You really don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
Your first impression as a job seeker starts even before you step foot in the interview. Everything from your resume to you social media accounts are being reviewed by the potential employer. They are even looking at the way you interact with their receptionists when you arrive at the office. How can you make sure your first impression isn’t leaving a negative impression on hiring managers?
4 Steps to A Better First Impression
Pay Attention to Your Appearance
Even if an environment is casual employers are still paying attention to what you’re wearing. Always look professional regardless of the culture of the office. Also, always follow directions. If they tell you to wear jeans, don’t show up in a three piece suit. Make sure you are clean and neat and your clothes are wrinkle free. For women, be conservative with accessories. For men, stick with the tried and true button shirt and a tie. Never wear perfume or cologne because allergies are a serious thing.
Check Your Attitude
Negativity and desperation will immediately raise red flags for hiring managers. Don’t speak poorly about your previous employer. Don’t tell them how much you need the job because you’re having financial trouble. While these things may be true they are irrelevant to your job search. Instead, be positive about your experience and see how you can fit it into the company’s culture. Be confident but don’t cross the line to arrogance.
Pay Attention to Language.
It seems like common sense but be careful what you say to the hiring manager. Don’t talk to them like you’re very familiar. Also be careful about adding too many buzzwords to your dialog. While they may be common and popular they don’t really mean anything. Don’t call yourself a “team player” or a “people person.” Instead, share stories and examples from your experience that wil communicate this.
Show Initiative but Not Pushiness
You definitely want to position yourself as excited for the job but don’t cross the line. Be assertive in communications and take initiative for follow ups. However, don’t continuously contact the hiring manager. Keep your follow up contacts to once or twice after the interview. Also, don’t give one word answers. If you don’t know the answer to their question ask a qualifying question to be sure you can answer it correctly.