The saying that you never get a second chance to make a first impression is particularly applicable to the hiring process. The first interview with a hiring team will either impress them or eliminate a candidate entirely. Unfortunately, many job seekers don’t take that initial interview seriously because it’s often a phone or virtual interview. Focusing on some key areas and eliminating distractions will impress the hiring team and move candidates to the next level. Research the Company Carefully examine the company’s website prior to the interview to become familiar with their products and services. Look up the interviewer in the staff listings or on networking sites. This will provide important information, such as whether they are male or female and potential topics to discuss. Avoid Distractions Employers set aside time for interviews and candidates should too. Don’t conduct interviews while driving, shopping or performing other tasks. Not only will the interviewer hear traffic and household noises, but the candidate will sound distracted. Sit at a desk in a quiet room so that you can properly concentrate. If you have a landline phone, use it for the interview to avoid poor reception. If a cell phone is used, turn off all apps or notifications that could make noise during the call. In addition, candidates should project confidence in their voice during the interview and avoid awkward pauses. If the organization uses a digital interview platform such as Hirevue’s, dress as you would for a face-to-face interview. Be aware of the background that will be visible to the interviewer. You’ll not want to be sitting on your couch or in full view of an unmade bed and laundry. Don’t Forget the Details When an interviewer asks a question, they want a comprehensive response rather than just a yes or a no. Instead of just confirming experience with a software or task, candidates should give examples of how they used it and for how many years. In addition, they should provide examples of the results, such as increased efficiency or an increase in sales. Candidates should remember that employers want results as well as competency. Finally, don’t forget to plan out responses to general interview questions, such as telling about yourself. Many candidates blank out on these questions or tend to ramble. Write out responses that are relevant to the position and rehearse them until you can repeat them with confidence.