Tag Archives: Job search

How to Make the First Impression in an Interview

How to Make the First Impression in an Interview

How important the first impression is?

“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 impression 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.

The Value Proposition — Why Do People Say “YES?”

Why Do People Say "YES?"

Why Do People Say “YES?”

The value proposition is all about why do people say “yes”.  In a job search, like it or not, one of the biggest challenges marketing yourself effectively to a future employer. The essence of marketing is the message, and the essence of the message is the value proposition! If you develop a strong value proposition, you will help your future employer say “yes” to hire you, to buy what you are selling. In this presentation, you’ll learn how to write a clear value proposition that provides your unique core message and offers your “customer” a bulletproof rationale to choose YOU over your competitors.

In this presentation, you will learn to develop a value proposition that answers four questions:

  1. What is it that you do?
  2. For whom do you do it?
  3. What benefits do you provide?
  4. What makes you distinctive in the marketplace?

 

Can You Describe Your Supervisor’s Personality?

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

I know from personal experience that when I reported to a boss I was aligned with ideologically and who trusted me, I performed very well and kept getting promoted and promoted. But there were other bosses with whom those alignments just were not there, and after a while we separated—at times voluntarily and at other times involuntarily. I’m certain my situation was not unique and that many readers have had similar situations. Why is that? Why is it possible that the same person can be considered a superstar by one supervisor and incompetent by another? After all, people don’t typically change so drastically overnight.

Are personal biases a part of work relationships?

It is known that hiring managers hire people like themselves. Logically, it’s easy to explain. In marriages, they say opposites attract; but that’s not so in work relationships and it would probably take a psychologist to explain the phenomenon. I know that managers each have an agenda. In fact, they have two. One is the business agenda, which good managers share freely within the department and perhaps outside that manager’s area of responsibility; but then, the manager also has a personal agenda. That one is kept secret because it includes personal biases and prejudices and subjects governed by law. Such a secret agenda is taboo and kept deep inside managers’ minds. If revealed, it could cost them their jobs, and managers know it. But at times, evidence of those biases and prejudices surfaces, often bringing along victims.

Job candidates should try finding out during the interview what the future boss is really like.

Many people go to the interview with a mind-set similar to that of a victim taken in for interrogation. The outcome of the interview is very important to the candidate—to the point that he behaves submissively and meekly. But this should not be. If hired and the relationship with the boss turns out not to be conducive to a good future work relationship, the outcome will be separation. In such a case, the boss is typically the one who stays on. Therefore, the best move the candidate can make during the interview is to try to uncover the interviewer’s personality. That’s not an easy task, because the hiring manager is in control. But with a few probing questions, perhaps at least a few hints could be revealed. Here are some example questions:

  • Can you tell me about your management style and philosophy?
  • How long have you been in this position?
  • What did you do before that?
  • Have the members of your staff been in their present positions for a long time?
  • What is your communication style?
  • How often do you hold staff meetings?

Perhaps during the interview the hiring manager will reveal even more about his style. Many hiring managers are good actors, and what one sees in the interview may be the opposite of what happens in reality once the candidate is actually on the job (have you heard of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?), but my point here is that the more the candidate can find out during the interview, the better able that candidate will be to make final decisions about accepting the job if offered. My own experience has been mixed. How about yours?