It is common knowledge that first impressions are most important but did you know you only get 7 seconds to make that first impression. Here we discuss 5 methods for nailing that first meeting.
- Dress to impress
The first thing someone sees when you walk into a room is yourself. This may seem like an obvious statement but it must be fully appreciated. Make sure you are well groomed, shave or groom your facial hair if you are a man and ensure you are dressed to impress.
When you are deciding what to wear try to wear as close to the company uniform as possible if they are known to wear neat casual clothing. Alternative to this, for men wear a suit, no one looks bad in a suit and it shows effort and appreciation for the role and interviewers. For ladies wear neat business attire and ensure your makeup is applicable to the work environment. Remember thongs / sandals and board shorts or ripped jeans are never acceptable, for any role, unless it specifies this for some unique reason.
Extra hint: When applying for hospitality roles wear neat black shoes (not sneakers), formal black pants and a neat black shirt, ensure your ensemble is ironed. This is usually the uniform in most restaurants and bars and if you walk in looking like you already wear the uniform you are now subtly suggesting to the interviewers to think of you as a current employee and not a stranger trying to join their team.
A smile is infectious and it automatically makes others like you more, and that is the name of the game. Try to be warm with your smile and not obviously forcing one or it will show and will leave a poor impression.
- Shake their hand
When you enter the room ensure you smile and shake the hand of each of the interviewers, there is traditionally more than 1 in any larger business. When you shake their hand it displays professionalism, respect for the other person and is a long standing traditional greeting that demonstrates you mean no ill will. Ensure you hand shake is firm but don’t break the interviewers hand and if you have sweaty palms wipe them before you walk in. Remember a savvy interviewer is going to immediately deduce a lot about you based on your hand shake.
Extra Hint: If you are left handed do your best to shake with your right as the chances are the interviewers are right handed. While this may seem difficult at first if really shows extra strength of character and respect for the job if you perform this small task.
- Introduce your name and say their name back to them
While you shake the interviewer’s hand introduce yourself and when they tell you their name say it back to them. A simple conversation might go:
“Good morning my name is Jennifer”
“Hi Jennifer, I am Brad”,
“Hi Brad, nice to meet you”.
Obviously mix this up to be both professional and in line with your natural way of speaking.
This simple step is done for 2 reasons.
- It’s a professional way to begin any conversation
- Remembering names does not come easy for many of us. By saying the interviewers’ names out loud, in your own voice, it will help you to remember it. The people who interview you will very likely be your colleagues and bosses, remembering their names is an important move.
- Speak clearly and with confidence
Every word you speak must demonstrate that you are a professional and you are here to perform a role and be amazing at it. Ensure you speak clearly, don’t mutter, calm your nerves and slow your speech. It will not help you to have amazing interview answers if the interviewers cannot understand you.
You will get 7 seconds to leave the perfect “hire me!” impression and with some of these tips hopefully you will be ready to nail your next opportunity.