How important are first impressions?
Are first impressions really that important? The answer is… YES!
When the decision comes to hire a new employee, the candidates that are chosen almost always will share similar educational backgrounds, skills and experience. Because of this, it can be the small things that make the difference between getting the job or not. A lousy handshake or dirty shoes can be all it takes to lose out on getting the job.
Top tips to make sure that your first impression counts!
A person who looks professional portrays the image of being professional. A person who looks sloppy portrays an image of being sloppy. If two people walk into an office and candidate one is perfectly dressed with clean shoes a shirt tucked in and brushed hair, and candidate 2 walks in looking like they just woke up, it goes without saying which candidate will more likely get the job. Before even discussing their skills, the hiring manager’s first impression about professionalism has already been made.
As a hiring manager, I can tell you there is nothing more off putting than interviewing a candidate with bad hygiene. No matter what job you are applying for, bad breath or lack of hygiene is not going to help you to get ahead. There is a fine balance between wearing the right amount of perfume/aftershave or too much. If the interviewer can smell your perfume from across the table you are probably wearing too much!
Addressing the interviewer properly:
Showing respect toward the interviewer is paramount. Remember the interviewer is not your best friend who you have known for many years. Using slang or shortening their name (“Wassup Dave”) is not the correct way to make a good first impression.
Listening, not dominating:
A great mistake you can make in the interview is to speak too much and not answer questions. Interviewing is a 2-way process. Not only do you need to directly answer the interview questions, but you need to listen to what the interviewer is saying. Unless it is a direct yes or no answer, always provide examples and evidence to support what you are saying. Make sure you leave the interviewer with no doubts that you are the right person for the job.
Handshake and Smile:
When you walk into the interview, a solid handshake and smile will go a long way to building rapport with the interviewer and will also leave a positive memory in their minds after the interview has finished. Typically the person who is interviewing you will often be your boss, and therefore they will want to know that not only do you have the skills required to do the job, but that they are going to want to work with you on a daily basis.