How to prepare for a first impression in an interview


First impressions can make or break an important job interview! Check out these tips on how to ensure your first impression is a good one, including how to make sure you have a sparkling white smile.


Hi, I'm Katrina Szish for Howdini. I'm joined by Melissa Brown, president of It's Just Lunch. And we're going to talk about how to avoid job interview disasters.


Makes me scared just thinking about it.

It could be pretty scary, if you don't know how to handle it or avoid it.

OK, well, luckily you're going to show us how to avoid it.


So what are some of the biggest disasters and how can we avoid them right off the bat?

Sure. I think the biggest thing is to be on time. Do not be late to a job interview. In fact, it's recommended that you show up about 15 minutes early to the job interview. So things that I would do is I would make sure I know where I'm going. I would scout out the location prior to the actual interview date. Know where parking is.

That's a great point.

Know the building. Know the location. Just know your environment and your surroundings before going. The other is wardrobe malfunction. Yes. Make sure you're looking nice and neat and professional for this interview. So you always want to be business professional. But make sure you're steamed clean. Just make sure you're nice and ironed out, there's no wrinkles, so you look nice and tidy and professional for that interview. Also do your research.

Oh, very important.

Yes, it's extremely important. You definitely want to know not only what the position entails but more about the company as well as the person you're meeting with. And then this one, I hate to bring it up but it's something you definitely want to consider, is bad breath--

Oh, yeah.

--and just hygiene, in general. Yes.

Not a pretty topic but bad breath can kind of be a deal breaker across the board.

Oh, absolutely, absolutely, especially if you're interviewing for a position where you're dealing with people.

Excellent point.

Yes. So it's extremely important that you, obviously, maintain your regular oral hygiene. But also consider things that you can do to freshen yourself up before the interview.

What are some of those things?

Oh, there's a bunch of things that you can do. But what I would recommend is, especially if you have time to prepare, about a week before start using Whitestrips. It's a great way to give yourself a confident, fresh, pearly white smile. And then right before the interview there's great whitening toothpaste that you can use. And that will help brighten up your smile.


Yes. And your smile is very important. Not only does it show that you're confident. But it also shows that you're a trustworthy person.

And maybe if you're in kind of a dicey situation, a smile can help you get out of it.


That's a good thing.

Yes, that's true.

What if you're jumping from job interview to job interview and you don't have time to stop at home and brush your teeth or freshen up?

Right, and a lot of people don't.


And they don't. I mean just with hectic schedules or very busy they might be going from interview to interview to interview.

Sure. So there's a few things you can do is one consider what you're eating and drinking throughout the day. Stay away from smelly foods, like onions and garlic. And make sure you're not drinking three cups of coffee. But if you are, have a plan B. Have a backup plan. Have a little refresh kit. You can keep mouthwash in there as well as just a mini-toothbrush and some mini-toothpaste. That way you can freshen up before you head into your interview.

That sounds like a great weapon that everybody should carry at all times.


So tell us about some job interview no-no's so we can avoid problems right off the bat.

Sure. And some of these may seem very, very obvious.

Tell them anyway.

All right.

Bring them on.

But the first one is just profanity. Obviously, you don't want to be using profanity in your interview. Two is just rudeness--


--just being, yeah, cutting off the interviewer. I mean there's certain things that you may not think are rude but could come across rude to the interviewer. Jokes, unless you're interviewing to be a comedian, I mean you really shouldn't be throwing the jokes out--


--in the interview. Eye contact, too, is very important, if you're not making enough eye contact. It's extremely important that you're letting them know how confident you are and how trustworthy you are. And I think that goes hand in hand with the smile.


And smiling appropriately, you don't have to be sitting there smiling the whole time but smiling when it's needed or smiling at the appropriate times.

You've interviewed a ton of people in your career, Melissa. So what is the one worst job disaster experience that you can tell us about?

OK, and I don't know how much of a disaster it is. But it has, I think, to do with the research. It's extremely important that, when you're going to a job interview, you research the position, you research the company, who you're meeting with. And we hire a lot of matchmakers. We've been in business for 20 years. We have over 150 offices.


So we meet a lot of matchmakers throughout the years. And for some reason some people just have a tough time with our name. We're It's Just Lunch. And we get a lot of matchmakers come in and say For Lunch Only or Just Lunch. So I would recommend just doing your research.

OK, all great tips. Thank you so much.


Melissa Brown from It's Just Lunch.


Absolutely. All right, let's recap. Don't be late. Show up at least 15 minutes early. And use that time to avoid the biggie, bad breath. Bring a small bottle of mouthwash and a mini-brush to quickly freshen up. No fidgeting in the interview. Let your body language say that's you're confident. No rudeness or lack of eye contact. Look people in the eyes. And use your best confidence tool, your smile. On behalf of Scope, I'm Katrina Szish for Howdini. For more information, check out the website.

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  • Melissa Brown

    Melissa Brown President, It’s Just Lunch Melissa Brown, President of It’s Just Lunch oversees the day-to-day operations of the organization with an area of focus and expertise in customer service, franchising and revenue generation. more about this expert »

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