First Impressions Count – There Are No Do-Overs

April 29, 2013 |

First Impressions Are Made in 5 Seconds

By Tonya Wells – It’s an unconscious thing that we all do, but everyone makes automatic assumptions about someone within the first 5 seconds that we see them. It’s not intentional. It’s just automatic. There is something within our subconscious that takes in everything we see instantly. It kicks off a massive amount of internal processing and makes massive assumptions about what our eyes are seeing.

Our brains instantly catalogue this information and give us a funny feeling in the pit of our stomachs if something seems even a little bit out of place, even if we can’t put our finger on what it is exactly that is wrong with what we are seeing. This phenomenon was documented based upon numerous scientific studies in the book ‘Blink’ by Malcolm Gladwell.  In this book, Gladwell researched the accuracy of this instant cataloging that our brain does and discussed at length why we should all rely more on our gut instinct.

Interviewers rely on this gut instinct from the moment they see you sitting in the front lobby waiting for your interview. It happens in about 5 seconds. We take in everything about you from head to toe in an instant. We instantly assess whether you look like you just rolled out of bed (or look like you never went to bed at all for that matter), whether or not you are well-groomed, and whether or not you smell like an ashtray or forgot to wash your hair.

It only takes 5 seconds to assess whether or not you look unkempt and dowdy, neat and tidy, or whether or not you look like a rock star candidate in your power suit. We instantly notice if your shoes are tracking mud all over our clean lobby carpet, and whether or not you have shoes on that are showing your bare toes, which happen to be in massive need of a pedicure (even though a pedicure wouldn’t help those nasty looking monkey toes we see curled around your open-toed shoe).We also notice if it looks like you spilled coffee on yourself on the way to the interview, and we notice if your panty hose have runs in them or if they seem to be gathering around your ankles like spankles.

All of this happens in an instant. And, we unconsciously or consciously rank how well or poorly dressed you are, and it instantly ranks you somewhere amongst the other candidates with whom we are interviewing. There is no taking it back. There are no do-overs. So, the first impression your Interviewer gets of you is the only shot you’ve got. You’d better wow them straight out of the gate!

For Further Reading:

  1. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking - One of the BEST books available on setting good first impressions.
  2. What to Wear To Your Job Interview: How to Dress for Your Job Interview and What NOT to Wear if You Really Want the Job! (Ace Your Job Interview) - Yes, this is a personal plug, but I wrote this book with the SOLE PURPOSE of teaching you how to make a good first impression
  3. Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Category: Interview Tips

About the Author ()

My name is Tonya Wells, and I am the founder of Ally Resource Group, a 100% Woman-Owned Executive Search Firm and founder and writer for one of the most popular job blogs on the internet, BlogAboutJobs. I have 18+ years of sales and recruiting experience in a variety of industries. My firm provides retained searches, career coaching, and resume critiques/makeovers. I work with my clients to understand their organization’s pain, and goals to find talent, particularly passive candidates. As a career advisor, I work with job hunters to assist with interview preparation, find new and more satisfying career paths, and I work with VC start-ups and entrepreneurs to assist them with developing and executing their business strategy. I am also an author of several job-related Ebooks, and run several blog sites, including BlogAboutJobs. I also do guest writing for other people’s blog sites and for industry sites, and I do reviews of other people’s products and services and write about them on my blog site. If you’d like for me to write a review about one of your products or services, please connect with me, and let me know what your main objective is with having me write a review for you so that I can make sure to cover everything you’d like to have covered in the blog post. Please message me at tonya.wells@allyresourcegroup.com if you need assistance finding employees, with critiquing or doing a makeover of your resume or if you need career coaching because you are changing careers, looking for job advice with things such as salary or commission negotiations or promotions, or need help with a career search.

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