First impressions can make or break a job interview. So, here’s what a hiring manager can tell about us in 30 seconds or less. 

  • First: How considerate we are. We think arriving 20 minutes early for an interview makes us seem eager and prepared. But most hiring managers are overworked, overstressed and overbooked. And the moment they know you’re waiting, they’ll feel pressured to meet with you. But if you show up 5 minutes early, they’ll know you respect the hiring process, and their time. So if you get to your interview too early – wait in the parking lot. You don’t want to start the interview with the hiring manager feeling annoyed.

  • What else can an interviewer tell in 30 seconds or less? What we’ll be like to work with. To see if we’re polite and appreciative, they usually offer water the moment anybody walks in. But if you don't say thank you when it’s offered, you've failed the interview right there

  • They can also tell pretty quickly who’s a Debbie Downer. All it takes is two seemingly offhand questions: “How about this weather?” and “Did you have a hard time finding us?” Don’t be fooled. It’s not idle chit chat. Management expert Allison Green says when you gripe about the small stuff, you might as well be saying: “If you hire me, every request will get an eye-roll, a sigh, or a complaint.”

  • The final impression you give in 30 seconds or less: How you’re dressed. Every office dress code is different. So, what’s business-casual at one company, might be considered beach attire at another. The fix: Do a little scouting. Sit outside the business at lunch a few days ahead of your interview. And copy the most sharply-dressed person you see for your interview.