Never Underestimate the Power of a First Impression!
When you are searching for a new job, the first impression you make with someone can be a very powerful factor in determining whether you make it to the next step in the selection process. A positive first impression might keep you in the running against other more qualified candidates and a negative first impression can be enough to rule you out even though your technical skills are a good match. Most companies are looking for the whole package – candidates who are technically qualified AND would also make a good impression on coworkers at various levels throughout the company.
The tips below can help ensure that the first impression you make is a positive one with everyone you meet along the path to your next job!
1) Be on time
You never want to start off being late! Be sure to check and double check the location of the interview or any event you are attending where you might meet with prospective employers. Being punctual shows you are organized and responsible and that you respect the time the person you are meeting with is devoting to you.
2) Dress for the role
Plan what you are going to wear ahead of time. Be sure you look professional and suitable for the role you are interested in. Choose something that makes you feel good and gives you confidence. If you aren’t sure what’s appropriate, go with something more conservative. You don’t want a wardrobe malfunction to be the reason you don’t get a second interview! Be sure to check that your clothes are clean and not wrinkled and that your hems are all intact.
3) Be polite to everyone along the way!
Remember to use your manners (pleases and thank yous!) with everyone you meet. Many companies use their front desk receptionist to gauge first impressions, so be sure to be on your best behaviour right from the minute you walk in the door.
It almost seems too simple, but a smile can go a long way! A smile shows confidence and makes the person you are meeting with more comfortable too. Smiling can also help you to relax!
5) If possible, introduce yourself first
Extend your hand and introduce yourself immediately. “Hi, I’m Stephanie Smith. Thank you for meeting with me.” Be sure your handshake is firm, but not too tight. Look the person you are meeting in the eyes and remember to smile. If you are seated when the person you are meeting enters the room, stand up to shake hands.
6) Come prepared, but don’t overpack!
In most cases, the person you will be meeting will already have a copy of your resume, but bring a couple of extras with you just in case. There may be additional people in the room who would like a copy or they may have forgotten to print it themselves. Don’t bring anything in to an interview that you don’t need. You don’t want to be juggling coffee, a water bottle, your phone and a stack of papers while trying to shake hands! Leave your beverages behind (in many situations you will be offered water) and be sure to turn your phone off and put it away. You want to give the person you are meeting your undivided attention without any distractions.
Keeping these points in mind before you meet with a prospective employer can help you to make that great first impression. Be professional, friendly and polite from the start and you’ll be off on the right foot for the rest of your interview!