Stupid Interview Mistakes: Weak First Impressions

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

I explain how they occur and easy ways to avoid them.

Job Search Realities

In the world of job search and career advancement, first impressions are paramount. As the saying goes, “You only get one chance to make a first impression,” and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to job interviews. The way you present yourself in those initial moments can make or break your chances of securing the position you desire.

In this blog, we’ll delve into the common mistakes people make when creating a weak first impression and explore strategies to ensure you make a lasting, positive impact on your potential employers.

Handling Unexpected Phone Calls

One of the most common scenarios where first impressions can falter is during unexpected phone calls. Whether it’s a recruiter reaching out or a potential employer stumbling upon your LinkedIn profile, these unexpected interactions can catch you off guard and lead to a less-than-stellar first impression.

The key to navigating these situations is to remain calm and composed. Instead of stumbling and stammering, politely inform the caller that you’re currently engaged with others and suggest a more convenient time to speak. Offer a few options, such as 1:30 pm or 3:30 pm, or even during your commute home around 5:30 pm. This not only demonstrates your professionalism but also shows that you’re in control of your schedule and willing to accommodate the caller’s needs.

Acing Scheduled Phone Interviews

When it comes to scheduled phone interviews, your goal is to exude confidence, personality, and excitement. Avoid sounding uncomfortable or caught off guard, as this can give the impression that you’re not fully prepared or enthusiastic about the opportunity.

A simple yet effective approach is to greet the interviewer with enthusiasm, thanking them for making the call and letting them know you’re ready to get started. This sets the tone for a positive and engaging conversation, where you can showcase your skills, experience, and passion for the role.

Mastering In-Person Interviews

In-person interviews present a unique set of challenges when it comes to first impressions. While you may be waiting in a reception area or conference room, it’s crucial to use this time wisely and not get distracted by external factors.

Instead of focusing on your phone, laptop, or the surroundings, use this time to mentally review your prepared responses to common interview questions. Visualize the stories you plan to share and the key points you want to convey. This way, when the interviewer calls your name and you’re ushered into the room, you’ll be ready to stand up, make eye contact, and offer a firm handshake with a warm smile.

Once seated, take the initiative to express your appreciation for the interviewer’s time and then seamlessly transition into your first question or statement. This proactive approach demonstrates your engagement, confidence, and readiness to make the most of the opportunity.

The Importance of Confidence and Preparation

Ultimately, the key to creating a strong first impression lies in your level of confidence and preparation. Employers are looking for candidates who inspire confidence, as they want to know that you’re the solution to their needs.

By taking the time to thoroughly prepare for your interviews, whether it’s reviewing common questions, practicing your responses, or visualizing the flow of the conversation, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the unexpected and seize the moment when it counts.

Remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression, so make it count. Approach each interaction with a positive attitude, a calm demeanor, and a genuine desire to showcase your qualifications and fit for the role. By doing so, you’ll lay the foundation for a successful interview and increase your chances of landing the job you’ve been seeking.


In the world of job search, first impressions are everything. By understanding the common pitfalls and implementing the strategies outlined in this blog, you’ll be well on your way to creating lasting, positive impressions that will set you apart from the competition and increase your chances of securing the job of your dreams.

Remember, your first impression is your opportunity to convince the employer that you’re the solution to their needs. Seize that moment, and let your confidence and preparation shine through. Good luck on your job search journey!

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People hire Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter to provide No BS job search coaching and career advice globally because he makes job searchJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter and succeeding in your career easier. 

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