Title:Five Tips to Make an Everlasting First Impression
Author:Barbara Adams, CPRW, CEIP, MFRW, MMRW, MFCA-T
It is true that most people judge a book by its cover and make snap judgments, but we also make them incredibility quickly, usually in 100 milliseconds or less, and we find these decisions difficult to change.
First impressions are fast, firm, and very important when being judged for a job. Thankfully, there are plenty of tips and a lot of advice for those looking to improve their first impressions. Below I have listed the top five to consider:
1. The Basics
Your appearance is the foundation for any first good impression. Whether you like it or not, looks matter, and you should care how you present yourself. If you have special issues such as an abundance of tattoos, cover them up. If you feel uncomfortable about competing with younger candidates and want to look younger yourself, dye your hair. If you can't afford to buy a new suit or outfit, press your current apparel and ensure you have a crisp shirt or blouse to wear. If you wear facial piercings, remove them. If you wear an abundance of makeup, tone it down. When you look good, you feel good.
2. Prepare for Your Interview
You applied for the position you are interviewing for; certainly you must know why you want to work for this organization. I recommend you Google the company's name and find out what its mission and goals are, what products and services they sell, and anything else you can find out about the company.
It will be extremely embarrassing if, when asked in your interview why you would like to work for the organization, you show a blank stare. One possible great response might be: "I would like to work for a progressive organization like yours because you are on the cutting edge of launching the best widgets to enhance the performance of electricity in air conditioners." By directly providing knowledge about the company, you will rank high in the interviewer's opinion. Individual details about you and the company can make or break an interview.
If you want the person who is interviewing you to trust you, then fight the impulse to talk first. Remain quiet instead of blurting out your experience and qualifications. Ironically, one of the best ways to win people's confidence is simply to let them talk first. Wait until the interviewer asks you specific questions and then be prepared to respond with high-impact answers regarding your background, experience, and accomplishments in one minute or less. Endless chatter about you eventually turns the interviewer off. Select what your top achievements are before the interview and be ready to share them in brevity.
4. Body Language and Eye Contact
It is known that making eye contact is a signal of sincerity, but research has also shown that it makes you appear smarter. With a crisp new outfit on, you should feel more confident. Keep your head up when you walk in the room, make eye contact, sit up straight, and appear alert. No one wants to talk to someone who is slouching in a chair and who is looking all over the room.
5. Communication — Avoid "Um" and "Ah"
How you speak and communicate can also be one of the best first impressions you make during your interview. It is important to enunciate your words and speak slowly. If you keep saying "um," it appears you are not sure what to say next. It is inappropriate during any professional presentation or communication. If you do not understand or did not hear the question being asked, you can always say, "Can you repeat that question, please?" instead of saying, "Huh?"
Of course there are many more tips that are good practices. I have only listed some basic information on the most common best practices. In closing, always know yourself and the information you wish to relay about yourself, dress appropriately for a business meeting, keep your chin up, make eye contact, and speak clearly. Good luck!