FIRST IMPRESSIONS

» Studies have shown that most people form opinions about others within the first 10 seconds of meeting them.

» As you begin searching for that perfect job, remember that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Assume that employers will make instant judgments about you and your abilities. If you approach your job search as though every person you meet has the authority to hire you, you’ll be in the best position to make that critical first impression. The truth is that while everyone may not be able to hire you, most everyone at the worksite can suggest that you not be hired if you are rude, sloppily dressed, loud or otherwise inconsiderate.

» Before you leave your house for the interview, make sure you are prepared to make that positive first impression. Are you dressed appropriately? My suggestion is to dress one notch higher than you would on the job. If you would wear a uniform, dress in a nice shirt and dark pants. If you would wear a nice shirt on the job, wear a white shirt and a tie. While bathing and deodorant are fundamental, cologne should be used sparingly, if at all. Some people are allergic to strong scents while others may find them inappropriate at the workplace. If you wear any jewelry, be conservative. A watch and a bracelet are acceptable, as long as they aren’t distracting. If earrings are worn, they should not dangle or be too obvious.

» Body piercing and tattoos should be removed or covered, as they are a major distraction and hindrance when competing for a job. Make sure your shoes are shined and you take that last look in the mirror. Ask yourself – Would I hire this person? If the answer is no, change the outfit. If it is yes, set out with the confidence that you are prepared to make a positive first impression.

» Often, first impressions are made before you even know you are being judged. As you park or approach the worksite, assume your future employer can see you. Don’t smoke or chew gum. Gum is distracting, and the interviewer may be allergic to smoke. Be pleasant and smile to those you see. One of them may be your next supervisor. Greet the receptionist with a smile. Next to the interviewer, the receptionist often has the most influence on who gets hired.

» When you are called in for the interview, smile and offer a firm handshake. If the interviewer didn’t call you in by name, introduce yourself while looking the person in the eye. Using common courtesy, allowing the interviewer to sit down first, unless they motion or invite you to sit. Be aware of your surroundings. If you and the interviewer have an obvious interest in common, mention it – examples would be sports trophies, a plaque from an organization you belong to, a fishing trophy, etc.

» Be in the best position to make a positive first impression, be prepared.