Whether you are interviewing for a new job or meeting with an important client, you want to make a good first impression. You don't want the interviewer to remember you as the person who showed up with chipped green nail polish or a messy beard. Here are some tips to help you make a good first impression:
Dress to impress. You don't have to wear the most expensive suit or the latest label, but make sure you don't look like you slept in your clothes the night before.
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Wear something that is flattering and comfortable--if you stumble in heels, wear flats so you can move with ease. Your outfit choice should help you feel more confident, not self-conscious.
Men and women should make sure their nails are neat and clean. Remove excess jewelry. Men should be clean-shaven, or at least make sure facial hair is well-groomed. Women should wear the appropriate amount of makeup. The goal is to look as put-together as possible.
Be on time. Plan the route ahead of time. The drive to an interview is not the time to try out back roads that may be faster. Getting lost is not an excuse for tardiness--give yourself enough time.
If something out of your control happens, like your car breaks down or your train is delayed, call your interviewer and explain the situation. Ask if he or she still has time to see you, or if you should reschedule.
Be prepared. Going into an interview with a solid understanding of the company or client not only works to your benefit, but is expected of you. Bring a notebook and a working pen, along with clean copies of your resume.
Women should have an extra pair of pantyhose on hand. Bring deodorant if you sweat when you are nervous. Also treat the situation like an interview from the second you walk in the door. Be polite to the security guard, the receptionist and everyone else you meet. Practice saying important names ahead of time so you have the correct pronunciation.
Master the handshake. Look the other person in the eye and use a firm handshake. Use the other person's name in your greeting. The handshake should last 3 or 4 seconds, but do what feels natural.
An awkward handshake may start the meeting off on an uncomfortable note.
Recovering from a bad first impression. Everyone makes mistakes, so what should you do if your first impression left a lot to be desired? If you can pinpoint what you did wrong, apologize for it as soon as you can. Call the person or arrange another face-to-face meeting. If you make a blatant mistake within the first 10 minutes of your interview, try to throw in some humor. Poke fun at yourself to let the other person know you have realized the inappropriateness of the action. Above all, be true to yourself and don’t try to convince the interviewer that you are something you are not.
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