It may be difficult to believe but the impression an individual makes on other individuals can determine their success or failure in various aspects of life. With specific reference to a career and employment environment; if an individual does not portray themselves in the correct and professional manner, this could be (and in many instances is) the deciding factor as to whether they will be considered as a strong and valuable candidate for the job. Will Rogers once said; "You never get a second chance to make a good first impression." This statement demonstrates the importance of making a memorable first impression. Candidates interviewing for jobs should aim to make a lasting impression which reflects professionalism, integrity and excellence.
It has been established that it only takes seven seconds for a person to establish an opinion about another person after meeting them for the first time. It is believed that 70% of this 'first impression' is established in relation to appearance while the other 30% is formed in relation to the body language demonstrated. Says Kerryn Karssing Recruitment Consultant at RecruitFIN: "it is imperative to keep in mind what kind of message we are sending out to other people, and what kind of message would be appropriate to send out in a particular circumstance. For instance, candidates going for job interviews need to give out the message that they are qualified for the job and match the qualities expressed on their resume. The candidate also needs to create a lasting impression that will put them at an advantage over other candidates interviewing for the same position."
A question which someone interviewing for a job needs to acknowledge is 'How do I create an incredible first impression that will send the correct and appropriate message to the interviewer?' The answer is simple: the creation of a "professional impression" is not only obtained through the individual's exterior appearance but also through their attitude and levels of sophistication demonstrated through body language and etiquette. These attributes can be portrayed through gestures and language. It is important to keep all these factors in mind when preparing to make a excellent impression on someone that can add value to your life.
The first way to make a good impression is to be on time. Remember, that being punctual indicates that you are a responsible individual who respects other people so as not to waste their time. Being too early can also put a candidate at a disadvantage as it can put pressure on the person conducting the interviews. Always leave early and aim to arrive 15 minutes before the interview or meeting. Ensure that you allow enough time for potential problems such as traffic delay.
Dressing appropriately to a job interview is an opportunity a candidate has, to demonstrate a first-class impression. The way in which an interviewee dresses demonstrates how seriously they are taking the interview, and how much they value the opportunity as well as themselves. If the candidate takes the interview seriously, the client will respectively take the candidate seriously. It is important to find out the dress code of the company before planning on dressing for the interview; ask your Recruitment Consultant, or find out from someone working at the company. For the most part, a formal approach is standard (e.g. suits). However in some companies a formal approach may distance you from the employees and interviewers who are dressed according to their line of work. For instance, if interviewing at a fashion company, the way in which you dress should reflect your sense of style to illustrate how fitting you are for the job. It is thus very important to do your research on the company's culture. The important thing is to always look groomed and to maintain a sense of sophistication and appropriateness through your clothing. Arriving in jeans and a t-shirt to a corporate company will not gain you respect and in many cases will even jeopardise your chances of getting offered the position. On the contrary, arriving appropriately dressed will put you as the candidate in good stead for making that great first impression and gaining the interviewers respect from the beginning of the interview process.
It would do little good to initiate that professional first impression through your punctuality and dress sense, only to let yourself down from the moment you come into contact with the interviewer/s. Body language is the way people express themselves through movements and gestures. The interviewer can start to make assumptions about the attitude and personality of the interviewee from the first time they lay eyes on them. Always make sure you create a good impression by making eye contact with the interviewer upon greeting them as this will show that you are confident and interested in the conversation. Eye-contact should be maintained throughout the interview. Remember, a firm greeting handshake will indicate your respect and professionalism. During the interview it is important to maintain a good posture and indicate your enthusiasm through hand gestures and nods of agreement. Slouching back in your chair will give the impression that you are not taking the interview seriously enough. Avoid gestures such as looking down at your watch, playing with your hair or fiddling with objects on the table. These gestures will give the impression that you are bored, agitated or feeling uncomfortable. It is useful to remember that if you uphold a positive attitude, positive body language will follow naturally.
Good communication and people skills are a prerequisite for most professions. The candidate needs to make the impression that he/she is a good communicator through the way in which they are able to communicate and through the information they choose to communicate. Always ensure that your voice is projected throughout the interview and use an appropriate tone. Speaking softly, mumbling or using a sombre tone will give the impression that you are disinterested whilst remaining upbeat and speaking in an optimistic tone will demonstrate your enthusiasm and good communication skills. Make sure you do not answer with short sentences and never use slang. Says Kerryn "with regards to the information being communicated throughout the interview, avoid the topics of your 'terrible ex-boss' and salary requirements. This is because creating that professional first impression also involves demonstrating your levels of loyalty and humility."
Etiquette relates to rules for socially acceptable behaviour. Presuming that you have researched the company before attending the interview, ensure that you ask questions about the company as well as the people in the company during the interview. This will signal to the employer that you have taken an interest in the company and are grateful for being given an opportunity to interview. Remembering the names of the interviewers will give the impression that you are a respectful individual. Try and find out the names of the people interviewing you before attending the interview. Also, being truthful and honest throughout the interview will give the impression that you are sincere. Do not make up qualities about yourself, as this is less impressive as being honest about your weaknesses or areas of improvements. It is vital to thank the interviewers for the opportunity once the interview is complete, and once again shake hands to demonstrate your appreciation. This will assist in giving the interviewers a lasting and memorable good impression.
The importance of creating a professional and respectful impression cannot be emphasised enough in an employment environment. If you respect yourself and demonstrate this through your appearance and actions, the employee will in turn respect you. A good first impression that a candidate makes on a client will set them in good stead for the rest of the interview. Maintaining a lasting good impression throughout the interview will set the candidate in good stead for being offered a position in the company. Metaphorically, a car salesman would not display an unpolished vehicle in the showroom. Although the customer is aware of the great features of the car, the interest in making a purchase will be lost very quickly.
Says Kerryn: "It is always unfortunate to see candidates with great potential and skill being regretted by clients because of their poor etiquette or little demonstration of professional body language. Therefore punctuality, dress, body language and etiquette should not be underestimated when aiming to create an impression which is professional and lasting."
The Recruitgroup RecruitFin RecruitMI Recruitsite www.recruitgroup.co.za 58 Thembi Place Calderwood Road Lonehill 011 465 3360 Editorial contact: Kerryn Karssing
As a result of our positive expansion and growth since the inception of Recruit IT Solutions in 2006, the Recruit Group was officially registered as the holding company for our divisions and is made up of; Recruit IT Solutions, Recruit Mi and Recruit Fin. The Group has experienced positive growth throughout the global recession and further expansion plans are on the cards in the near future. We put our successes down to our unique recruitment approach, powered by iMethodology, as well as our great people.- more....
Such useful information - thank you! Definitely will keep this in mind next time I go for an interview. I also read somewhere that it gives you a bad overall impression to catch someone's eye and not smile at them, even if you don't know them. I guess professional friendliness is one way to make a good first impression! Posted on 28 Jul 2012 12:39
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This Message Board accepts no liability of legal consequences that arise from the Message Boards (e.g. defamation, slander, or other such crimes). All posted messages are the sole property of their respective authors. The maintainer does retain the right to remove any message posts for whatever reasons. People that post messages to this forum are not to libel/slander nor in any other way depict a company, entity, individual(s), or service in a false light; should they do so, the legal consequences are theirs alone. Bizcommunity.com will disclose authors' IP addresses to authorities if compelled to do so by a court of law.