When you’re interviewing for a job or meeting potential co-workers, it’s important to make a great first impression. Whether it’s fair or not, people make snap judgments about others – their poise, their confidence, even their competence and their likability. First impressions happen in a matter of seconds, not minutes. Let’s put it this way: if you make a bad first impression, it’s very hard to make a comeback.
The good news is, there are steps you can take to make an excellent first impression. Here are five of them.
Smile when you meet someone
When you’re introduced, smile! It sounds simple, but many people are anxious in job interviews, and may forget to smile. However, a smile makes you seem friendly, likable, and positive. The lack of a smile may be noticed and considered a sign of not being friendly or positive.
Shake hands firmly
It’s still a standard, conventional way of introducing yourself in business, even if you do it nowhere else. But there are good handshakes and bad ones. The good is firm and confident. The bad? Either too hard, such as grasping the person’s hand and pumping it up and down, or too limp. Avoid holding the other person’s hand too tightly or barely grasping it at all.
If you need practice, get a friend or family member to help. Practice handshakes until you have a firm and confident one.
Make eye contact
It’s very important to make eye contact with the person you’re meeting. If you look down or to the side, you might be seen as standoffish or unfriendly. Making eye contact makes you seem open and confident. Like shaking hands, this can be a learned behavior. If you find it difficult to make eye contact, practice until it’s second nature.
Use confident body language
Actions speak louder than words, right? One of the actions you might not be aware of is your body language. It can speak volumes in a way that puts the first impression in a negative light. Crossing your arms, for example, can come across as hostile and unfriendly. Sitting stiffly can make you seem unconfident. Sit with your arms at your sides in a relaxed position.
For most people, it’s natural to say “Nice to meet you, I’m Jim” or something similar when they’re introduced. If it doesn’t come naturally, practice. Some kind of pleasantry and your introduction by first name is part of meeting someone in a business setting. It will get you off on the right foot.
Contact a Staffing Firm Today
Thinking about a new job? A staffing agency can help. We offer job postings and advice on how to look. We’re happy to help. Contact us today.