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Does your First Impression really count?
The experts who study this kind of thing say that it takes an average of 1 to 10 seconds to make a good first impression.
Not much time then to put your best foot forward.
We have a slightly different view of that which we'll get to in a minute, but in the meantime, what makes a good first impression?
In most cases, our initial reactions to other people are based on the physical.
In terms of making a good first impression while job hunting:
How you are dressed
How you carry yourself
The confidence in which you enter a room (but not overconfidence - a real turn-off)
Eye contact and handshake
All are part of making that first impression within 10 seconds.
Those experts also say that people usually make up their minds within the first five minutes whether the person they are interviewing is right for the job.
Part of your preparation for going to job interviews is to practise entering a room.
OK, you might feel like a prat, but doing something over and over again till you feel comfortable is worth feeling a bit of a prat and will net you results.
Now, we don't mean putting on an act in order to impress; being yourself is essential.
After you've practised for a bit, try it out on family members or friends and ask them for helpful feedback.
This is no time to feel shy or embarrassed - making a good first impression is too important to indulge in embarrassment.
We know that nerves can play havoc with the best laid plans; 'rehearsing' your best first impression will boost your confidence, but more importantly, even if your brain goes a little soggy when you walk through the door, your body will most likely remember what you've taught it to do.
Having said all that, we think it's very possible to retrieve a situation where you know without a shadow of doubt that you've blown it - your first impression was a disaster and it feels downhill from there.
In our opinion you do have a second chance to make a good 'first' impression, contradictory as that may sound.
If you feel the ground sinking beneath your feet and you feel the people interviewing you are looking askance or worse, looking at their watches, why not stop whatever it you're saying and offer, "You know what, I think I got off on the wrong foot here.
Would it be all right if we started again?"
Bold, yes, but if you really want the job and you do think you've made a hash of it, you have absolutely nothing to lose.
Have a go at making a brand new first impression - it can be most impressive!
Interview Skills Training
Freephone: 0808 1234 909
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