First Impressions DO Count | Chilli Pepper Career Blog

“People buy people before they buy products and services, skills and experience”

As Sun Tzu once said,

“What you believe about yourself, the world will believe about you.”

So, before you sell yourself in an interview you first have to sell you on you because if you don’t like you then who will?

Ask yourself “What do people really think about me when they meet me for the first time?” Ask your partner, friends and especially those friends that you’ve recently acquainted or colleagues that you work with. Be careful not to criticise their point of view when asking for their truthful opinion!

When attending interviews it’s important that you build a good rapport, you have to be real, genuine and not false. What are your passions, desires and dreams? Don’t try and portray yourself as someone who you think your interviewer might want you to be as whilst you still have to remain professional if you can’t be yourself then you may need to consider that this department or company isn’t for you. Imagine starting a new job and having to be someone else all day.

An interview is a two way conversation, remember not to be too dominant but at the same time try not to come across nervous or shy. Building rapport with the interviewer will enable you to sell yourself without appearing over confident. So how can you build rapport quickly and easily?

Take a look at my following 8 points that will ensure that you make a lasting impression and help you to build a good rapport with a potential employer:

  1. Eye Contact First impressions count so smile genuinely and maintain eye contact when saying “hello” to everyone you meet including the receptionist on arrival, the security guard on the door and your interviewer and his/her PA. Build an instant rapport.
  2. Give a firm handshake A handshake is more than just a greeting. It’s a message about your personality and confidence level. In business, your handshake is an important tool for making the right impression. If you’re unsure about your handshake ask a friend for their honest opinion and, if necessary, practice doing it the right way until it feels natural. Remember to introduce yourself by name before extending your hand. The handshake needs to be part of your introduction and not a replacement for using your voice or you may appear nervous or aggressive.
  3. Dress Far too many people underestimate the importance of the way they look and how they are perceived by others. It takes only 5 seconds to form an opinion about an individual. It is an unconscious process and as much as it may feel unfair, image does matter within the work place. It’s important for you to dress appropriately for an interview. How we look is the first thing that people notice about us and looking professional and ready to start work will clearly give an edge over someone else who hasn’t made the effort. Always attend both internal and external interviews in smart business dress even if you know that the company has a policy of ‘dress down’.
  4. Polite Mind your “Ps and Qs” in other words mind your manners, mind your language, be on your best behaviour and remember to say “Please” and “Thank-you” to everyone that you meet. In the event that the Interviewer send their Personal Assistant or member of their team to collect you or settle you to the interview room then ALWAYS be polite and make conversation. During the interview, don’t interrupt, listen and let the interviewer finish what they have to say. An interview after all is a two way conversation.
  5. Using People’s Names How many times have you met someone for the first time and after speaking to that person for just a few minutes you have completely forgotten their name? How often has someone you have just met spoken to you and called you by your name, how good did this make you feel? If you are someone who forgets name’s after being introduced and don’t worry as you are not alone, I too have had difficulties remembering and to overcome this frustration of mine I always ensure that when speaking to a new person that I mention their name 3 times in conversation. It takes practice so try it where ever possible.
  6. Offer Compliments Should you feel it appropriate and you genuinely like the products, services or ethics of the company you are interviewing then don’t hold back or be afraid to offer a compliment. It will help you to build good rapport.
  7. Exit the Interview with Confidence Accept that you’re not going to get every job you interview for however do not put any doubt in the interviews mind by asking if you can make contact for feedback in the event that you’re unsuccessful. Instead leave the interview feeling positive and confident that you will be offered the job. Save this question for another time.
  8. AND LASTLY ASK FOR THE JOB IF YOU WANT IT! So many people forget to mention that they want the role. This is the perfect opportunity for you to leave a lasting impression. Make sure that before you leave the interview that you highlight where you will add value to the role.

City Careers

“The only thing people judge about you is how an engagement with you makes them feel.”

By Seth Godin

“Holding the hands of the Job Seeker”


About the author

Nikki Hutchison, founder of Chilli Pepper Global advising you on every aspect of the job seeking process guiding you step by step whether you are looking to move internally or externally.

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