No matter how many times we are told to get to know something or someone before we form an opinion, our first judgment is typically formed within the first 30 seconds of interaction. This could not be more true than when meeting someone for the first time – especially in the workplace in NYC.
Of course, your past IT experience and references are an important and necessary part in getting a job, but those things are what convinced the recruiter to arrange the in-person meeting in the first place. Now, they are testing you to get to know your personality, (yes, even those annoying quirks) and how you handle different scenarios.
Instead of having to remember all the small things to do (smile, firm hand shake, eye contact), just remember what really counts in making a first impression:
- Being considerate. Arriving late is probably the biggest misstep when meeting someone for the first time, but arriving more than 15 before the meeting may come across as over-eager – probably pressuring whoever you are meeting with to hurry it up. If you show up 5 to 10 minutes beforehand, this shows that not only you appreciate the time that are giving you, but that you won’t ever be something additional for them to worry about.
- Attitude. Everyone knows that your “people skills” are one of the most important parts of a first impression. Are you a good mix of easy-going and determined? Are you a glass-half-full type of work or are you overly positive? They make look to see how you react to the traffic that morning just to see if you are the type that sweats the small stuff.
- Passing any test. In a first meeting or interview, the other party is constantly testing you, deciding whether or not you fit in with the company culture – are you polite, for example. Even a simple “thank you” after being offered water or a chair goes a long way – it shows you are appreciative when someone does something to make your life a little easier. What manager doesn’t want someone like that working for them?
- Being a team player. Whoever you are meeting with is looking to see if you can fit into the role they need, within the team they have, to help solve their problems and get things done. Just as much as they want to see someone that is able to take charge and be a leader, they want someone that will do whatever it takes to help the team, even if that means taking a back seat sometimes.
Even though it’s a lot to remember at once, it may be the only chance you have to convince someone at a staffing firm that you are worth his or her time (and money, of course). Within the first couple of seconds, someone will have already made up their mind about you – make it count.
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