How Long Does It Take for a Hiring Manager to Form an Opinion in an Interview?

Research shows that managers form opinions in just 90 seconds. From the moment you walk through the door into your interview, you’re under intense scrutiny. Very quickly, you need to convey your professionalism and highlight the value you can bring to the company. Here are some tips for getting it right:

Smile. Facial expression is essential when it comes to making a good impression. A smile can say more than words could in a split second. Keep it real and let them know you’re both confident and professional.

Shake hands. The handshake is a universally accepted sign of professionalism and politeness. Offer a good solid handshake (not to firm or too limp) to let them know you mean business. If multiple interviewers are in the room, make sure you shake all their hands and greet them separately.

90 Seconds to Make an ImpressionSpeak clearly. Talk competently and confidently and make your words relevant and appropriate. Don’t speak too loudly or too softly and talk at an appropriate pitch.

Maintain eye contact. People perceive you as shifty, nervous or rude when you don’t make eye contact. Lock eyes with the interviewer as soon as you enter the room and maintain it while you shake hands and introduce yourself. Hold the interviewer’s gaze for at least three seconds at a time throughout the rest of your interview.

Look smart. Appearance is as important as body language and interview responses, so dress appropriately for the occasion. Even if the company accepts casual dress, dress smartly for your interview; you’d much rather be over- than under-dressed. You’ll be judged on your appearance in a matter of seconds, so make sure nothing could hinder the first impression of you.

Tell memorable stories. Give specific examples of how and why you’ve been successful. Share interesting anecdotes about how you solved a tough business problem or saved an employer money.

Ace predictable questions. Questions like, “Can you tell me a little about yourself?” or “Why are you interested in this position?” are likely to be asked. It’s imperative to research the firm before your interview and at least loosely formulate solid answers to questions you know are coming.

Finally, be yourself! Interviewers want to get a sense of your personality and how you would fit into their work culture. Take a deep breath and present yourself in the best possible light…say, 90 seconds.