Everyone claims that they don't judge people but let's be honest, within the first few seconds of meeting someone we tend to sum them up someone just by their presentation. Be it a friend of a friend, colleague or a potential client, you will be judged. Whether you like it or not, every part of your presentation will be inspected within minutes. From your choice of attire, your grooming style, your handshake and your overall demeanor. Being in the recruiting industry, I meet hundreds of people year after year and I always look for surface clues. What are these clues that tend to be immediate insights to you as a person?
- Where you on time?
- Did you bring your padfolio and a few copies of your resume?
- Did you bring a pen?
- Do you have a firm handshake?
- Do you have strong eye contact?
- Did you wear a suit? What kind of suit?
- Did you take the time to iron your shirt?
- Did you groom yourself in an appropriate manner?
These are things that are judged before you even utter your first word. Interviews are supposed to be events in which a professional is presenting their best representation of themselves. Your first impression will set the tone of the interview process and despite the fact that you may have a conversation with good content, that initial judgment may have sealed the fate of the interview. It is only human to make these "judgments" in a business level or a social environment. Make sure that you are putting your best possible foot forward and pay attention to the small things. You may think that chipped nail polish or scuffed up shoes are not a big deal, but the interviewer may think that you are sloppy. Chances are, if you treat an interview like a casual meeting what's to say that you won't treat a client presentation like that? When you make a poor first impression, you will lose the attention of your audience and your chances of moving forward will be extremely difficult.
So before you match into that conference room and prepare to sell your background, remember that it all starts with your first impression! So polish the shoes, comb the hair and put on your best suit because it's go time!