While it is impossible to get to know someone in an hour, that is usually all of the time you’ll get in a job interview or business meeting (if you’re lucky). This is why it is important to make your first impression a memorable one. Once someone mentally labels you as “likeable” or “untrustworthy”, everything else you do will be viewed through that filter. If someone likes you, she’ll look for the best in you. If she mistrusts you, she’ll suspect ulterior motives within your actions. Every detail from what you say or don’t say, to what you wear, to your body language can be a determining factor in how people see you as an individual, and more importantly, it can determine if you land the job or not.
Here are some guidelines to follow in order to make your first impression your best:
Be on time: And by on time, I mean fifteen minutes early. If you show up late to your interview, it will be assumed that being late is part of who you are.
Dress to impress: As often as we’re told “looks don’t matter”, you would think what you wear shouldn’t be an issue. However, what you wear can say a lot about the qualities you possess and how seriously you’re taking the interview or meeting.
Give a good handshake: Touch is the most powerful and primitive nonverbal cue. Nothing is worse than a lifeless handshake, but at the same time, don’t break their hand either. There is a perfect in-between that is essential to master. Practice up and make sure to make good eye-contact simultaneously. This is more significant than you know.
Don’t check your phone: This is simply rude and disrespectful. From the time you enter the building or meeting room, your phone should be turned off and out of sight.
Stay positive: Always try and spin things in a positive light or be upbeat when speaking. Smiling is key.
If all goes well, this first impression won’t be your last!