This posting includes some excerpts taken from an article written by Lydia Ramsey on First Impressions, with modifications related to what we experience at Integrated Staffing.
These apply whether you are at your first interview with a company, or a follow-up/second interview. At Integrated Staffing, we have experienced both individuals slipping up on the initial interview, or putting their best foot forward on the initial interview, and then slipping up on the second.
Whether your initial meeting is face-to-face, over the phone, you do not have time to waste. It pays for you to understand how people make their first judgment and what you can do to be in control of the results.
- Learn What People Use To Form Their First Opinion.
When you meet someone face-to-face, 93% of how you are judged is based on non-verbal data – your appearance and your body language. Only 7% is influenced by the words that you speak. Whoever said that you can’t judge a book by its cover failed to note that people do. When your initial encounter is over the phone, 70% of how you are perceived is based on your tone of voice and 30% on your words. Clearly, it’s not what you say – it’s the way that you say it.
- Choose Your First Twelve Words Carefully.
Although research shows that your words make up a mere 7% of what people think of you in a one-on-one encounter, don’t leave them to chance. Express some form of thank you when you meet the interviewer. Perhaps, it is “Thank you for taking your time to see me today”.
- Use The Other Person’s Name Immediately.
There is no sweeter sound than that of our own name. When you use the interviewer ‘s name in conversation within your first twelve words and the first seven seconds, you are sending a message that you value that person and are focused on him/her. Nothing gets other people’s attention as effectively as calling them by name.
- Pay Attention To Your Hair.
Your interviewer will. In fact, they will notice your hair and face first. Putting off that much-needed haircut or color job may cost you the deal. Very few people want to do business with someone who is unkempt or whose hairstyle does not look professional. Don’t let a bad hair day cost you the connection. And, don’t show up with your hair under a baseball cap. Yes, that has occurred at Integrated Staffing!
- Pay Attention To Your Attire
People will look from your face to your feet. If your clothing and shoes aren’t appropriate or well maintained, the client will question whether you pay attention to other details. No matter what will be appropriate once in the job, dress professionally for the initial interview. Shoes should be polished as well as appropriate for the business environment. Potential candidates have arrived at Integrated Staffing in casual sandals or flip-flops, shorts and t-shirts, and holding an extra-large cup of coffee!
- Walk Briskly and with Confidence.
Studies show that people who walk 10-20% faster than others are viewed as important and energetic – just the kind of person your clients want to do business with. Pick up the pace and walk with purpose if you want to impress. You never know who may be watching.
- Fine Tune Your Handshake.
The first move you make when meeting your interviewer is to put out your hand. There isn’t a businessperson anywhere who can’t tell you that the good business handshake should be a firm one. Yet time and again people offer a limp hand to the client. You’ll be assured of giving an impressive grip and getting off to a good start if you position your hand to make complete contact with the other person’s hand. Once you’ve connected, close your thumb over the back of the other person’s hand and give a slight squeeze. You’ll have the beginning of a good business relationship.
- Never Leave The Office Without Taking a Business Card.
You will want to send a thank you email or note after the interview.
- Match Your Body Language To Your Verbal Message.
A smile or pleasant expression tells your interviewer that you are glad to be with them. Eye contact says you are paying attention and are interested in what is being said. Leaning in toward the interviewer makes you appear engaged and involved in the conversation. Use as many signals as you can to look interested and interesting.
Every time you walk into an interview, be ready to make a powerful first impression.