Whether it an interview, meeting a man or woman, or business situation, first impressions are everything! Everyone makes an instant judgment about you in less than 30 seconds. Think about it, you are walking down the street you notice something that bothers you. In an instant, you decide to cross the street. That instinct serves to protect you in those situations. In a social situation, you see a beautiful woman or handsome man that you are attracted to and would like to meet her or him. You decided in an instant that you would like to meet that person. Now you spend your time figuring out how, you check with your friends if they know the person or can introduce you. If that does not work, you make the decision to go introduce yourself or do nothing. In an interview, the employer makes a judgment of you based on how you are dressed, how you act and how you speak. Most of which is seen in the first 30 seconds. Remember, this all occurs before the actual interview. In fact, it determines the success of the interview.
Now that you understand how quickly someone will make a judgment about you and what most people use to judge you, you can do something about it. All the things people judge you for are under your control. You determine how you dress. As a male, I would wear my best suit to an interview. I would think about how it fits and make sure is dark such as navy blue, black or navy pin stripe. Next I would pick a blue or white dress shirt and a burgundy or red tie. This conservative yet I show some personality in my tie. Interviews are not opportunities to show how independent or wild you can be. If I were interviewing for a creative position, I might exercise a little flexibility. A woman would follow a similar guideline. She should wear a dress or suit (skirt or pants) and match it with pale color or white blouse that is conservative. Even if the company is casual, as a candidate you should be conservative. You can always remove a jacket, but you cannot put one on if you do not have it.
You can work on how you act. Henry Ford used to invite prospective employees to lunch to see if you seasoned their food before they tasted it. He felt this was a defect that would affect their judgment. You can learn communication skills, manners or even improve your personality to be more successful. Lastly, everything I described is in your control, but it is up to you. Make that great impression the first time.
Photo by: karlfrankowski