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The first 30 seconds: Making a good first impression Stacey Andrews, Employment Facilitator, Newmarket Employment Resource Centre

About the Author

Stacey Andrews is an Employment Facilitator at the Newmarket Employment Resource Centre.
Click here for info about the Newmarket Employment Resource Centre

Stressed out about interviews? Well who isn't? .... Selling yourself is not something that we do everyday.... And there's a lot on the line..... What do I say? What do I do? What should I wear?

Your mother was right. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. And whether or not you want to admit it......we ALL make them on a sub-conscious level when meeting someone.....the daughters new boyfriend, the next door neighbor who just moved in.... the insurance salesman who just arrived at the house. Statistically it happens in 30 seconds! In 30 seconds we have come to many conclusions about the person we are meeting for the first time. And as most of us hate to be wrong..... we usually spend the next 3-4 minutes validating our decision. We find behaviours that confirm our hasty conclusion.
So does that work with the interview process...?

I remember talking with one candidate after an interview that was a walking contradiction to the resume that preceded her to the employer. Although she was responding to an ad for a bank administrator position, she had her newly acquired butterfly tattoo exposed, complimented with large hoop earrings with parrots dangling from inside the hoops......hardly the conservative, professional image that she had claimed on her resume. Another candidate decided to clean her shoes in the reception area with the Kleenex in her purse and some saliva. Problem was.....the receptionist who watched in horror was only too happy to share the story with the interviewer before announcing her appointment.

Be cognizant of the fact that the interview begins as soon as you arrive at the employers' place of business and there are many, many eyes watching candidates - the parking attendant, the security guard, employees walking around and definitely ....the receptionist. Never underestimate who's watching when you arrive for an interview, and always portray a positive self image.

Another thing to be aware of is personal hygiene, such as applying make-up and smoking while waiting for the interview. Don't offer up any behaviour that may be interpreted as negative. Many clients have said to me that they really don't worry about not making a strong first impression. "They'll like me once they get to know me"...... I hear again and again. Unfortunately from the employer perspective taking every candidate camping for a weekend to "get to know them" is not an option.

So what are some things to keep that first impression positive?

Arrive early. Dress appropriately for the position. Give a strong confident handshake. Keep small talk to a minimum.......and SMILE!

The first impression of you will set the stage for the rest of the interview. Make sure it is a good one. Stay tuned for how to have a successful interview coming soon.

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