropriately and take a look in the mirror beforehand. If you are looking good you will feel much more confident.
  5. Be sociable, smile at the receptionist, and be friendly to the secretary. Remember your new employer wants to see how well you will fit into the company.
  6. Walk tall, straight and confident. Take several deep breaths (not so many that you pass out, but enough to relax you).
  7. Have a firm handshake and look the interviewer directly in the eye. Make sure your hands are dry!
  8. Have your opening remarks prepared. How do you introduce yourself in one minute? Think of an interesting statement about yourself which sums up why you should be hired. Practice with this so that you know it without having to think. Remember you have to sell yourself.
  9. Sit straight, leaning slightly forward to show your eagerness to be employed.
  10. Smile – So important. Remember it’s not just your skills on paper but rather how you are going to fit in with the rest of the team. Nobody wants to hire a negative or unfriendly person.

More tips to follow on how to prepare for after the first minute.

Contributed by Brian Hodgson, Trainer at