the employee lifecycle: you can never rewind a first impression, how to make sure yours is knock-out!

Throughout June polkadotfrog are releasing a series of articles created to help you prepare for tricky situations throughout your career.

We’ll be covering the subjects which matter most to employees; from brushing up interview techniques, through to thriving in the workplace and how to put yourself in the best possible position to bag that promotion you’ve always dreamt of.

In the first blog of the series we are tackling first impressions, and why they are so important when applying for a job.

In today’s job market you are often competing against tens if not hundreds of other applicants, so it is vitally important that you make a solid first impression, after all, it’s widely reported that it only takes 7-seconds for people to make up their minds about you.

Being early is often considered on-time!

It goes without saying that punctuality means a lot! Good timekeeping is a trait considered by most, if not all, companies considering hiring a candidate.

Often a candidate who is running late is portrayed as being disorganised and careless, resulting in their application being discarded before they have even set foot in the building. By making sure you arrive on time (5-10 minutes early) it shows you’re enthusiastic about the role, you’re willing to impress, and you’ve given professionalism a thought.

It’s important to prepare, think ahead, and make sure you allow enough time for delays. Test the route you will take to the interview and make a note of how long it took, check local transport websites and social media before you leave to make sure there are no issues. If you do get stuck in an unforeseen traffic jam, call ahead and let the interviewer know.

Remember that rushing leads to mistakes and will likely leave you feeling anxious, so don’t learn the lesson the hard way. Arrive in plenty of time and give yourself the opportunity to de-stress before the interview starts.

Are you looking at me, looking at you!?

The little things really do count, and it is common knowledge that the way we dress can be as important as the skills we possess. Every occupation regardless of company or location has its own dress code and interview candidates are expected to make the right impression with what they wear.

Deciding on your interview attire can be a difficult task, do you go formal or is it smart-casual? The answer, of course, is all in the preparation. It’s easy to forget to think about clothing when you are preparing for an interview, however, it is important to pick out your outfit a few days before. Do your research, you will be able to identify the companies tone and values from their website, social media profiles and recent articles. Think about what you would expect if you were the interviewer and what level of seniority the position is for.

It is also important not to overthink it, don’t try and be something you are not. After all, how can you be confident at interview if you are not comfortable in what you are wearing? Accurately present who you are, whilst remaining professional.

The perfect handshake will go a long way.

When attending an interview a candidate can often forget about etiquette. Not because they are intentionally being rude, but because they are nervous about the questions to come.

The interview actually starts as soon as you step foot in the building. You will almost always be greeted by a receptionist, it is vitally important to treat them as an interviewer; be polite and personable, smile and make eye contact, you never know, they may have been instructed to report on your actions.

Switch off your phone before you enter the building, nothing sets a worse impression than greeting a candidate who is checking their social media and has not realised the interviewers’ presence. Only take items that you require in the interview, leave your shopping, coffee cups and newspapers at home for this one!

Make sure you know the interviewers’ name and show your confidence with a firm handshake with the entire hand and not just fingers. Don’t be too firm or too limp, practice on a friend or family member if you are unsure.

What’s your body language saying?

One of the key analysis topics for interviewers is body language and how the candidate carries themselves. A good technique to ace this is to put your confidence on before you arrive at the company, you’ll arrive settled and ready to tackle any scenario thrown at you. Smile and make sure you hold a good posture, both when standing and sitting, don’t slump or recline in a chair as it makes you look disinterested. Try to also avoid crossing your limbs, nail-biting, playing with hair or fidgeting.

Remember your hand gestures, it oozes confidence and shows that you are interested in the conversation. Always make eye contact without awkwardly staring, give nods and social gestures to show your attentiveness.

Have you done your homework?

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. It’s an old saying that has been drilled into us over the years, but it really could not be more relevant than here.

Find out as much as you can before the interview, it’ll pay dividends once the questioning begins, trust us! It is important to read the company website, social media and Google news to identify company goals and values, learn the industry and find out who their competitors are.

Prepare yourself further by Googling ‘interview questions’ and think about how you would answer them, make a list of questions to ask the company at the interview, there is nothing worse than being put on the spot and not being able to think of anything to ask.

Finally, thank the interviewer for their time and if you have their details contact them to say thank you after the interview has concluded. This can show your desire for the role and keeps you at the front of their mind.

When it comes to making the best first impression there is a recurring theme: preparation.

It is perfectly okay to be nervous, we wouldn’t be human if we did not feel nervous in an interview environment, but with proper preparation, we can be confident in giving an excellent first impression.

At polkadotfrog we always meet our candidates face to face, we are passionate about you and like to make sure you are as prepared as you can be for an interview. Any questions? Contact us or click here to find out about our vacancies.