First Impressions…

So, if you’ve managed to master your application and someone actually looked at your resume and called you in for an interview, are you prepared?

I’ve always been amazed by the amount of people who aren’t prepared when coming in for an interview, not necessarily just for the questions and answers, but in the way they dress and act! I mean, I’ve had people rock up in flip-flops, raggy t-shirt and old shorts, to someone arriving with a takeaway coffee 30 minutes early, only to sit in the interview with the coffee, stopping to burp mid sentence and not excuse himself.

Of course I’ve had people impress me as well, and they’re the ones that ultimately got the job. You need to be able to sell yourself. If you go to a shop to buy food, will you buy the mangled loaf of bread, or the one presented nicely with no defects, preferably just baked and smelling like carb  heaven?

How many seconds do you have to make this grand impression you ask? Research shows that people make up their mind about you within the first 20-30 seconds of meeting you. This means the way you look, act and hold yourself before the greeting, the greeting itself and the initial small talk. More research info for you, if 2 people walk into a room, both with exactly the same qualifications, background and experience, the one who walks in with more confidence will get the job. It’s a proven fact and a scary fact at that. Who would have thought it’s not just about your qualifications and experience, even if you’ve managed to portray these well on paper.

So after the first impression has been made, you have 10 minutes to save yourself or sell yourself. Hopefully the latter.  Here’s my tips to help you make a positive first impression and sell yourself for that role you’ve landed an interview for:

1. Don’t be scared to ask the dress code over the phone when arranging the interview, we will be impressed, not negatively surprised.

2. Dress appropriately for the interview. If you have been told not to bother with a suit, dress in business or smart casual. It’s always better to be over dressed than under dressed. You want to be remembered for impressing, rather than for not bothering. If you’re not sure what to wear, even if it’s for a labourers job, as I said, it’s better to be over dressed than under dress, UNLESS, you’ve going on site and need to wear appropriate PPE gear.

3. Body language needs to be positive and confident. Fake it  til you make it. If you’re nervous as hell no one needs to know. You don’t know these people so pretend you’re confident and you WILL be, trust me. Go practice it right now, no mirrors, no one else. Just you and an empty room. Walk in like you’re the most successful person you’ve ever seen. Feels good doesn’t it?

4. A strong handshake and eye contact when greeting is still standard, even in today’s world and should be executed professionally and immediately. No limp fish please, or hand crushers.

5. Prior to any of this, do NOT turn up more than 15 minutes early. If you arrive early, don’t go into the business, wait down the street, or at the bottom of the building. A time is set for a reason, we’re busy until the time we’ve booked, or we would have booked you in earlier.

6. Be yourself, but be professional. The professional you, acting and dressing as if you ALREADY have the job. It’s like getting ready for a first date, you want to impress. You want a second date.

7 – Lastly, don’t fidget. If you normally play with you hair, put it up. If you crack knuckles, hold your hands together so you don’t. It draws the attention away from what you’re  saying, to the annoying thing you keep doing. Remember be CONFIDENT and PROFESSIONAL.

Think about people you’ve met that impressed you, why did they?

If you have any specific questions about interviews and first impressions, please leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you.

Until next time,

Resume Mentor.

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