Top 10 tips for creating 10 great first impressions in the first 10 seconds of an Interview
Speak to anyone who has ever interviewed and they will tell you that there have been numerous occasions where the interviewee has made the worst possible first impression at the start of the interview and that it was hard work from there on in. Perhaps worst of all, the interviewee is often oblivious to this fact. Here are some basic suggestions to ensure you hit the ground running and that the interviewer is excited, not disappointed, by their first impression of you:
1. Make eye contact immediately
This may seem incredibly obvious. However all too often a nervous candidate will fail to do this. This is the biggest killer for first impressions as it raises a number of sub-conscious doubts including the impression that the person is rude. Look a these tips if you are aware it is a personal weakness and would like some ideas on how to improve.
2. Once you have made eye contact.
The next thing the interviewer will often notice is footwear! So, and again this is obvious, ensure you have clean, polished and ideally ‘on-trend’ shoes! If you are interviewing with a fashion or design-led business ensure you are dressed appropriately for their brand.
3. Wear clothing appropriate to the interview.
As per the previous point, a poor choice of the right attire can be a killer for first impressions. Without wanting to specifically highlight my own gender’s shortcomings…try to ensure you haven’t picked out a suit you bought 20 years ago! This can create an impression that you are old fashioned and lack attention to detail. Also, it is important that you accessorise appropriately. For women, too much jewellery can be off putting and similarly an eyebrow piercing is probably not going to do you any favours in a corporate interview! It is also vital to dress appropriately for the company culture. For instance, in the Retail sector, we have some clients for whom it is imperative to arrive suited and booted. However, we also have some clients who don’t want to see candidates in a tie and in some cases, a suit would be positively frowned upon as the interviewer themself is likely to be wearing jeans and a fleece.
4. The handshake!
Clearly there are a number of cultural complications here. However, in most instances, this is incredibly important. A weak handshake is a real first impression killer. If you are applying for a leadership role this can be one of the most important things that you must get right. However, be careful not to be too firm, as this can imply that you are attempting to assert control. I interviewed for a role with a firm many years ago and received feedback that I had done well but the lady I met was unimpressed by my handshake. I had failed to let them know that I had broken my hand a week before and was in significant pain! My learning from this was to pre-warn people if you have a problem!
5. Greet the person by their name.
This can be one of the most psychologically influential actions you can do to create an immediate positive impression Read here if you are sceptical!
6. Greet the person confidently and ask ‘how are you _______?’
I am always amazed by how little interest an interviewee shows in the interviewer. This is not only a polite question but it also demonstrates a certain degree of emotional intelligence, a quality increasingly sought after in modern leaders.
7. The second question you are likely to be asked (and yes this will generally happen in the first ten seconds) is whether you would like a drink.
It is crucial that you accept this offer of hospitality. A refusal can be considered rude in most cultures around the world. As an aside, greet your interviewer with a large energy drink in hand and this really will create a terrible first impression!
A smile can mean lots of things however to put it simply it implies you are social, you like people, they like you, you are confident and you are pleased to be at the interview.
9. The first impression will often start before you have seen the interviewer.
Switch off your mobile phone in the reception area and do not be tempted to read emails etc. You will be much more relaxed and will come across as being in control of your personal/working life. As an alternative, take a serious newspaper, appropriate trade magazine with you and ‘be seen’ to be reading this. This will give the impression that you are ‘well read’ and intellectually curious.
10. Interact with other interviewees / receptionist.
If you are in an animated conversation with another person when the interviewer enters the reception area their first impression will be that you are confident and sociable.
6 Ways To Motivate Yourself At Work
To succeed in the workplace, you need to be at your best, and you can only truly be at your best when you are motivated to work. With the proper inner drive, everything can seamlessly fall into place.So how can you motivate yourself at the office day in and day out?
Here are 6 ways to do just that:
Create early momentum
The way that you start your day will dictate the pace of the rest of your day. So it is crucial to start with a “bang”, so to speak. You need to mentally prepare yourself for the day ahead as soon as you are out of bed. Then, you can ride that wave of momentum all the way to the afternoon. It makes a huge difference, no question about it. Psyche yourself up, go over everything that you plan on doing on that day and remind yourself that you are not only capable, you are doing it, period.
Think about your salary
It’s no surprise that money is a great motivator. However, after some time at the same job, we tend to forget that big motivator and what it brings to us. Remind yourself of the money you are getting for the work you are doing, and think about all the things that you want to do with the money. Whether it’s to buy that new car you want, or pay for your home, or save up for that great vacation you are looking forward to, never let it slip your mind that you are working for money that can help you achieve things in your life that are of great importance to you. If you work in an environment where you can actually affect your salary, such as being an entrepreneur or a salesperson, then money should be one of your biggest reasons to motivate yourself to work harder than anyone else. As a matter of fact, even if you are salaried and your income is not dependent on how hard you work, you should always work at the best of your abilities and this brings me to my next point.
Focus on long term growth
Whatever your current position, there is most certainly room for advancement. There is always some other position that you can work towards, and this can be one of the best ways to motivate yourself at work. I remember at a job I used to work at a long time ago, they had announced that they were looking for a new manager, and told everyone that they would assess everyone’s credentials and abilities over the next two months. You wouldn’t believe how this helped turn around the work ethic of certain people. The ones that really wanted the position had a huge motivator pushing them to reach for that goal. You should approach your work thinking that the higher ups are always looking for someone to promote. Trust me, that usually is the case, even if it is not said in public. So concentrating on your potential career growth can definitely increase your motivation to do stellar work and be at your very best to ensure that you do get the recognition that you deserve, and get promoted to a higher position.
Only positive talk
In a recent article about the advantages of working from home, I talked about how one of the main negatives of the office is the fact that you have employees and coworkers always badmouthing the company and bringing everyone around them down mentally. Needless to say, it is incredibly difficult to remain motivated when you keep hearing about the negatives of the workplace. There is good and bad in every office. Focus on the positive, surround yourself with like-minded people that enjoy their work and are there for a reason (such as the ones listed above), and you will be guaranteed to always be in a frame of mind where your motivation is pristine. When you allow negative discussions at work to enter your mind, you subconsciously start doubting your reason for even being there, so you think you will possess the right motivation to work properly? Definitely not, so at all costs, always be positive when it comes to your discussions about your job.
Compete with your peers
When I used to work on a sales floor, I would walk around the room looking at each other’s numbers and performance during breaks and lunches, as a way to motivate myself to do better than they were. I even remember working closely with a colleague where we would always try to out-do each other. We shattered sales records because of this. Even if you are not in a position where your work dictates your salary, you should always strive to perform better than everyone else around. Such things like being more professional, quicker at answering questions, quicker at resolving issues…these are ways that you can compete with your coworkers within your own mind in a way to motivate yourself to increase the quality of your work. Competition can lead to great accomplishments, take a look at this article I wrote 7 Positives of Competition, and you will see how this can truly benefit you.
Personal pride & accomplishments
At the end of the day, do you want to go back home and be proud of what you have done? The way I see it, if you are somewhere for 7+ hours per day, shouldn’t this be pretty clear that this is an important part of your day and your life? Treat your job, whatever it may be, with pride and witness your motivate & your success soar! I remember once, I crossed this garbage man on the street that was just having a blast, he was singing along, smiling to people, and doing a fantastic job. That’s how we should all approach what we do.
Even if what you do is not your ideal job, there is a reason why you are doing it…focus on that reason, and while you are at it, might as well make it a joyful, pleasant experience. When you can go home and be proud of what you have accomplished during that day, when you can be satisfied with your work ethic and attitude, then you are truly living life the way it was meant to be lived.
Why It is Important to be an All-Round Talent
With agencies running lean in the current economic climate they are looking for talented individuals who have skills outside of the job description.
Creative all rounders definitely have the edge on those stuck in a rigid definition of their role, which is why it is important to be an all-round talent.
The saying “Jack of all trades, master of none” is not always accurate and in a competitive job market being an creative all-round talent puts you at an advantage. While employers look for individuals who are excellent at their job, they also want talented all rounders.
A quick online search for creative jobs results in numerous adverts asking for more than a rigid role: such as “Graphic Designer – Creative All Rounder”, “Digital Designer (Creative All Rounder) and simply “Creative All Rounder”.
So are all these agencies looking for someone to do five jobs for the salary of one? Candidates who can offer more than just a fit for one role are an attractive proposition to employers that are running much leaner during this recession. Increasingly there is a blurring of the boundaries between positions and flexibility is a much sought after attribute in an employee. However talented all rounders offer more than just the ability to multi-task.
Be a Team Player
Most of us work as part of a team or rely on a team to support our role. At times we need others to pick up the baton and ensure projects do not suffer because of illness etc. Therefore being prepared and able to temporarily step into another role is important for the smooth running of any agency. If you can do this then you will become an important asset to your company.
The Bigger Picture
Candidates who have good all round experience have a greater understanding of the challenges being managed at every level of a project. Team members with experience of other people’s roles appreciate the constraints and difficulties they face (deadlines, budgets, client relations etc.). Having an informed overview of the sector they work in gives an employee a sense of perspective in terms of their contribution to the team and company as a whole.
Being an all-round talent is not just beneficial to your employer. It can mean a much more exciting and varied career if you have the skills and flexibility to move between roles. Be open to opportunities that are not necessarily in your job description; it can take you on an adventure that could be a great deal more rewarding than remaining rigidly in your role.
As a recruitment agency we would recommend that you market all your relevant talents to a prospective employer. Demonstrate that you are brilliant at the job for which you are applying, but also that you can offer more than that.
So when applying for a new opportunity think about what talents you have that compliment the role. What can you do that this agency needs, over and above the job description? And if you are looking for new challenges in your current workplace, what skills do you have that are needed now?
1. Promote your talents.
2. Be open to new opportunities.
3. Be flexible.
Hope you have a JobCrystal Day!
Will you be my employer Valentine?
A job is like a relationship
Some are long and meaningful, some are just brief flings, others are bitter and regretful. But how do you go about finding a job or company which will support your career and personal goals, providing a meaningful professional partnership you will grow to love?
It's difficult to find a good match unless you first know what you want and need. Identify your career aims and personal values. Consider practicalities, such as location, working hours, or professional development, training and mentoring needs.
You also need a clear idea of how you can match your skills, qualifications, experience and personality to your potential employer. What can you offer, and how does this fit in with what they want?
Check out the talent
Don't dive into the equivalent of a marriage proposal – avoid applying for roles, either advertised or speculatively, without having done any research. A lot of your sleuthing can be done online. Company websites, press releases and trade journals can give you clues about the health of the sector or company, while LinkedIn, blogs and Twitter accounts also offer hints about working at a particular organisation.
If you like what you see, you'll need to pluck up the courage to strike up a conversation. Talk to people with inside knowledge to find out what the job entails. This will give you a better idea of whether it will be a good match for you.
Woo, don't stalk
When you're clearer on what you're looking for and where, you need to start catching people's eyes. In your job hunt, this will include decision-makers, such as hiring managers, project co-ordinators, or recruiters. Get to know them by spending some time hanging out in the same communities. Follow them on Twitter, read their blogs, and be part of the same conversations online. Contribute where you can, ask thoughtful and relevant questions and pass on interesting links or useful information.
Using insights gained from social media, you can find out more about what decision-makers are looking for in new recruits. You'll probably also pick up hints about their personalities and what makes them tick. But don't pester for jobs or leads – just as with the dating game, you don't want to look desperate. Make sure your online image puts you in the most attractive light possible.
Building contacts online and offline – is one of the key ways in. Just like getting your friend to introduce you to someone you fancy, a personal referral in job-hunting can have a higher rate of success than making overtures on your own.
Make an impression
By the time you land your "date" with someone at a company, you'll be in a much better position to make a good impression. Having worked out what you want, what you offer, and having made the transition from stranger to acquaintance through moving into that person's circle, you'll be prepared to start a good relationship. You'll have a much clearer idea of how the company or sector operates, along with its concerns or needs. This, in turn, will give you greater confidence in your suitability, making you appear enthusiastic and clued-up – appealing characteristics for anyone making hiring decisions.
If you grow apart...
Some jobs change, others remain so stagnant that they're no longer interesting or challenging. Inspiring and supportive managers leave, companies flounder or restructure, and sectors grow and shrink. How you leave your old flame says a lot about you to a prospective new employer.
If you have the option, leave on good terms. Try to remain professional to the end: hand over projects, train other staff and never badmouth your employer in public or to an interviewer. Approach your next potential partner with the same amount of research and thought as you did previously and you'll avoid making a disastrous decision on the rebound.
Tips on Updating Your Resume: A Handy Checklist
With January nearly over there couldn't be a better time to go over your resume and get a jump on your 2013 job search.
One of the most vital tools to any job search, whether it is online or in person, is your resume. So take a little time to revamp your resume and make sure it’s up to date.
Here’s an easy check-list to make sure your resume is got everything you need to get the job you’re looking for.
Make Sure it’s updated.
Delete any job that doesn’t have any bearing on the job you’re looking to land. Make sure you add anything that may be missing. Don’t overlook time spent volunteering or anything else that could help boost your skills.
These three things should be on every resume, no matter what fields you’re looking for work in. Experience, Education, and Skills. The key pieces of information any potential employer is looking for is going to be in these three sections. If they’re missing, you just might miss out on the job.
Always run a spell-check and take your time with easily overlooked grammatical and spelling errors. Sometimes a simple grammatical mistake can cost you.
Ask for help.
A second pair of eyes is priceless! Ask a friend to take a look and proofread your resume and see of they catch anything you may have missed.
Correct the dates.
Take the time to double check the beginning and end dates of your jobs to give any potential employers a correct timeline and idea of your experience.
It may seem like a no brainer, double check that your name and contact info are correct. If you apply for a job and they can’t get a hold of you to tell you it’s yours, then what?
One thing that becoming more common in resume today’s is listing the results of jobs or projects you've worked on.
Future employers don’t just want to see what’s you've done in the past, but what results you've had with those jobs.
Now that you’re resume is in top shape it’s time to start 2013 with the new job you've been searching for!
Good luck in your New Years job search.