It is often said that we only get one chance at a first impression. As dubious as this statement is, it is in fact true. Before any interviewer has had a chance to ask any questions, they have already made judgements toward your suitability for their environment. By being mindful of your first impression, you can use it to your advantage!
Appearance – this is what gives most applicants the highest amount of anxiety. How you dress should be directed by the position you are applying for. If you do not know how you should dress for the interview, stop by the location a few days before your interview. This will give you a chance to check the tone of the environment. Make sure to dress at the same level or one step above.
Tone – how you speak is as important as what you say. This is true in all environments. For example someone who speaks very quickly and excitedly is probably not the right person for a suicide hotline. In the same vein, someone who is a slow thoughtful speaker may not be quick enough to be a great server. Try and match your tone to those who are interviewing you.
Timing – always be about 10 minutes early for your interview. Any earlier and you may cause awkwardness of bumping into their last interview. It is never acceptable to be late for an interview. Always call if you need more time.
Scent – using cologne or perfume before an interview is a mistake that applicants often make. Scents can be irritants to others, and cause reactions generally similar to seasonal allergies. In addition, the cologne or perfume you use may remind the interviewer of a past friend, lover or enemy. The subconscious actions of scent can work against you.
By creating a confident and appropriate image, any applicant is sure to make a great first impression. The best rule of thumb is to pick opportunities that you feel you have a natural fit. You are most likely to feel confident and self-assured walking in.