Making the First Impression Count
In any situation, first impressions are always the most important. From the very first second of meeting someone, you are subconsciously being judged and this first impression sticks in their head which is why it’s crucial to get it right.
Experts believe that it takes 7 seconds of meeting someone to decide if you like them or not. So, you must make it count!
This applies to all types of situations like client meetings, customer meetings, interviews and even personal situations like going on a date. You have one chance to make a lasting positive impression because you can’t meet someone for the first time twice!
What to do to impress in an interview?
Appearance: Make yourself look presentable. Come suited and booted, or wear industry appropriate clothing. Make sure your hair is done nicely, you are well groomed – make sure facial hair is in order and if you wear make-up, don’t go overboard, same goes with perfume/aftershave, you don’t want something too overpowering just a nice subtle smell. Another thing to think about is tattoos and piercings; some companies have policies against facial piercings for example and visible tattoos, so as a precaution we suggest removing these piercings and attempting to cover up visible tattoos if you’re unsure of their policy.
Handshake & eye contact: Often when in an interview situation, people get flustered and suddenly forget how to greet people, your palms are sweating and you’re not sure what to do. The best thing to do is take a deep breath and act confident. When the interviewer(s) approaches you, stand up, look them in the eye, firmly shake their hand and introduce yourself, and maintain this eye contact to show them you’re engaged and confident. There’s nothing worse than a floppy handshake or someone looking everywhere but at you when you’re talking to them – don’t be this person.
Accept the drink: When you get to the interview room, you’re most likely going to be offered a drink – tea, coffee, water etc. SAY YES. As strange as it sounds, this will help you to build rapport early on by accepting their offer as it can often spark a conversation whereas if you say no, there’s nothing else to discuss as you’ve shut it down.
Make small talk: It’s likely the interviewer(s) will help with this one anyway by asking about your journey etc. but it’s important that you reciprocate this too on the way to the interview room or just before the interview starts as it gives them a bit of an insight into who you are as a person. You could mention something interesting you’ve noticed in their office building, your journey, the weather etc. Anything appropriate is good.
Talk about experience: During the interview you’re most likely to be asked competency questions where you need to give an example of what you would do in a certain situation, but it’s important to give an example of what you HAVE done in that situation (rightly or wrongly) as this demonstrates what you actually do in situations rather than what you think you would do, as often these can be very different. If you reacted in a way that wasn’t right for the situation say this and explain why and state what you learned from this and what you would do differently next time. If you haven’t been in the situation at all that they’ve given you, say it. There’s no shame in saying “I haven’t been in that scenario before but if I was, I would do x y and x based on x y and z situation or trait”. This demonstrates your honesty and showcases more about you and will help you to stand out from other candidates. Don’t just answer yes or no.
Smile: As obvious as it seems, you don’t want to look miserable at your interview and give off the impression that you’re not really interested but equally don’t grin like a Cheshire cat all the way through your interview as it can come across a bit…strange. Just look happy and engaged showing your interest, and occasionally you might want to add a little humour into the conversation to keep it light-hearted and show them a glimpse of your personality.
We hope that by using our simple tips you will be able to secure that job you really want and further your career prospects. If you need any help or advice when it comes to looking for your next move, get in touch with us on 01905 28590 or firstname.lastname@example.org