Making a Great First Impression
By Cynthia Wright, TheWrightStuffNH
We've all heard the old adage: You only have one chance to make a good first impression. This is especially true when you are going on the all-important first interview. Here are some timeless tips to keep in mind.
Remember, the interviewer's time is valuable. Always allow extra time, particularly if you have never been to the interview location before. Ideally, do a "test run" a day or so before the interview to make sure you know where you are going. Also allow flexibility for delays such as bad traffic, weather, and other unforeseen conditions.
Everyone has heard this before, but often it's not put into practice. Being yourself comes across as confident and secure in who you are as a person. As a result, the person you are talking with is relaxed. Most people can spot a phony a mile away; and it's often perceived as a negative.
Appearance Does Matter
People have said that it's what's on the inside that counts the most. I agree, to a point. When a person meets you for the very first time, the only thing they have to go on is your appearance. While you don't have to walk into an interview looking like you came off the red carpet, the rule of thumb is to be professionally dressed. The key to a good impression is to present yourself appropriately. Try these great ideas for dressing for success.
A smile creates a great first impression. Unfortunately, when candidates come in to an interview, they are so nervous that they forget to smile. There are several ways to overcome this. Try to relax. Think of something pleasant. Remind yourself to smile. A warm and confident smile will put both you and the other person at ease.
Verbal communication only represents about 10 to 15 percent of all communication. The rest is your body language, or non-verbal communication. Use your body language to project confidence and self-assurance. Stand up straight, smile, make eye contact, and greet others with a firm handshake. This will project confidence and encourage both you and the other person to feel at ease.
It's normal to be nervous when coming in for an interview. Take a few deep breaths before the interview. This sends more oxygen to your brain, which will quickly relax you. Even just a few minutes of meditation will help you calm down and think more clearly.
Attitude Is Everything
If you've had a bad day, keep it out of an interview, or any situation where you would like to make a lasting and positive first impression. Remember, people can pick up on even the slightest bit of negativity, so keep it in check. If you need to vent, call a trusted friend or family member.
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Cynthia Wright has 18 years of recruitment experience in both corporate and agency environments and currently is a Senior Corporate Recruiter with a large New Hampshire hardware re-seller. Cynthia has interviewed and hired hundreds of candidates in Engineering, Finance, Marketing, Sales, and Information Technology. She has written extensively for The Telegraph (Nashua, NH), is a contributing career expert for My Job Wave/The Employment Times, wrote a syndicated column with Knight Ridder's News2Use, continues to publish her columns nationally, and is the author of the book 366 Tips for a Successful Job Search (Rosstrum Publishing). Cynthia holds a BS degree from Rutgers University and a Masters Certificate in Human Resources and Labor Relations from Southern New Hampshire University. She can be reached at TheWrightStuffNH (at) gmail.com.