How to Land the Job: Mastering the Art of the First Impression

July 26, 2017

First impressions happen in the blink of an eye – they’re crucial when it comes to the job hunt and can help you find your way in. In fact, nearly 80 percent of professionals find it difficult to overcome a bad first impression according to a LinkedIn study. It’s important to present yourself in a way that highlights what makes you stand out as a professional. Whether it’s your first interview or your first day at your new job, here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:

DO: Polish Your Online Presence

Think of your LinkedIn profile as your virtual handshake. Polishing your presence on LinkedIn can help guide recruiters and industry professionals to the best and brightest parts of your career and notable work experiences.

And be sure to put your best foot forward – whether it’s in person or in your profile picture. In a recent LinkedIn survey*, nearly one-fifth (17%) of hiring managers say they have eliminated a candidate from consideration because of inappropriate photos online. Take a step back and make sure your online presence matches the first impression you want to leave on a potential employer.

DON’T: Skip the Question Prep

According to a recent LinkedIn study*, nearly half (41%) of hiring managers say that asking well-informed questions is one of their top qualifications for a candidate.

Show up to your interview with specific questions related to the company and industry that reinforce your expertise and interest level. If you don’t know where to start, check out the company's LinkedIn page to learn more about their history, current strategies and recent announcements, amongst other company news. This will help you think of focused questions that are relevant and timely to the company, and will reinforce your interest level based on your knowledge, curiosity and genuine interest in the role.

Don’t forget to leverage your relationships! Take a look at the LinkedIn Jobs homepage to see helpful information on connections at the company that can help you find your way in to the company. You can reach out to connections that are currently working there for insider tips on the role and culture. Individual job listings also showcase who you might be working with if you get the job, along with additional background on the company’s growth and hiring trends.

DO: Break the Ice

Finding a mutual connection within your LinkedIn network is an easy way to establish common ground during the interview. In a recent LinkedIn study, almost one-third (29%) of professionals say that a strong personal connection and easy conversation is one of the most important qualities they look for in a potential candidate.

If you don’t have a mutual connection, don’t worry. You can check out the LinkedIn profiles of the people you are meeting with ahead of time to prepare. Familiarizing yourself with your interviewer – mentioning shared interests, mutual connections, or even their alma mater are great icebreakers.

DON’T: Show Up Late

Timeliness is a timeless trait. One-fifth (21%) of professionals say that punctuality is key and one of their most important criteria for a candidate.

Make sure you don’t get lost by researching your route to the interview the night before and create a backup plan in case of train delays, traffic, etc. It’s also never a bad idea to build in plenty of buffer time for your trip to the interview – if you get to the area well ahead of time, you can camp out in a coffee shop nearby to fit in a bit of final preparation. As a rule of thumb, show up to the interview 10-15 minutes early to start off on the right foot.

Keep these dos and don’ts in mind, and you’ll be sure to leave a great first impression with anyone you meet in the job hunting process. By keeping your online presence polished, building rapport with your interviewer and being respectful, you’ll set yourself up to find your way into your next career opportunity, and the right job for you.

***LinkedIn partnered with Censuswide Research to carry out an online survey of 1,025 professionals in the US between May 4, 2017 and May 9, 2017.