First impressions count! How to stand out in your ECEC interview and land your dream role
The Sector > Jobs News > First impressions count! How to stand out in your ECEC interview and land your dream role

First impressions count! How to stand out in your ECEC interview and land your dream role

by Freya Lucas

November 11, 2022

The adage “first impressions count” has been around for some time, and with good reason! You only get one opportunity to make a first impression, and in a job interview, making a good first impression and being memorable can help you to secure the role of your dreams. 


Here are some suggestions about how to make a good first impression during an early childhood education and care (ECEC) interview: 


Dress to impress


While we know that working directly with children involves a lot of opportunities to be exposed to mess, it’s unlikely that you’ll be working directly with children during your first meeting with a service, so make sure you dress in a way which is clean, comfortable and well presented. 


Families and children will be moving in and out of the service while you’re interviewing (if the interview takes place on site) so take care not to wear anything too revealing, make sure your clothes and shoes are in good condition and clean, and pay attention to matters of personal hygiene such as having clean hair and nails, and not wearing too strong of a fragrance – or smelling strongly of body odour. 


Greet your future employer warmly


As much as you’re no doubt nervous to meet who could be your new employer, they are also nervous to meet you! Try and break the ice with a warm and pleasant handshake, and a relaxed smile. Being polite and confident sticks out in the mind of an interviewer. Begin the conversation with a simple greeting like “Hi <Sarah>, it’s nice to meet you” or “thanks for making time to meet me today <Sarah>.” 


Flattery is a good place to start


Just as when you enter someone’s home, which has been decorated and presented with pride, when you enter a service for the first time, it’s nice to try and find something to compliment. It could be “mmmm, is that lunch cooking? It smells amazing!” or “I really like the way that you’ve displayed the QIP in the foyer.” 


Keep your comments calm and sincere, but also try to find a point of difference which shows you’re paying close attention to the space, and the people within it. 


Interviews aren’t just at the desk


At the conclusion of the interview you may be asked if you would like to see the service where you could be working. Always say yes – it’s a great way to get a feel for the environment. As you walk around, as well as listening to the person giving the tour, make sure that you’re carrying yourself with confidence, connecting with the children you meet, and try not to be too worried about other staff in the space subtly (or not so subtly) checking you out! We’re all naturally curious about new people in our space. 


Seal the deal


By the end of the interview you should not only have a feel for if this is the type of place you would like to work, but also if you have a chance of getting the job. If you have been successful, the interviewer will likely let you know when you can expect to hear from them. 


If you’re not sure about how the interview went, you can check in with a question like “when should I expect to hear from you?” 


If you don’t feel the service will be a good fit for your needs, raise it as you’re leaving the service. This will support the service leader to use their time more effectively and only pursue candidates who are the right fit for the role. 


For more information about preparing for interviews, please see here

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