During an interview, first impressions are vital to your success. The interviewer’s initial opinion of you substantially influences whether you receive a job offer later.
Here are some reasons why first impressions make or break an interview.
1) Initial Information
When individuals evaluate others, they weigh their initial information more heavily than their later information. Therefore, individuals are more likely to take what they first believe about a person and build on that information as the truth. For this reason, you need to remain positive throughout your interview. For example, when asked whether you had trouble getting to the building, no matter what obstacles you faced, state that you had no issues at all. Once an individual creates a belief about you, they’ll look for information to reinforce their belief. For example, if you come across as friendly and engaging, yet you make a less pleasant remark later, you’ll still be viewed in a positive manner.
2) Facial Features
Studies show that individuals make judgements based on a person’s facial features. For example, faces perceived to be mature typically are taken more seriously than faces perceived to be young. This is partly because individuals use their past experiences to judge what a face looks like and to determine what type of value a person may add to their life. Individuals typically rate faces on competence, dominance, likability and trustworthiness to help form an opinion of the person. For this reason, it’s important you smile, make eye contact and shake hands while greeting the interviewer.
3) Clothing Style
After forming an opinion about facial features, individuals move on to a person’s clothing. What a person wears and how they wear it says a lot about them. For example, clothing should be appropriate for a person’s body, age and situation. Therefore, ensure your interview outfit includes neutral colors to show that you’re polished and successful. Men should wear a suit and women a suit coat with pants or a skirt. Also, ensure you wear socks or pantyhose and that your shoes are polished. In addition, keep jewelry to a minimum. Furthermore, hide tattoos and body piercings, which may make you appear unprofessional.
4) Body Language
Because a person produces significantly more gestures, postures and signs with their body than with their voice, individuals make judgements on a person’s body language. Therefore, you need to show confidence with your appearance, demeanor and gestures throughout your interview. For example, demonstrate your interpersonal skills by smiling, making eye contact, and greeting the interviewer while shaking hands. Also, face the interviewer and openly answer their questions so they feel comfortable around you.