While it is often said that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, that piece of advice doesn’t apply when you go in for a college or job interview…because first impressions mean a lot.
So, whether you’re being interviewed for a spot in a college tech program or for a job in the tech field, you need to make the sort of impression that earns you a job offer or an acceptance letter.
How do you make your first impressions count?
Before the interview, however, ensure that your online presence helps rather than hinders your prospects. Admissions officials and hiring managers are increasingly conducting research on candidates, and they may give you the thumbs down if their digging uncovers anything suspect. As such, use your tech savvy to clean up your online footprint, which may mean deleting questionable pics and controversial comments as well as keeping personal accounts private.
With that said, read on to learn about the importance of first impressions and how you can make your college or job interview count. A quality resume will certainly help, but that’s just the start.
Seconds matter when you’re sitting across from an interviewer. Consider the following numbers to get a sense of how quickly impressions can be formed:
- 7…the number of seconds it takes to form a first impression
- 90…the number of seconds it takes one-third of hiring managers to determine if they’ll hire someone
- 7…the amount of time it can take for someone to judge another person’s education level, economic level, sophistication, trustworthiness, credibility, sexual orientation, ethnic background, political background, values, social desirability, and level of success
In order to make a good first impression, you need to listen to the interviewer rather than just jabber away, concentrate on the interview rather than get distracted by anything else going on around you, stay humble about your accomplishments, dress properly for the occasion, and smile.
College / Job Matters
It goes without saying that some of the same interview tips that apply to college interviews apply to job interviews. With this in mind, it’s important to consider that a first impression is based on, according to research, your facial expression (55%), what you say (7%), and your voice, intonation, and body language (38%).
On the college interview front, about 23% of colleges say in one survey that interviews are of “moderate importance.” Meanwhile, 3.5% of colleges say that interviews are very important compared to 10% in 2006, and 16.9% of colleges say that student’s “demonstrated interest” was very important. So, you should be ready in the event that you’re asked to participate in one.
On the job interview front, you need to consider not only how interviewers will come by their first impression of you, but also what sorts of things grate on the nerves of hiring managers. Considering the following, for instance:
- 67% of bosses have rejected job candidates due to a lack of eye contact
- 38% of hiring managers say that poor body posture can doom applicants’ chances
Other no-nos include, but are not limited to, giving the impression that you’re still bitter about a company you’re no longer employed by, lacking sufficient interest or enthusiasm, giving the impression that you haven’t adequately researched your potential employer, spending too much time focusing on what you want rather than on what you can do for your potential employer, and failing to show the interviewer why you’re the right person for the job.
Yes, first impressions count for a lot. So, you need to understand how others form their first impression of you if you’re intent on making your college or job interview count. If you follow the advice included in this article, you’ll be well on your way towards either a letter of admission to the tech program of your choice or the tech job of your dreams.