Candidates don’t have much time to impress potential employers when they walk into the job interview room, according to a new survey by Accountemps. “Candidates are under scrutiny from the moment they arrive for an interview,” said Max Messmer, Accountemps chairman.

It takes 60 percent of human resources professionals less than 10 minutes to form a positive or negative opinion of a job seeker. Nearly one in five form their opinion in under five minutes.

Those first impressions can make or break your chances.

“Job seekers should convey their professionalism, including through their body language, and be able to quickly highlight the value they bring to the organization using a well-honed elevator pitch,” suggests Messmer.

Accountemps also suggests these five tips for starting your job interview off on the right foot quickly:

1. Pay attention to the details. Extend a firm handshake, maintain eye contact and present a professional image. This includes ensuring your shoes are shined, clothing is pressed, and nails are clean and trimmed.

2. Ace the likely questions. Make sure you know how you will respond to predictable questions, such as, “Can you tell me a little about yourself?” Research the firm before your interview and tap your network for their insights to enable you to couch your answers in the context of how you can help the company.

3. Don’t be cocky. Strike the right balance between presenting your accomplishments in a positive light and coming across as overly confident. Being arrogant is one of the worst mistakes a candidate can make.

4. Tell memorable stories. Give specific examples of how and why you’ve been successful. You’ll make a positive impression on hiring managers by sharing interesting anecdotes about how you solved a tough business problem or saved an employer money.

5. Be yourself. Avoid coming across as overly rehearsed. Interviewers want to get a sense of your personality and how you would fit into the office culture.

Source: Accountemps