Our society puts a huge emphasis on firsts: first place, first kisses, the first day of school and, of course, the first impression. The importance of these moments in life is constantly stressed, leading them to become exactly
that — stressful.

Confidence can be hard to come by in one of the more important first impression situations: a job interview. The stakes are raised because employers find a confident outlook to be one of the most important factors in hiring potential workers.
“I tend to base [their level of confidence] off of the answers they give,” campus Starbucks supervisor Denielle Cain said. “They give more detail and in-depth answers to questions when they are confident. You can also tell through body language and how they come dressed. I definitely notice if it’s more on the casual side.”

Preparing mentally
One way students can prepare is by using Career Services, which offers many ways for students to create this coveted, confident persona. Interim Assistant Director of Career Services Amie Hammond suggested taking advantage of mock interviews, both in-person and online.

“It’s all about preparation and practice,” Hammond said. “It’s just like public speaking: if you can practice it and envision how it’s going to play out, you will be more confident and comfortable in that situation.”

Business management freshman Jessica Lewis found this type of physical preparation beneficial for her most recent interview, which was for a management job at Sonic.

“I studied up on the company, the job position I was going for [and] who was interviewing me,” Lewis said. “I also knew the general questions they were going to ask, so I went over those with my friends and parents in order to put my best foot forward.”

Preparing physically
In addition to being mentally prepared, it is also important to be physically prepared.

“Having good posture definitely affects you psychologically, which is why you should keep yourself from slouching during an interview … keeping a smile engages the interviewer, since having a positive attitude reflects greatly on your confidence,“ political science junior Kyle Kelly said.

Hammond also noted it is important to remember that the person on the other side of the desk started in the same position.
“A lot of people get worried about being nervous and I think having a little bit of nerves show through is not always a bad thing,” Hammond said. “It tells the employer that it matters to you. Most everyone who is interviewing you has been an interviewee, so
they understand.”

Confidence isn’t gained overnight. However, through mental and physical preparation, students can be better composed for nailing first impressions during a job interview.

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