February 19, 2008

Money & Career, Professional Skills

Make Yourself Stick With These First Impression Tips

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When you’re interviewing for a job, one of the keys to success is your first impression. If you’re about to go in for an interview, maybe its time to re-evaluate the first impression you give off. Do you come off as likable? Do you exude professionalism and charm?

The goal of every first impression is to stick to a person's brain. You want them to instantly like you and to keep thinking about you hours or even days after your first met them. Here are few things we can all do to give a killer first impression.

Dress to impress. You don't want to walk into an interview looking like a slob. If you look sloppy, people will assume you do sloppy work. Look neat and presentable. Also, dress so you'll fit in with the people who are interviewing you. For attorneys that means conservative suits, white shirts, and ties. If your job is more creative, say like a graphic designer, dress so it looks like you're creative.

Look fit. People are attracted to people in good physical shape. If you're out of shape, start heading to the gym everyday for 30 minutes of cardio and strength training. Also, quit eating junk and start eating healthy.

Give an impressive handshake. The first handshake is a key part in giving a good first impression.

Focus on speaking. Speak clearly and at a moderate pace. Work on varying your voice intonation. You don't want to come off as a monotone bore. Also, speak the language of the person interviewing you. Avoid slang and jargon not associated with the job you're interviewing for. Use proper grammar and vocabulary that reflects a higher education. If people can't understand you, it's hard for them to like you.

Use the person's name. Using the interviewer's name makes the conversation more personable. It also shows that you were paying attention during introductions and that the other person was important enough for you to memorize their name. However, avoid overusing a person's name. Too much name use is off putting because it sounds fake and a little bit creepy.

Let the person know you're listening. If it looks like you're not listening, people will be turned off. Give subtle hints that you're listening such as looking the person in the eye, nodding, and saying an occasional 'I see.' Also , ask questions about what someone had just said. It shows you've been paying attention and that you want to know more about what they're saying. Finally, don't interrupt.

Shine the spotlight on the other person. The secret to charm is directing attention away from you and on to the other person. Avoid blabbing about yourself and start asking questions about the other person. Great questions to ask in an interview include:

  • 'How did you end up at (name of company)?'
  • 'What drew you to (name of company)?
  • What do you like most about working at (name of company)?'

You'll not only get key insights about your potential employer, but the questions also require the interviewer to talk about themselves and people love talking about themselves.

What other things can we do to give a good first impression? Drop a comment and add to the conversation.

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