November is National Career Development Month. Throughout November we will feature a variety of topics to assist you in your career quest. Today feature is about first impressions. Keep reading for more info....
John shows up to his interview on time and well-dressed. He thinks he is exactly what the company is looking for. He cannot wait to prove to the hiring manager that he is the man for the job. The interview starts out rocky because John is nervous and a bit over-aggressive. Yet overall, he walks away feeling confident. Although he cannot remember everything he said, he waits for the phone call offering him the position. Unfortunately, he does not receive that call.
The above scenario is very common. People often do not realize how important first impressions are when interviewing. First impressions are like filters. Once a certain trait is identified, the rest of you actions will be seen through that lens. For example, if John was perceived as aggressive and jumpy, he may have forfeited his chances at landing the job before he even answered the second question. Psychological research supports the first impression phenomenon. In short, people weigh initial information more heavily than later information. So as you begin you job search keep these things in mind.
1) Focus! Be aware of the importance of first impressions and try to make them effective. Pay attention to cues and mannerism of the people you are interacting with. Be in tune with what others say and with what you say. Also, take mental notes of names. Repeating someone’s name is a great way to demonstrate that you concentrate and care.
2) Be warm! Warm mannerisms include smiling, showing physical attention, and nodding as someone else speaks. Eye contact is also important. People are more like to respond and show interest if you are warm.
3) Be yourself! Sincerity is transparent. If you seem like you are acting, it almost always shows. Get comfortable with the things that you anticipate talking about during your interview and practice. Yet, make sure that you are natural. Remember, the person across from you maybe just as nervous as you are. Making an interviewer feel at ease right off the bat will make the entire situation easier for everyone.
This information was gathered from the book First Impressions: What You Don’t Know About How Others See You, by Ann Demarias and Valerie White. Stop by our office for the full text. We are located at 1200 W Harrison Suite 3050 in the Student Services.