First Impressions Count!! So Make The Right One…
Making a great first impression is essential to having a successful interview. Throughout history many influential leaders have stressed the importance of making a great first impression. Most notably the Greeks thought and wrote extensively about the effects of one person’s personality on another. In today’s business environment these concepts are still very relevant when making a first impression.
Ones Ethos as the Greeks defined it, can be referred to as their ethics. Who you are as a person and how you are perceived by others. The latter being the more influential in the business world. Who you are perceived to be will greatly determine how much influence you have over another person in business and increase your level of credibility in public. In your personal life though the opposite is true; everything you do and/or do not do personally either adds to or decreases your level of credibility with the ones who know you best and are around you every day. Many of the worlds great leaders had great public success, but personally had troubled or little success in their personal affairs.
In public the first impression you make on others dictates how you will be perceived. The most obvious impression revolves from your appearance. When you first meet someone within 30 seconds or so that person will make a judgment about you based on your appearance and within 1 minute finalize an overall opinion about you based on your tone of voice, body language, etc.. Most notability in a hiring / interview setting most hiring managers will admit they make an assumption on a potential employee in less than a minute after meeting that person; that assumption is very hard to change during the interview if the interviewers mind is made up.
So what can you do to make that great first impression?
(1) While you cannot change your god given physical features, you have complete control over how you dress and present yourself to the world. As it may be a sad commentary on the business world that how you dress will greatly influence how you are perceived. Making a conscious effort to dress professionally and be groomed and clean cut when in a public will greatly influence people’s impression of you. Following fashion trends and/or utilizing accessories such as a brief case, ipad, etc.. all add to your overall image. If necessary, take a look in the mirror, get a few fashion magazines or hire a fashion consultant to help you; as your appearance is the number one influencer on the impression you make within that first 30 seconds.
(2) Your body Language is the next thing people perceive about you. Are you making eye contact? Talking in a strong confident manner? Smiling? Have correct posture? Present a pleasant personality? Your body language says a lot about who you are as a person and leader. So stand tall, make eye contact, speak clearly and slowly, use a moderate tone of voice and when making hand gestures do so purposefully and deliberately. Most importantly be confident.
(3) Know what you are talking about!! Once you have made it past the all-important 1 minute hurdle; you now need to show you know what you are talking about. This is where great business professionals shine. They know their stuff. So in an interview setting, you better be ready to show you are qualified, have the experience and understand the business of the company you are interviewing with. Have your resume with you, do you research on the company understand the position they are talking with you about.
Making a good first impression in the business world go’s a long way in having a successful career. The interview is the first step in building that career. So take the time to prepare and present the best version of you when interviewing.
Michael DeSafey is a leading executive recruiter for professionals in the construction, engineering and environmental industries. He is currently the President of Webuild Staffing (www.webuildstaffing.com). To learn more about Michael or Follow his Blog please visit www.michaeldesafey.com