“You will never get a second chance to make a first impression.” – Will Rogers
We recently had an individual leave our company for a job in her field of social work. She was a great addition to our team and we were sad to see her leave. Her degree was in social work and her personality and appearance showed that. She always dressed the part and was kind and peaceful in her demeanor. Like any other employee departure we had to begin the hiring process.
We’re fortunate because we have very loyal employees so our turnover is low within our company. With that being said we aren’t forced to recruit or hire very often. We began our hiring process this week and I found myself rehearsing the “dress to impress” saying over and over.
Throughout the hiring process I felt like there were 5 key impressions that people need to take into account when applying for a job. Here they are:
- Your resume is your first physical impression when trying to land a job. Make sure your resume, cover letter, and reference pages are flawless. Spelling errors on a resume tell me that you are sloppy and careless in your work. Your resume is a reflection of who you are and spelling and grammatical errors are a turn off for employers. Make a good first impression with an organized and precise resume!
- Your second impression is your phone skills. If an employer is going to set up an interview with you they will most likely call you on the phone number that you provide on your resume. Make sure that this phone number has a voicemail that is set up accurately and that the greeting on the voicemail is friendly and professional. If you use an email address as your main form of communication make sure your email address is professional and doesn’t contain any vulgar or inappropriate names. I can’t tell you how much your email address is a reflection of you! Also, if you answer the phone when your potential employer calls make sure your personality shines. They can’t see you over your phone so they will be assessing how you sound on the phone. Are you friendly? Rude? Soft? Or stern?
- Your third impression is when you first arrive to the interview. Be on time! You should arrive to an interview or your first day on the job at least 10 minutes early. If you show up 20-25 minutes that is a bit too much. The person who is interviewing you probably has a busy schedule but arriving 10-15 mins early shows that you’re responsible, reliable, and eager to learn more about the position and your new job. If you arrive late for an interview you might as well not show up. That’s a major turn off and not acceptable!
- Your fourth impression is the actual interview. Dress the part! If you are applying for a formal business setting make sure that your clothes (suit) are ironed and that you look put together. If you show up with wrinkled clothes and look like you just got out of bed the employer is going to think you aren’t taking the interview seriously. It’s better to be over dressed than under dressed.
- Your last impression is the conclusion of the interview and your behavior after the interview. Once the interview is complete firmly shake the interviewees hand and ask for a business card. By having the individuals business card you will have access to their phone, email, address, and fax in most cases. With this information you can send a thank you card, a thank you email, or a courtesy phone call later in the week thanking the person for their time. This is huge! This shows that you care about your future with the company and that’s how you will treat other employees and also the company’s clients.
You can never get a first impression back so make sure you that every chance you get to show yourself off you consider it your first impression. Dress to impress in all aspects of your life!