The number 1 rule for making a good impression during a residency interview is to pay attention to the person who is interviewing you! Focus on them and give them the full attention they deserve. This will serve two purposes, you will appear as interested in the faculty, program and institution and they will remember you as attentive and interested candidate. There are several quick and easy ways to achieve a high level of first good impression. When you sit down for the interview, do not fidget and relax into the chair. Not too relaxed and slouching and not too tense and stressed out either. If you are stressed, then the interviewer will easily perceive that and then interview will be wasted in trying to make you comfortable rather than creating a good impression. Listen to what they have to say and speak when asked a question. If you appear too glib or verbose (out of habit or nervousness) that is a not a good impression you are going to create. Smile at the person sitting opposite you and this will instantly put you and the other person at ease. Practice smiling for no reason and you will find that it becomes a habit for you to smile when you are talking. This immediately has the effect of making the other person feel connected to you.
Another thing that you can do to make a strong good impression, is to lean forwards a little when you are talking or listening. This makes you look very interested in what the other person has to say. This will be perceived as being very interested and vice verse, if you are laid back and distance away from the person talking to you, this non-verbal cue will be perceived as disinterest. I have already dealt with what to wear during an interview and it is of utmost importance to present you well. Make sure that your mind is not distracted and wandering in thoughts not connected with the interview and it also helps to have the phone kept on silent or vibrate mode. It is really very annoying to have the phone go off in the middle of an interview. The instant correlation is that if you do not think the interview is important enough to disconnect yourself from distraction then you don’t need to be there at that time. Learn to make good eye contact, don’t linger or stare (that’s creepy). Research shows that humans tend to focus on one or other eye for most of the conversation. Do not bounce your focus from one eye to another in during the conversation too often and equally (this makes you look like you are shifty and nervous). One important piece of interview puzzle is that not everything is all business. There are times where it helps to have a casual conversation about other things like the interests of your interviewer. A trick to see if you can find something in common to talk about is to scan the room of the faculty. They will usually have nick-knacks and some memorabilia that will be enough to give you a clue to initiate a conversation that can be more causal.