Studies have shown that humans typically take thirty seconds to make decisions about someone during a first meeting. In those thirty seconds, you could make or break a deal; what you say is secondary to the nonverbal cues that you present immediately. These cues are used for other people (employers, in this case) to decide whether you’re friendly or hostile, whether you’re approachable, whether you’re a good fit for the company, etc. Therefore, it is of vital importance to project your best image in those thirty seconds!
This starts with being punctual; arriving on time for your interview or five minutes before an interview. Needless to say, arriving late to an interview leaves a negative impression on the employer no matter what kind of excuse you may or may not have. Arriving extra early does not show your interest for the position; it puts the employer in an awkward situation, leaving them feeling pressured to not have you wait for a long time.
The expression “a picture is worth a thousand words” adequately fits a first meeting. Dressing professionally tells employers that you are serious about this position and you are well prepared for the interview. Not only does a well-groomed image convey confidence to the employer, it also helps you to feel confident about yourself! Don’t give the employer a chance to mark you down because your shirt needed ironing or your shoes were dirty! Furthermore, presenting yourself professionally is not just what you wear. It’s also about combing your hair, trimming your fingernails, washing your face, etc. These little details are what employers pick up on in those thirty seconds.
Adjust your attitude before you first meet an employer! No matter how long you had to sit in traffic or how crowded the bus was, your frustration should not be picked up by the employer! With that said, remember to smile and straighten up your posture! These little adjustments show employers your competency and confidence. Make eye contact with the employer! It not only shows that you’re listening actively and acknowledging what they’re saying, but eye contact conveys openness and shows interest on your part.
Practice your handshake! No one likes a handshake that feels like their bones are being crushed! At the same time, no employer will be impressed by a limp finger shake either. Meet the employer half way and offer a firm handshake. It’s often a great way to open an interview or to seal the deal!
With all of the above taken into consideration, remember to choose your language carefully! Be courteous and respectful, not just to the interviewer, but to anyone you meet in the office! Introduce yourself properly. This means telling them your name, the time of your appointment, and the name of the person with whom you’ll be meeting. During the interview, wait ‘till the interviewer is finished with their question before answering. Rushing into an answer does nothing for you; if anything, it puts you in a worse position as the interviewer may have more information to provide.
Thirty seconds may not seem like a long time to make an impression, but the employer would have picked up many things about you already. So really commit yourself into being the best you can be before even setting foot in the establishment!