first impressions

On your mark, get set, impress!  


Yes, we’re all sick of this old nugget, but the fact remains that it’s true; “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”   Whether you interview with an HR Rep or a Sales Manager, they will both be assessing you based upon their first impression of you. Occasionally you can overcome a bad first impression- but it takes time, diligence and most importantly; repeated exposure to the person whose opinion you’re working to change.  That completely rules out recovering from a bad first impression in an interview. Make a bad showing in this forum and you’re done. Hasta la vista.  We have some quick tips for you to make sure your first impression is a strong and positive one;

  • How is your ‘presence’?- Your interview starts the very second you walk into the building of your potential employer. The ride up in the elevator is part of it. Your pit-stop in the washroom before you enter their office is part of it. You never know which of the people you interact with on your way to your interview may play a part in that interview. Perhaps the woman whose perfume you complimented in the elevator is the assistant to the sales manager…perhaps she sees you come in for the interview and tells the sales manager that you have very nice manners and a friendly, open way about you.  Get it?  The elevator ride became part of your interview.  So, when you actually get to reception and announce yourself to the receptionist, your interview has started. Watch your body language; no crossed arms, no biting your nails, no jingling the change in your pocket.  Sit or stand still, in a relaxed position, and take in your surroundings. Make eye contact and smile at the people passing by. When your interviewer comes out to get you, always stand to make introductions, and don’t forget to say, ‘Thank you’ to the receptionist.  You want to impress your interviewer by demonstrating that you are present; you are alert and ‘in the moment’- not fretting over your nerves, or how you’re going to answer a particular question. Acting distracted does not make a good first impression.
  • How do you fit in? – You must look like you already work there.  If you interview with the HR manager, they’ll be observing you to make judgements about whether you’ll fit into the the corporate culture, get along well with your co-workers, and if you appear to be a potential ‘HR problem child’.  If you interview with the sales manager, they’ll be observing you to make judgements about what you’d look like walking into the clients’ offices, if you would represent the company well, and if you look successful. Both of these interviewers need to be able to picture you sitting in both the company’s office and the clients’ office.
  • How do you look on paper? -  You need to be able to communicate easily and effectively, both verbally and in written word.  Is your resume top-notch? If you charmed them in person but there are typos on your resume, you’re only bringing half the package, and rest assured it will be noticed.  Your resume has already created a first impression of you, or at least set up the expectations for the first impression you give.  Have a look at our ‘Resume Writing Hints’ and ‘Resume Examples’ sections for more advice on presenting yourself well on paper.