Most of us are unable to process why we did not get through the HR interview when we were technically sound and professionally fit for the role. Well, have you ever thought that the culprit might be your bright shirt, unkempt beard, danglers, overstuffed portfolio, unstructured bag, the perfume you forgot to put on? Or perhaps you simply sat in a wrong way, or did not greet the panel with required enthusiasm or at times too over-enthusiastically ??
All the above-stated factors lead to one cumulative point i.e. first impression .we often form opinions about a person’s character from a single visual of them, within a short period of time as short as seven seconds , hence it is not necessary that the judgment we have arrived at be accurate and many a time its not yet it plays a crucial role in the formation of an impression of a person’s character in the perceiver’s mind . As stated by Alan Pace studies have shown a strong correlation between how much an interviewer likes the interviewee and whether they get the job.
First impressions are quoted to be the “ love at first sight” of the corporate world. Here are a few keynotes which we provide to our students here at Sevenmentor to help form an exceptional first impression:-
Keep the time
An interviewer will judge your efficiency in work and is more likely to recruit you on the basis of the discipline that you follow in your life. Keeping the time and arriving early at the venue will create a positive outlook of your personality and also will cut the rush for you. you will have the last few minutes to yourself where you can check for any possible adjustments in your appearance and review your script and can, therefore, walk into the interview in a cool, calm and collected manner
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Dress the part
You would not go in shorts to a wedding party nor wear bright colors to a funeral. Every occasion has a certain dress etiquette which is supposed to be followed. Most often it is expected that it be followed without being defined. Data says that 75% of recruiters believe that there is a relation between how you dress yourself and your work efficiency.
Dress for the job you want not for the one you have, remember to dress formally here is certain points to keep in mind.
- Dress according to the position you are applying for, if applying for higher management level position do not forget to layer up i.e. wear a well-fitted jacket/blazer to add prominence to your appearance.
- If you are suiting up remember to pair your skirt or pants with a matching jacket and a tie or scarf in complementing colors. wear a lighter shade top over darker shade bottom
- You may choose to wear a skirt if you are comfortable and confident in carrying off one. A mid-length pencil skirt which is ideally not more than two inches above your knee is considered appropriate for formal settings. Remember your skirt must be comfortable enough for you to sit, walk and climb stairs in.
- For shirts cotton or cotton, blends are considered to be ideal fabrics. Long-sleeved shirts are more formal when compared to short-sleeved ones. Your shirt should be buttoned up at the cuffs and collars.
- If you are considering paring up your bottoms with a top instead keep in mind that your top should be a collared one, it could be a button-down or a turtle neck in muted colors.
- For women who would prefer to wear Indian wear to their interview, opt for a saree in either cotton, silk or cotton-silk blends, make sure that it does not have too many patterns on motifs on it. Sequined and huge motifs are also to be avoided. Strong borders compliment a saree and add to your statement. A saree should be properly pleated and pinned to your shoulder so that it does not restrict your movements. Too bright colors should be avoided.
- Though a Kurti is not considered formal wear if you want to sport the same to an interview you should see to it that it has a collar and if not it should be paired with a well-structured dupatta which is pleated and pinned to your left shoulder. Again avoid bright colors, patterns, and motifs.
- Stick to muted colors such as grey, blue, black, brown, ivory, and whites. You can also sport a bright but sober color but not too bold and loud colors. Choose colors which complement your skin tone do not follow instructions of fashion gurus blindly.
- Your attire should be well ironed, crisp and spotless
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Your footwear must be clean and in good condition, while selecting a pair for yourself keep track of the colors you are choosing which should be neutral. Do not wear your sports shoes with your formal wear.
For men, while wearing shoes use socks, make sure that is in tune with the trousers you are wearing. Avoid Loafers invest in Oxfords or Brogues.
For women, wear shoes which are comfortable and which do not make the tick toeing noise while you walk. If you would be sporting a pair of heels, they should be of comfortable height you can wear Block heels, Kitten heels or Stilettos depending on your ease and comfort with them but avoid wearing Wedges. Furthermore wear shoes which are closed in the front i.e. Pumps, Belles or Pep-toes.
Do not sport Sandal, Floater or Flip-flop to an interview.
Accessories are used to aid your message and add to the impact your image creates on a person, therefore, use them smartly:-
- Your belts, scarves, and ties should complement your overall appearance and should not create a contrasting image.
- Women should carry a well-structured handbag in muted color which compliments their attire
- Whereas men should carry a good office bag or a slim leather portfolio bag.
- Avoid carrying a backpack, if doing so take it off before entering the interview cabin. You can leave it with the receptionist
- While wearing a watch make sure that it is in good condition and the leather strap is not peeling off .
- Do not wear anything blingy or which is too flashy.
- Avoid big danglers, too many bangles or charm bracelets. Put on a pair of studs instead
- For people who wear spectacles clean and tighten your glasses.
- Keep your hair neatly manageable, well combed and tied.
- Colored hair is a big no during interviews, but then if you have colored hair put it up in a nice formal hairdo
- Men should clip their nails, have trimmed facial hair ( including prominent hairs on ears and in your nose ) or have a clean-shaven look
- For women, if you have long nails please ensure that they are either painted on with neutral colours or a transparent topcoat, do not go in with chipped nail paint either redo it or take the paint off all your nails. keep your nail bed clean
- Use a good perfume smell good, bad body odor can affect your image negatively.
- Keep mints handy to battle bad breath.
- Ladies are required to put on subtle makeup, use a muted or nude shade of lipstick , eyeliner and kohl. Nothing shimmery should be used.
- Avoid showing any body modifications. If you have got any tattoos or piercings try covering them up as much as possible.
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The Entry and Approach
If the door is closed, knock and ask for permission before entering. Your entry tells others how you expect to be treated, once permitted to enter walk in without hesitation and with a pleasant smile, do not grin. Walk briskly at a medium pace with medium length strides.
Acknowledge the interviewer or the panel with a head nod and greet them using appropriate greeting for the day.
Keep your palm firm and return the pressure you receive. Let the interviewer decide when to end the handshake. Do not clutch on to a person’s fingers. make eye contact while shaking hands also smile. Ensure your palms are not sweaty nobody likes clammy hands. If you are of male gender do not initiate a handshake if your interviewer is a female wait for her to so or acknowledge her with a head-nod.
When You Sit
Sit straight, avoid using the backrest. Angle your body 45 degrees away from the person, if seated on a low seating chair or sofa sit upright on the edge of the chair so that you can control your body movements.
When you are sitting on a chair, keep your elbows out or on the armrest. submissive and timid people keep their elbows in to protect themselves.
Do not cross your arms across your chest it indicates a very defensive staMirror your interviewers. Use minimal gestures and open gesture those which do not come off as aggressive also have cross-cultural awareness regarding what gestures are acceptable and what are not. Your gestures should not be too loud otherwise it might look like you are overcompensating for your lack of content
Your vocabulary range will decide the power you wield over the receiver while engaging in conversation. All who are higher up in the social or professional ladder are more likely to use a larger range of vocabulary and can communicate using better words and phrases. Use power words like results, health, money, ambition, etc.
The pace is the rate of speed of your speech, your pace should be such as you are audible to your audience. Do not talk too fast or too slow, pause at points on which you want to exert importance.
Keep your volume loud enough so that you are audible to your interviewer, but do remember that being loud is not shouting. The interviewer should not have to strain to hear your voice. Clearly, audible voice emulates confidence and control.
invest in a good document portfolio either i leather or plastic in muted colors. Arrange all your documents chronologically in it, all certificates pertaining to extracurricular activities should also be added to it . Your portfolio should be neat and clean, there should be no dirt smeared on it or dust accumulated on it.
Place your portfolio turned towards the interviewer on the desk/table. Do not keep nudging the same forward, or insisting the interviewer to have a look at it as it might come off as you being pushy.
Your resume should be well structured and original, do not practice plagiarism. Do not copy a ready-made template but make one on your own. Use standard text in the font size of 12, do not use designer fonts.
Get your resume printed on good quality paper, ensure that it is not crumpled or stained. Do not fold it.
Do your research on the organization know your prospective employer well before sitting in an interview, Visit the organizations about page read through their mission and vision and incorporate the keywords into your conversation to resonate with the values of the organization?
P’s and Q’s
Be polite and humble while conversing with your panel. Thank them when they offer you a seat and thank them while leaving the room too.
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While exiting pack your things calmly and in a composed manner, not in a hurry. Shake hands if initiated by the interviewer, turn and walk out. If the door was closed while you walked in close is behind you while leaving.
Men should remember to polish the heels of their shoes and women should adjust their skirts ( not in a prominent way ) as people do observe you while you are leaving. Walk out with a smiling face, keep your reaction neutral even if the interview did not go as well as perceived. As you never know how a positive perception about you might change people’s mind
Follow the above-mentioned protocols to establish an impeccable first impression and walk out with your dream job.
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