Everyday you have the potential to meet someone new who could have the power to influence your life. Whether it be someone who could be looking to hire you for your next career move or someone who has the potential to change your life in an instant. You can’t always step out of the house looking polished but it’s important to keep these things in mind so you know how to always make a great first impression, especially when going through the job application process.Ben Stiller portrays Derek Zoolander in Paramont Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures, Zoolander

Body language makes the biggest impact on the meaning of the message coming from a person’s mouth, followed by the tone of voice, and finally, by the words itself. This is true especially when being interviewed by a potential employer, where the first few minutes can signal success or failure for your application. If interviews were not conducted during the job search and application process, employers would be hiring candidates simply on the basis of their CV or assessment results, which tend to not reflect the personality of the candidate. Here are some helpful tips on how to make a good first impression:

Be punctual
You might as well forget about being successful with your application if you come in late for the interview, clothes soaked in sweat, your hair all wind swept and generally looking like you have been dragged through a bush. Give additional time for traffic, parking and bad weather. However, if you’re 20 minutes early, remember to not go straight to the receptionist to announce your arrival as this might put pressure on the interviewer. Instead, catch your breath, try to steady and relax yourself or get some coffee (remember to take a mint afterwards).

Dress smartly and neatly
Let the hiring manager see you in the job by dressing for the part. Pants, skirts and shirts as well as shoes should be clean and neat. If you are not sure what clothing is required for the interview, dress on the more conservative side. Try and avoid excess perfume or aftershave  usage as this may overpower and distract your interviewer.

A firm handshake shows confidence, a strong personality, and trustworthiness. Remember not to try and break your interviewer’s hand, but a good firm handshake coupled with eye contact is always a good start when you meet someone new.

Smile and look the hiring manager in the eyes when you first meet them. Repeat their name when they introduce themselves, if you don’t know their name, make sure you ask. This shows interest and people actually enjoy hearing their name. Use their name when it feels natural to do so and also when saying good bye. This is also a great way to commit their name to memory.

Ice breaker’s
Try to perfect small talk; compliment on the area the office is in, talk about the lovely weather, mention you have been recommended by a friend but make sure to keep it positive and natural. No negative first impressions here. This usually helps breaking the ice and makes both feel more comfortable, it also shows your social intelligence.

First impressions are paramount not only when being interviewed for a job, but also in life. It is essential to present yourself in a way that reflects the way that you would like to be treated by others. The impression a person gets of you when you first meet is one that they will always keep, so it is important to make sure they form a good one. Creating a strong first impression is incredibly important, because you only get one shot at it.

Robbie McLeod – Senior Consultant

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