Prepare Your Image for a Successful Interview
In this post, I want to discuss a topic that upon which a big chunk of my business is based, but what is sure to become more important as our country and economy open back up.
The job interview – and making a successful first impression.
You have one chance and one chance only. That’s the thing about first impressions. They are powerful. They are persuasive. And you rarely have a chance to undo the damage caused by a bad first impression.
What do we know about first impressions? What is it about them that explains why they have such a powerful influence? Like I explained in my post about your personal image, scientific research suggests the answer. Research has shown that:
We all form a first impression when we meet someone for the first time.
First impressions are based on limited information.
First impressions are based largely on visual cues.
Attitudes and actions are often driven by first impressions.
First impressions are, often, not accurate.
With all of that working to reinforce the power of a first impression, is it any wonder that they hold the key to your interview success?
Trained recruiters and job interviewers will tell you that even when they try to overlook an initial bad impression, it is very hard, if not impossible, not to let a first impression color their attitude toward the job applicant. If you think this is unfair, if you think an interviewer should be ‘big’ enough to look beyond their initial superficial impressions, you’re simply fooling yourself.
The truth is if you want a successful job interview you must make a good first impression. And you can only make a good first impression when you are aware of the non-verbal messages you are sending.
Researchers disagree on the exact length of time it takes to cement a first impression. What they do agree on is that it happens very quickly, often in the first seconds of your interview. According to Dress for Success™, first impressions are usually formed in less than 30 seconds. The University of Florida, Division of Human Resources suggests that an interviewer typically decides whether an applicant should be seriously considered for a position within the first 10 seconds of an interview. Still others say that you only get 7 – yes, you read that right…7! – seconds. Yikes! That doesn’t give you much time to gain an advantage over other applicants. You can’t afford to waste even a moment.
So how do you do it? How do guarantee the impression you make will be a good one or, better yet, a great one! You do it by paying close attention to your non-verbal messages. You do it by carefully managing all the factors that contribute to y