Making a good first impression in an interview is extremely important as apparently, it takes just seven seconds for a human brain to create an impression at the first meeting. That is a lot of pressure when you think about it. As the famous quote goes, ‘’you only get one chance to make a first impression”. And you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
There are small things you can do to make a positive, lasting impact and ensure you put your best foot forward. We all know that our first impressions can be – and have been – wrong, but try these impression hacks that can help influence the impact you make in those first seven seconds:
- If waiting for an interview, stand in reception instead of sitting. That way you’re at eye level when your interviewer or their assistant comes to meet you.
- ALWAYS keep your right hand free. You do not want to be fumbling around with your handbag or folder while someone has their arm extended to you.
- Shake hands firmly, and if you want a wider grip, open your fingers instead of keeping them together. Try it – it works!
- Chin up. Shoulders back. It oozes confidence.
- Strike a pose – a power pose. Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on the benefits of power posing became the second-most-popular TED talk in history – it has had over 54 million views. In case you missed the power pose craze, Cuddy suggests that our body language governs how we think and feel about ourselves, and thus, how we hold our body can have an impact on our mind. In other words, by commanding a powerful stance, we can make ourselves feel more powerful.
- Dress to impress. “You have to dress for the job you want, not the job you have.’’ ― Austin Kleon (Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative)
- Listen. The 80/20 rule dictates that good communication is about spending more time listening and less time talking. And ask people about themselves – humans LOVE to talk about themselves.
- The BEST advice I can give about making a good or bad first impression is to treat the Receptionist or your first point of contact in an office well – be assured recruiters and potential employers hear if you have been rude to the receptionist.
- My final tip is that you never know who you are in the elevator with, so remember the person standing next to you could be your new boss!
Be aware of how your behaviour can affect how others see you. Do what you can to make sure the first impression you make is a good one and that your first impression does count.