First impressions are inevitable. Our brains make snap judgments of people we meet within a tenth of a second.
So how can you make a great first impression for an important meeting such as an interview?
– Wear a suit
– Style your hair
– Manicure your nails
– Research the interviewer, company
– Be honest and genuine
– Listen and offer a thoughtful response
– Follow up. Send a note. Make it personal: “ ’Hope your golf game was great!”
– Arrive late. Early is on time.
– Hold a Starbucks cup
– Chew gum…you know the rest! More dos and don’ts here.
Let’s look at a couple of examples.
First Interview A
Years ago, on an interview day, I took one last look in the white over-the-door full-length mirror in my closet. The orange blouse gave my face a warm glow under my light grey suit jacket. My freshly manicured hands adjusted the matching lightweight wool grey skirt so it was centered, and I slipped into nude patent-leather peep-toe pumps. I looked the part.
After the interviews, I felt a rush of excitement as I hand wrote personalized thank you notes to the people I had interviewed with.
I didn’t get the position. I was crushed. Even when you arrive as polished as Emily Post, there are no guarantees. I moved on and reminded myself that everything happens for the best.
First Interview B
Years ago on another interview day, dressed in a plum colored dress and black high-heel boots, I stood across from the bathroom mirror affixing gauze to the skin under my nose and chin.
The night before I was caught in the rain on my bike and was lucky enough to walk away from what could have been a horrible accident with only a few scrapes. I thought about asking to reschedule the interview, but I have never been one to cancel, so I showed up with my gauze goatee.
I got the position.
Authenticity has merit.
First impressions are just as much about how your character looks on the inside as they are about your appearance on the outside.