The six-second window
Ever wondered how long you get to make a first impression on someone’ Only SIX crucial seconds. A mediocre first impression makes people think you and the services you provide will be mediocre. On the other hand, a fabulous first impression tends to make people believe your capabilities and services will be outstanding as well.
Imagine walking into an interview room, you are nervous, palms are sweaty and heart is pounding. In this economic crisis, finding a job, or even retaining your job is stressful! There is more pressure on details like appearance, speech and behaviour.
Colours, style of clothes, body language and speech all come together when assessing your image. Remember, with so many people fighting for the same job, you have to know how to stand out, and be remembered. As an ex-recruiter, I understand the power of image and how it can help convince an interviewer that you are an absolute perfect fit for the job.
Do your homework
Make sure you fully research the company – be aware of its organisational structure and company statistics.
Understand the role you are being interviewed for. For example, if its for a relationship manager (RM) position at a bank, use networking websites like www.linkedin.com to contact RMs and find out about the role.
Prepare a list of questions about the company, reporting structure and company culture to ask the interviewer.
It demonstrates passion and sincerity for the job. Always carry a pen (not one you stole from a hotel room) and notepad to take notes.
Opt for colours that complement your skin tone and brighten your skin, hair and eyes.
Men should wear a suit and a buttoned shirt. If the environment of the organisation is formal, or you are meeting someone very senior, a tie is a good idea. But avoid crazy patterns and go for a solid coloured silk tie. Acceptable jewellery is a watch and a wedding band while spiked, gelled hairstyles should be avoided.
Women should avoid off-shoulder blouses and distracting jewellery. They should also tie up very long hair. When it comes to footwear, men should always wear work shoes (no sneakers or casual shoes) and it should always match the colour of the belt. Women should opt for closed shoes instead of open-toed sandals.
When you enter the interview room, walk confidently and smile. This is your opportunity to create a great first impression. Shake hands firmly and sit upright.
Slouching and bad body posture gives the impression you are uninterested or have low-self esteem. When exchanging business cards, take a few seconds to look at the card you receive instead of immediately sliding it into your pocket or bag.
Speak slowly and think before speaking. When asked a difficult question, take time to deliver an appropriate answer instead of nervously rushing to answer. And maintain eye contact when speaking.
With these tips you are recreating your self-image to be more confident, powerful and positive, and perfecting a striking first impression. Use these tools to impress a recruiter and land your dream job.