Banner Default Image

The First 5 Minutes of a Job Interview - Creating a Good First Impression

The First 5 Minutes of a Job Interview - Creating a Good First Impression

18 January 2024


​In the fast-paced world of local government leadership, making a stellar first impression in a job interview is crucial. As you embark on your career change journey in 2024, nailing the initial moments can set the tone for a successful transition. Let's delve into the key elements of the first 5 minutes of a job interview that can leave a lasting positive impression.

1. Entrance Matters: Online or In-person

Whether you're entering a physical room or joining an online meeting, your entrance sets the stage for the interview. In both scenarios, project confidence and professionalism. For online meetings, ensure your virtual background is tidy, and your webcam and microphone are in working order. A poised entrance speaks volumes about your readiness and attention to detail.

2. The Greeting Game

In the first 5 minutes, a strong handshake used to be the norm, but times have changed. In-person or online, opt for a friendly and firm verbal greeting. In the digital realm, your online equivalent of a handshake is a respectful nod or a warm smile. This initial interaction helps establish a positive rapport from the start.

3. Reading the Room

Before diving into the interview questions, take a moment to gauge the atmosphere. Are the interviewers engaging in small talk or diving straight into the agenda? Read the room and adapt accordingly. Some environments may warrant a brief exchange of pleasantries, while others may prefer a more direct approach. Your ability to read the room demonstrates your adaptability and social acumen.

4. What's in Your Arsenal?

Consider what you bring into the interview room, whether physical or virtual. A professional-looking notepad and a pen are timeless essentials. If it's an online interview, ensure your background is clutter-free and distractions are minimised. The key is to convey a sense of preparedness and organisation.

5. Device Etiquette

Your phone, a potential source of distraction, should be set to silent mode. It's best to leave it in your bag or pocket during an in-person interview. For virtual meetings, keep your phone off the table to maintain focus and professionalism. Demonstrate your commitment to the interview by minimising technological distractions.

6. Seating Strategy

How you sit during an interview speaks volumes about your confidence and engagement. In both settings, maintain an upright and attentive posture. In person, wait until invited to sit, and in a virtual interview, position yourself at eye level with the camera for a more natural connection. This subtle detail showcases your attention to detail and respect for the interview process.

7. Nailing the First Question: Practice Makes Perfect

As the first 5 minutes of a job interview unfold, it's crucial to be prepared for that initial question, often a key inquiry into what attracted you to the role or a brief overview of your background. Nailing this question not only sets the scene for the interview but also boosts your confidence for what lies ahead.

Practice Your Response: Devote time to rehearse your answer to this pivotal question. Craft a concise and compelling response that highlights your genuine interest in the position and aligns with your career trajectory. Consider incorporating specific aspects of the role, organisation, or local government initiatives that resonate with you.

Demonstrate Enthusiasm: When responding to the question, convey genuine enthusiasm for the role. Express your excitement about the opportunity to contribute your skills and expertise to the local government arena.

Connect Your Background: Tie your background into your response seamlessly. Highlight relevant experiences and accomplishments that make you an ideal candidate for the position. Emphasise how your skills and achievements align with the requirements of the role, reinforcing your suitability for the job.

Remember, a well-crafted answer sets a positive tone and instils confidence, allowing you to navigate the subsequent questions with poise and assurance.


So, here's to a fresh start in 2024 and may your first impressions pave the way for a fulfilling career in local government leadership.