[Infographic] First Impressions: Making Your College Or Job Interview Count

[Infographic] First Impressions: Making Your College Or Job Interview Count
Courtesy of “Maliha Mannan” from unsplash.com
When it comes to college or employment interviews, first impressions matter. Things like your body posture and the firmness of your handshake will help the interviewer to form an opinion of you — whether good or bad — so it makes sense to learn what to do and what not to do.


However, before you even make it to the interview stage for a spot in a popular college program or a position at the sort of company you would love to work for, you need to make a good first impression with your resume and cover letter. On the one hand, if your resume is lacking in terms of content, organization, or grammar, you probably won’t make a good first impression. On the other hand, if your resume is everything it should be, then you’ll likely make the shortlist.

Seconds Matter

Dr. Michael Solomon at New York University finds in his research that it takes a mere seven seconds for a person to form a first impression of someone they’re meeting for the first time. Specifically, he discovers that people take mere seconds to determine, among other things, someone’s level of education, socioeconomic status, and value system.

How can you tip the balance in your favor to make a good first impression during your college or job interview? Here are a few tips:

    1. Attitude.

You might be surprised how easily some people can pick up on attitude. So be honest with yourself and determine whether an attitude adjustment might be in order.

    1. Smile.

If you’re looking to make a good first impression, you won’t do so with a scowl on your face. So be sure to smile genuinely in order to connect with the interviewer.

    1. Firm Handshake.

You might be surprised at how valuable a firm handshake can be. In fact, one source says that a friendly handshake has as much benefit as three hours worth of ongoing interaction.

Interview Tips

While focusing on making a good first impression, be sure to keep some considerations in mind during the actual interview. Whether for college or a job, these sorts of mistakes can derail your chances of getting that letter of acceptance or employment offer.


  1. Do not make the mistake of showing too little enthusiasm or interest.
  2. A lack of research into the university program you’re applying for or about the employer you want to work for will be a serious red flag for the interviewer.
  3. Don’t focus too much on what you want — show what you can provide or what you bring to the table.
  4. Ensure that you differentiate yourself from the competition or you’ll get lost in the crowd.

Body Language

It’s worth touching on the importance of body language. According to research, your facial expression (55%); your voice, intonation, and body language (38%); and what you say (7%) are what people rely on to form their first opinion of another person. You’ll notice that what you do carries a lot of weight, so consider these body language tips.


Steer clear of crossing your arms since this can easily be interpreted as being defensive or closed-minded and, avoid having your fingertips touching in a triangle formation since this may come off as an act of arrogance. Meanwhile, take note that putting your hand on your cheek denotes interest and attentiveness, and making eye contact can have this sort of impact as well.

There’s a lot to keep in mind if you want to make a good first impression during your next college or job interview. But here’s another point to add to your list. After the interview, don’t forget to send the interviewer a note expressing your appreciation for the time that he or she took to speak with you. That’ll definitely make for a good follow-up impression.