They say that making a good first impression is everything when it comes to winning over the affections of a new acquaintance.

Make the wrong first impression – especially in a recruitment environment – and you could lose that job opportunity before you can say “I’ve lost that job opportunity”.

The thing about a first impression is that you only get one chance to make it - and you don’t get long to do it either. In fact, it’s debated that a first impression can take less than 30 seconds to be formed. That’s not a great deal of time to work with, I’m sure you’ll agree.

With that in mind, this particular blog entry attempts to look at six different aspects of your first meeting with an employer. Don’t worry about training seminars, this article is your one-stop shop for making an ace first impression.

1) Look your very best

Nothing sets the image, tone and perception of someone quite like the way they look and dress.

You could have the communication skills of a blubbering toddler but as long as your attire is smart, neat and appropriate, you’d be surprised at how far it can take you.

It’s not just about the clothing arrangement though – your physical appearance is equally important. Get a haircut, have a clean shave (females are allowed to skip that one) and give your face a good scrub.

2) For goodness sake – smile!

You’re about to make that crucial first handshake with the employer – time for a facial expression to match.

That’s right, it’s time to smile you miserable sod. A smile says you’re pleased to be there and you’re happy to have met the person in question which is always a good signal to the recipient.

3) Maintain eye contact

Now you’ve managed to successfully negotiate the much anticipated greeting process, concentrate on remaining interested with what the person opposite you has to say. And, in order to demonstrate that you are indeed listening – and captivated with what they’re talking about – you need to maintain good eye contact.

Similarly, when directing your responses back to an interviewer, keeping eye contact will convey a sense of confidence and assurance in what you’re saying.

4) Address them by their name

It can be argued that addressing someone by their name is a very small detail when it comes to meeting someone for the first time, but remember, you only have 30 seconds to play with – this is all about small details!

Using someone’s name shows that (1) you know who they are (always a good sign), and (2) you identify them as a significant individual.

5) Have confidence in your ability

Talking of confidence, to make a good first impression, you need to be just that (confident!). Try not to be a sweating, quivering wreck – it’s not a great look.

Emit confidence in what you have to say and ensure that your handshake is firm and meaningful. As long as you’re confident in your ability, that will only serve to transmit back to the person in front of you.

6) Show interest in what they have to say

Holding eye contact is one thing, but having a genuine interest in what someone has to say (or at least pretending to) is another. Nodding appreciatively is a great way of doing this.

Equally, don’t be a wet lettuce and just sit there in silence. Don’t be afraid to add your own comments or thoughts on what the employer-come-interviewer has to say. Just don’t interrupt them. That’s a no-no.

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