How to Make the First Impression in an Interview

How to Make the First Impression in an Interview

Photo credit to: Antonio Guilem123rf 591

“Nobody impresses me for the first sixty days on the job.” This was a saying that all of those working with me in the corporate world would hear me say over and over. I wanted to express that there’s a difference between the impressions a job seeker leaves initially—even as early as during the interview—and the impression an employee makes afterward for the duration. I have proved that particular opinion to be correct many times over: people who had made a great impression during the interview not in all cases demonstrated those great qualities and extensive knowledge some months after being hired and on the job.

But let’s first agree on the purpose of the interview. No, it is not to get the job. It is to get a job offer. And once the offer was committed to paper and received by the candidate, the latter must perform due diligence, evaluate the offer, negotiate if appropriate and possible, and then make a final decision. However, to get that coveted letter that starts with the word Congratulations, one needs to convince the hiring team that one is the ideal candidate.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the first impression

We’ve all heard the saying that the first impression is a lasting impression. And it’s true. Interview guru Lou Adler performed an otherwise admittedly less-than-scientific study via a survey. The result was that more than 80 percent of people like a person they meet for the first time. And this is applicable also in an interview situation. A further question asked about the importance of that first impression; in Adler’s study example, it was a salesperson. Of the respondents, 85 percent indicated that the first impression is highly important. Now, I don’t think there’s anything new or surprising about those numbers, but they do support the general tenet of the importance of the first impression.

The first impression can be nearly impossible to reverse. The impression made during a first encounter is extremely important, simply because it sets the scene for all future interactions.

Remember the importance of the smile!

“Smile and the world smiles too,” as the adage goes. There’s nothing like a smile to create a good first impression. A pleasant and confident smile puts both parties at ease. So, smiling is always a winner when it comes to making a great first impression.

Project confidence

Body language as well as appearance speaks much louder than words. Use your body language to project self-assurance. Stand tall, make eye contact, and greet with a firm handshake. Good manners together with polite, attentive, and enthusiastic behavior help make a good first impression.  When decision making comes, people will forget all the words you said but will remember the image you created.

How to Change a Career Not a Job

How to Change a Career Not a Job

Career change is possible if you know how

No surprise that in this economy more and more people are toying around with the idea of changing careers. For some, such a change represents an opportunity; for others, it may be a necessity because their industries are shifting, shrinking, or becoming extinct. The question my clients ask with more and more frequency is how to go about it. Regrettably, though, there’s no simple or one-size-fits-all answer, because each situation is unique. In other words, no two people’s circumstances are the same. A career coach cannot make such a decision for a client; the answer has to come from the individual. A career coach can of course counsel, guide, and support the process.

Let’s make sure we understand that I’m not referring to a job change. A career change is a radical change–for example, an executive with a finance background who buys a restaurant, or a manager at AT&T, a very well-known communications company, who shifts into managing an adult community or a nursing home. Those are real-life examples of people who were successful at making those changes; I know them personally. So, the questions are, What drives the process? and What does it take to come out as a winner?

Now let’s agree from the beginning that a career change involves significant risk. Not all career changes work out well. Decisions of this nature have at least two major components: the intellectual and the emotional. The emotional part involves the pain that a person endures and that strongly motivates and impels the person toward willingness to take a risk. The other component is the intellectual part, which involves, say, the person’s need–or desire–to make more money or the person’s disappointment with the industry, or with the nature of the current job, or with an intolerable boss who is apparently not leaving soon.

At the core of the job-changing decision-making process are three questions that require concrete answers:

  • What are the job-changing individual’s values?
  • What does the job-changing individual have to offer a potential employer?
  • What does the job-changing individual expect in return?

Values have to do with one’s feelings about family, recognition, monetary rewards, security, promotions, belonging, commitment, loyalty, and so forth. The answer to the question regarding what one has to offer will be an analysis of skills–such as marketing, presentation, sales, research, and data analysis–and then identification of whether one has the traits that support those skills: is the person aggressive, independent, articulate, persuasive, logical, visionary?

The remaining issue deals with what the person wants in return. This touches on environmental and cultural factors. For example, does the person like to work in small organizations or big ones? How does the person feel about leadership styles, corporate politics, company reputation, work/life balance, and flextime for new parents, for example? And how about critical matters like salary, health coverage, and investment programs versus the minimum levels of compensation and benefits needed?

As you can see, a career change is loaded with complexities. My advice is to consult someone who is equipped to guide you as you navigate this maze. And a challenging maze it is indeed.

3 Reasons Why LinkedIn is Important for Job Seekers

Alex Freund, The Landing Expert

LinkedIn helps job seekers

By definition, every job seeker is a seller of self. The recruiter and the hiring manager, on the other hand, are the buyers. Buyers are obligated to perform due diligence before making commitment to sellers. Now, I’m sure that you the reader do not stretch the truth, exaggerate the facts, or even occasionally lie on your résumé about certain facts, skills, or accomplishments, but I know that some others do. According to surveys such as Jobvite, 93% of recruiters use social media to check out candidates. A recruiter’s professional obligation is to make sure that résumés submitted to companies factually represent the job candidates. Otherwise, the recruiter’s credibility is on the line. Recruiters compare the content of candidates’ résumés with other facts they are able to find online. To make those comparisons, 94% use LinkedIn, 66% use Facebook, and 52% use Twitter. But what are they looking for?

  1. Validation of expertise and experience

Recruiters and hiring managers compare, for example, your skills, experience, and accomplishments—as stated in your résumé—with any evidence found regarding your participation in communications with others who belong to the same groups you do. If, for instance, you say you’re very qualified at the expert level, well, your claim should be evident elsewhere too. If you say you’re a leader who communicates well, then that should be apparent via your blog that is linked to your LinkedIn profile. Furthermore, recommendations validate your expertise, and endorsements speak specifically to your professional skills.

  1. Evidence of consistency between the resume and social media

The basic things a recruiter validates are the matching of dates of employment and names of employers. They also search for any gaps in titles, college graduation date, academic degrees, and so forth between your LinkedIn profile and your résumé. Even though it is advised that a résumé be tailored to the job being applied for and that your LinkedIn profile be more generic in nature, the basic information has to otherwise match, or the discrepancies will raise questions. Significant varying information between the two could cost you the opportunity to continue in the selection process for further review of your candidacy.

  1. Assertion of technological savvy

Those who have complete and attractive LinkedIn profiles affirm their understanding of the online business. Such profiles also serve as differentiators against more-mature people who, typically, are less savvy about new technology.

In summary

Online presence not only is helpful to the job seeker but also makes the recruiter’s job easier when it comes to the processing of your job application. In addition, candidates who are not perfectly honest about their professional backgrounds will come to regret the deceit because sooner or later, the truth will surface. A problem that some job seekers face is their posting of some information online years ago, at a time when such information was not important to them but it helped them impress their friends and peers at the time. That information may backfire now if found—even years and years later.