First Impressions Really DO Count!

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As a candidate you know, from the moment you apply for a vacancy, everything you do and say will have an impact on whether you are successful in being hired. However, worrying about first impressions isn’t just for candidates… it’s for the person looking to recruit too.

Whether you’re the interviewer who’s short listing candidates or you’re the candidate sat the other side of the table, first impressions really do take you a long way. This goes so much deeper than how you look and act during the interview… it’s also about how you interact with others too.

Candidate perspective

first impressionsYou’ve obviously covered the basic first impressions by making your CV as perfect as it can be… otherwise, you wouldn’t have been called in for an interview! It’s equally important to remember, the minute you first enter the company grounds, you’re likely to be vetted. Don’t dismiss the receptionist or PA, thinking they are non-influential people – they can both be very influential! Treat everyone you meet with the same level of respect and consideration you’d use with the person interviewing you.

Ensure you’re adequately prepared for your interview – you should, at the very least, know what the company does, what they stand for and who they work with. Preparing for an interview also means changing your nervous energy into a more positive energy – like adrenaline or passion – and don’t be afraid to show how passionate you are about working for this company.

Not only do you need to look the part, you also need to act the part, so don’t be afraid to give positive opinions if asked. An interview isn’t the time to go all meek and mild – you need to sell yourself – so make sure your self confidence is high… after all, you can do this job, otherwise you wouldn’t a) have applied and b) been short-listed.

Does this company inspire you? Is the person interviewing you passionate about what they do and what they’re offering to the successful candidate? Does the company and surroundings seem to be one you’d like to work for? Is the vacancy description making you sit up and take notice… or sit back and yawn?

Client/employer perspective

If you have at least one other person working with you, I’d recommend you get them to actually meet and greet the applicant. This gives them the opportunity to engage in small talk, offer them a cup of tea or coffee and show them where they can wait. Not only will this help relax your candidate, it also enables you to see how they respond and treat everyone they meet… and get feedback from this employee after the interview has finished.

Don’t turn up for the interview like a headless chicken! We all know things go wrong sometimes in business but you need to put your best foot forward! If you are feeling a little frazzled; STOP – Take a moment a deep breath and compose yourself. You are being assessed by the candidate just as much as you’re assessing them!

Are you prepared for this interview? It’s not good enough to have the questions you want to ask in your head; you need to first impression at interview stagehave prepared notes – not just on what you want to ask, but also specifics related to this candidate’s CV. It may be your company and you may feel you have the upper hand by having a vacancy but, in reality, if you look like you’re not prepared… your ideal candidate may just turn down your job offer for one that seems more professional.

Are you inspiring the candidate? You may be holding your first interview or your tenth one – but you need to inspire the person being interviewed. You need to portray how great your company is and how beneficial it will be to work with you.

What tips do you have when it comes to interviewing? Have you experienced a less than brilliant interview? Were you the interviewer or the candidate? What one step can you take to improve your interview technique? Why not share your experiences and advice by leaving a comment below?

Images courtesy of Stuart Miles & David Castillo Dominici/


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