Stupid Interview Mistakes: Weak First Impressions |

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EP 750  I explain how they occur and easy ways to avoid them.

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First impressions are critical. You only have a few seconds to create them and unfortunately, too many people make the mistake of creating a week 1st impression. Here's how it occurs and I will give you a few different scenarios.

You're getting a phone call out of the blue. Maybe someone and seen your LinkedIn profile; maybe they found your resume online. However, it occurred, it is a phone call that was unexpected. You're caught by surprise. You start to stumble and stammer; you sound uncomfortable because your meeting with people. The simplest way to respond to that is by saying, "I would love to talk with you but I made with other people. Can we speak it around 1:30 or 3:30 PM?" "Or I'll have time when I'm in the car driving home (or on my commute) at 5:30 PM. Does that work for you?" Offer a few different alternatives for them. If that doesn't work on their schedule and they say, "Why can't you talk right now," you just learn something about them that's really useful.

Try to schedule a time where you know you can speak. That's really the smoothest way to do it.

If you have a phone interview that has been scheduled, you want to be ready to roll right away. You can't sound uncomfortable if they are calling you. You have to sounded ease and, at the same time, have personality and be excited that they've reached you. The simplest way to do that, "Hey, thanks for making the call. I appreciate you being on time. I have a tight schedule today and let's get to work!" That's a fun way to do it instead of simply saying, "Oh! I didn't realize it was 2:30 PM." When you do that you make yourself seem like an idiot.

In the in person interview, what often happens is you are left waiting for a little while. You are in the reception area or in some conference room, waiting to speak with someone. The mistake people make is being too engaged in something else during the waiting period. Thus the retention is taken off of their upcoming performance and how to perform well in the 1st few moments of the interview and instead they're looking at the phone, their reading, they are on their laptop, pacing around looking at the 4 walls... There doing everything other than being mentally prepared..

During this time that you're waiting, you can do a quick review of how to answer certain interview questions, the stories that you have planned out that you're going to tell that are planned out to emphasize points that you expect they will ask you about. There's a lot that you can be reviewing in your mind, so that when someone opens the door or someone comes out to greet you and says your name, you can stand up and be ready to give them a great handshake, eye contact and, of course, a big smile.

When you are escorted into the interview room and sit down, you can start by proactively saying, "Hey, I really appreciate you making time to meet with me today." Then you can go into what I call The Single Best Question You Can Ask on Any Interview {I have a video about that. So not going to go into that now.). I just say that there is a lot that you can do to always appear ready. You always want to appear engaged and ready to seize the moment.

At the end of the day, this is your opportunity. You have no 2nd chances here. You have one opportunity to create the great 1st impression and the weak one won't do it. The weak one is going to let them know that you don't have a lot of confidence in your ability to talk about this stuff, or that you are in certain. They are looking for someone who could inspire confidence that you are the solution to a need that they have.

Unless you do that right out-of-the-box, you are missing a golden opportunity to lay the framework to convince them to want to hire you.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for what more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1100 episodes,“ Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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