Making a great first impression is key to a successful interview. When you search the web,you find all kinds of things telling you what to do when you interview. You may find this information redundant but it is extremely important. You should read everything you can, including this article, before going to an interview so that you present yourself at your best.

An interview is an up front face-to-face meeting with a stranger.

The interviewer can see if you have as much as a piece of lint on your suit. You are being scrutinized for your demeanor, your dress, your speaking skills, and your overall presence. The Interviewer will ask tough questions. One’s they are hoping you have never heard before. Ones where you will say outright, “That’s a tough question”.

I have interviewed hundreds over the years. Each interview is different, but some things remain throughout all interviews. Here are 10 interview tips that will help you make your best presentation.

1. Don’t’ wear your jacket on your drive. By the time you arrive your jacket will be wrinkled. You may look disheveled and as though you just picked it up off the floor. Do the right thing. Take it off and hang it in the car or spread it out on the car seat. Put it on when you arrive. It will look fresh.

2. Don’t’ smoke on the drive over. Smoking smells will permeate your outfit and seep into your skin and hair. Eating a few mints before going in will not take the smell away from you. Hiring managers will sniff you out. Especially if the do not smoke.

3. Shake hands…not too hard. Squishing fingers into someones rings hurts. Giving a decent handshake is always good, but do go overboard. You certainly do not want your interviewer wincing at the start of the interview.

4. Choose your shoes wisely. Folk’s love shoes…especially ones that look good that do not signs of show scrapes and bites. Before going make sure your shoes are a reflection of you and combine nicely with the rest of your outfit. Always wear shoes that are comfortable so that you are not limping out of their organization.

5. Do clean up your car. The worst that can happen is you run into someone from the office outside before you go in and they see an impeccable person hopping out of a dirty trash filled car. Clean it up so that your first impressions are lasting for the right reason.

6. Practice before you preach about yourself. Have answers to the basic questions. Research the web to see how others are answering questions. This is where other “good interviewing tips” articles come in handy. Don’t look up to the stars to find an answer to a question or give out one of those hmmms.

7. Listen to the up front information about the company. Giving company information is protocol. You can be judged as to how intently you listen and it can show your interest level.

8. Don’t get caught juggling your carry-ins. You may have your purse, briefcase and/or an envelope with your resume along with your keys. If you are offered a coffee, you can get caught juggling all of these things. Put your keys away and only accept a coffee/tea if you can handle everything comfortably.

9. Present yourself as marketable and in demand. Always take a few questions of your own to ask during the interview. Let the interviewer know that you are interviewing them as well. Desperation is easy for interviewers to spot.

10. Ask for next steps. You need a timeline on their interview process and you need to know what you are up against. You may feel the interview went great and you need to know if you are at the front or the back of the line.

11. Always send a “Thank You” email. This is important. Interviewers remember you if you send something to thank them for their time. This also gives you an avenue to send a follow-up if you have not heard anything in a few weeks. Always piggyback your previous email communication.

12. Look good, speak clearly, ask questions, ask for the job, and get a follow-up date.

Good luck in your interview.