A Great First Impression

There is an old proverb that says first impressions are the most lasting, and in the world of interviewing, this could not be truer. Just like any first encounter between two people, each is sizing up the other, looking them up and down, preparing their initial thoughts often before any words have even been spoken. So, let’s take a few minutes to talk about ways you can make a positive and lasting first impression in your next interview.

First thing’s first, appearance. You have heard, dress for the job you want, well this can be tricky depending on your industry. Some careers don’t exactly require a jacket and tie in the dress code, so I say instead, dress to match your interviewer. If you are interviewing with an HR Manager, they will be in professional attire. Show them you are serious about this job and have respect for them and the company and show up in your best business attire.

Think outside of your wardrobe as well. A clean-shaven look and done up hair will go a long way. Again, we want to show we respect the job and company and you will put your best foot forward no matter what the situation. Think about it like you’re going on a first date. You want to look nice for the person you are about to meet, they may have a huge impact on your future.

The next step to think about is mannerisms and language. Again, be professional. Even if the job you are applying for may not require a ton of face to face interaction or customer interaction, it is still important to show how you can and do handle yourself. Be polite and clean spoken. Basically, be on your best behavior. Address them how they introduce themselves. If they go by Mr. or Ms. Something, call them that during the interview. If they introduce themselves by their first name, it is okay then, and only then, to address them by their first name. Finally, thank them for the opportunity to speak with them and for their time.

The last thing is the one most often overlooked. You may not realize who is looking out their office window when you pull up. Your first impression may be starting even before you are introduced. Wash your car before your interview. Stepping out of a clean car shows you take good care of your things. Maybe save that pre-interview cigarette until after. This will also make you smell nice and clean before your interview. If the manager interviewing you doesn’t smoke, this small thing can go a long way. Just assume as you pull onto their property that someone is checking you out.

So, the next time you are going in for an interview, think about that all important first impression. It is more than just a good handshake and your experience. This will often be the deciding factor on whether you have a shot at the job, or not. So, take the time to get your first impression right!

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