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First Impressions - Interview Techniques

Today I am putting out my first ever blog, and so first impressions are top of mind.   How do we create the right first impression when job hunting?   Interviewers are just like the rest of us and their initial impression of the applicant can change the whole flavour of the interview.

So how do you create that great first impression?  Research?   These days, it is the expectation that the applicant will know what the company does, understand the basics of the job requirement and have a few well chosen questions to add to the discussion.  It adds real value to know who their customers are, and to be able to relate personally to the business.   The high rate of unemployment means that for every good job, there are multiple applicants, and you need to stand out from the crowd.

And research the dress code, too.   We live in a world where we are constantly evaluated on our external presentation, so make that first 60 seconds of interaction positive.  Plan to arrive a few minutes early, treat the receptionists with respect (many HR people ask the receptionists for their impressions of candidates), greet people that you make eye contact with while you are waiting, and generally behave with a quiet confidence, no matter how you are feeling inside.

What should you know about the position?   Most companies will publish the key performance requirements (KPRs).  Read them carefully, and align your skills with the requirements and be prepared to discuss how you would add value to the role.   Many interviewers still ask your strengths and weaknesses, and a favourite weakness is perfectionism!   Share a genuine weakness and say how you have worked to overcome it, and succeeded.   Much more powerful than pretending a strength is a weakness.

As important as that first impression is the impact you leave behind.  In the same way a jet liner leaves a jet stream in its trail, people should leave a lingering memory that they were there.   Will they remember you half an hour after you have left?   If your personal jet stream is a positive one, more opportunities will come your way. 

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