Did you know that it only takes a tenth of a second to make an impression? In that (very tiny) amount of time, someone has judged you. They've got an impression about you. You may not have even opened your mouth yet! But they’ll have made one.
In every opportunity, you only get one shot to make a good first impression. How do you get people to see the real you? How do you get them to judge you in the right way?
Throughout my career, I've picked up some great tips on how to make a killer first impression. Today, I'm sharing them with you. So let’s get to it!
#1 REMEMBER THAT THE PEOPLE YOU'RE MEETING WANT TO MAKE A GOOD IMPRESSION TOO
You’re meeting these people for the first time. But remember – it’s the first time they’re meeting you too. They’ll want to make a great impression just as much as you do.
Anxiety and shyness are two very big things. Your interviewer might come across as a confident powerhouse. But that doesn't mean they aren't shy underneath. They’ll be nervous too. They'll be hoping to give you a good experience and also remembering to ask you everything.
It’s comforting to know that you’re not the only one who wants to make a good first impression. Remember that and it will help you.
#2 Wear something that makes you feel confident
You know what I mean. THE outfit. The one that makes you feel like you can take on the world – whilst still being really comfy. If you wear something that makes you feel good, you’ll have more confidence. People notice that. But let's say you walk in looking uncomfortable because you’re wearing new shoes that are giving you blisters.
That doesn't exactly describe confidence.
Smart, sophisticated and grown up is what you want to go for. But you also want to be yourself. Wear something that represents you and who you are.
#3 Give eye contact
If there’s one thing that’s off-putting, it’s bad eye contact. Good eye contact shows that you’re comfortable and approachable. It’s so so important. You don’t want to be looking down, or at their forehead, or at their mouth (ew). Look into their eyes.
Now I don’t mean stare into them all the time. In your interview, when you’re thinking of an answer, you can look up at the ceiling as you think. But don’t not look at a person when you’re talking to them.
Here’s a tip that I've always got good feedback on in interviews...
Say there’s a panel of three people interviewing you. Each of them will ask you different questions, right? So when you answer a question, instead of only looking at the person that asked you the question, look at everyone. Answer the question to everyone even though they didn't directly ask you. Turn your shoulders so they know you’re addressing them all. It works wonders.
#4 Remember the handshake
Ah the good old handshake. When any interviewer comes to greet you, they’ll offer their hand for you to shake. You wouldn't think that this matters so much. But if you can nail the handshake it plays a big part in making a killer impression.
So a bad handshake would be:
- Only holding the fingers of the other person’s hand
- Looking at the floor
- Shaking their hand weakly
- Looking grumpy
Then a good handshake would be:
- Expecting the handshake
- Holding the whole hand
- Being firm (but not too aggressive)
- Looking the person in the eye
I wish I could show you but I’d have to start a YouTube channel for that ;)
Get someone to try it out with you and give you their feedback. Whenever I've practised for an interview, I've always practised the handshake too.
It’s not nice, but people judge you by looking at your face. Yep, facial expressions are key to making a good first impression.
To cut a long story short, if you don’t smile, you don’t seem as trustworthy. But if you do smile, you’re much more approachable.
You don’t want to have a crazy smile though. A natural one is what you want. So instead of thinking of something that makes you laugh, think of something that makes you happy. That will bring out your best smile.
#6 Give Them Your Full Attention
I know none of you would get your phone out in an interview or look bored – but it happens. I know, right? Who would do that?
You've got to listen to who you’re talking to. Don’t zone out. Don’t think about what you’re going to make for tea or how your cat is. Don’t be distracted by other things in the room. Be fully involved with what you’re doing and the conversation you’re having.
You’ll find that this will help the conversation to flow more easily. If you’re involved with what you’re talking about, your brain will start to think of a response naturally. But if you’re thinking about other things, you might miss an important part of a question.
#7 Stand up tall
Or, as my mum likes to tell me, “posture, Holly.” Body language can tell someone a lot about yourself. If you’re slouching or leaning, you’ll look defeated, insecure and bored.
I do it as if I'm just starting a workout and I'm concentrating on my breathing. I stand with my feet in a natural place, about hip-width apart. Then I take a deep breath and relax. I pull myself up tall – put my shoulders back, lift up my neck and pull in my core. If you can feel your abs are tight, you’re definitely standing tall. Then I take deep breaths in and out.
So that’s my natural stance now. And for an interview, whenever I stand up or walk into a room, I go into this stance. It shows that you’re confident and that you’re here to succeed.
#8 Ask Questions
Interviews don’t just follow this format: you’re asked a question, you answer it, you’re asked another, and so on. It’s more about having a conversation. So if you’re talking about something and you’ve got a question, ask it!
Obviously you get a chance at the end of the interview to ask any questions you’ve got. So always come prepared with one or two. But you don’t have to wait till the end if there’s something you want to ask in the moment.
#9 Prepare some of your answers
Now some of you might think that this will make you act unnaturally in a interview, or that you’ll be too rehearsed. But I disagree. It’s like performing in a play. You want to give a good performance, right? And part of that comes with learning your lines.
It’s the same for an interview. You can easily predict some of the questions you’re going to be asked. It’s like “Tell me about yourself” – you might not want to plan a full answer. But you can plan the way you’re going to answer it and make up an anagram to help you remember it!
Further Reading: How To Answer The Hardest Interview Question Ever
#10 Be yourself
This is the most important point of all. Be you. Don’t pretend to be someone else. If you get the job, you’ll be stuck with that forever, and that’s a hard way to live. Be honest.
In every interview I've had, each interviewer has praised me for my honesty. Because I was myself. You don’t want to hide the truth from someone and for them to find out. Not only will that affect you getting the job, it’ll also give you a bad impression for the future. You don’t know who people could know.
But if you relax and answer naturally, you’ll be fine. This is what’s brilliant about being a blogger. We speak naturally and honestly through our content and videos all the time. Take that and use it to give a killer impression in your interview.
What are some of your key tips for making a good first impression? Which one of these points is your favourite? Let's chat in the comments!