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These are just some of the passwords that we can find thousands of on the Internet. So what is the phenomenon of first impression articles, of which there are so many, and which we apparently badly need? Why is it so important? And how does it work that our future depends on the first impression?
Suppose we work for a recruiting company or an internal HR department and we have just interviewed two candidates for the same position. Both candidates have similar experiences and competencies. However, one of them somehow automatically seems to us a better candidate, and we are more sympathetic to him. The second one, in turn, evokes negative emotions in us, although he did not do anything wrong. We have already chosen subconsciously. But why is that so?
First impression - psychology
In psychology, there is the so-called first impression effect. It involves formulating an opinion about the interlocutor based on his appearance and the non-verbal signals he sends. Maintaining or avoiding eye contact, hand positioning, facial expressions, clothes - are examples of "carriers" of information that we notice at the beginning of the meeting. We can discourage a potential employer in the first minutes or even seconds of acquaintance if we are not working on our behavior and body language.
Why is the first impression important?
In the first moments when you get to know someone, you create an image of that person in your head. If you think about it well initially, you may later be inclined to attribute positive qualities to it. This is the halo effect. It is important to be aware of the psychological mechanisms that influence relationships. Otherwise, contact may be impaired.
What influences the first impression?
When you see someone for the first time, thoughts spring to you about a newly met person. His voice, body build, hairstyle, and clothing may give you associations that have little to do with reality. The person you just met, however, may be clearly different from the one you just imagined. Remember that the interlocutor also perceives you through the prism of his own ideas. What to present your authentic face, i.e., one that is not distorted by stress, uncertainty, etc.? First of all, it's worth getting to know yourself well and getting to like yourself. If you have healthy self-esteem and feel great in your own skin, people around you will sense it.
Another issue you can work on is attitudes towards others. If the attitude you adopt in the first meeting shows respect and interest in what your interlocutor has to say, you will inspire positive feelings. Listen carefully, be friendly, and make it clear that you appreciate the importance of your interlocutor's words.
Conscious building of the image, kindness towards the interlocutor, interest in the other person are examples of issues that affect how you are perceived.
Making a Good First Impression - ABC
To present yourself well, e.g., during an interview or a meeting with an important client, it is worth:
Be aware of your own facial expressions and gestures
Too sweeping gestures or the inability to hide dislike, disappointment, surprise, etc. - are factors that make it difficult to build a favorable image. It is also important to be able to control your emotions in stressful situations. It is not only about gesticulation but also about the voice, trembling hands, etc.
Keep a serene expression on your face.
A threatening or mocking face makes us perceived as unsympathetic and non-communicative people. When interviewing for a job or meeting with a client, it's a good idea to keep a friendly expression on your face. Even a delicate smile makes our features seem softer, and we - more sympathetic.
Maintain eye contact
Avoiding the eyesight of the interlocutor may indicate, for example, that we are stressed, insecure, or that we have something to hide. This behavior causes discomfort to the interlocutor. To make a favorable first impression and confirm with the recruiter that we are listening to his words, we should maintain eye contact.
Keep the body position open.
Slouching, clasped hands, arms crossed over the chest - this body posture may indicate that we feel fear or are hostile to the person we are talking to. The raised head, stomach, and neck, which we do not cover with our hands, indicate that we are not afraid and do not intend to hide anything. Lifting your head unnaturally may be perceived as arrogant. It is worth maintaining a natural attitude in interpersonal relations.
Dress neatly and appropriately for the situation
A stain on the shirt, too large a jacket, deep cleavage, provocative makeup - avoid such mistakes if we do not want the interlocutor to perceive us as sloppy or badly mannered.
Maintain good manners and prepare for the meeting
If you want to present yourself favorably, it is worth preparing for the meeting, for example, by remembering and referring to the name of the recruiter with whom you have an interview. It is also important to arrive on time, for example about good manners and commitment. The way we express ourselves - correct and adequate to the situation - also says a lot about our personal culture.
First impressions are tough to resist. For example, when the candidate talked about his volunteering and involvement in charity events with a smile. It is then effortless to think about this person warmly - he certainly has a good heart, is open to other people, is liked by everyone, and responsible. It fits perfectly with our position and the organizational culture of our company. It's just that… we don't really know it. And we only automatically attributed more positive traits to this person based on one piece of information that aroused positive feelings. This is the halo effect, also known as the halo effect.
The second candidate also had the relevant competencies and experience required for this position. We find, however, that… we don't like this candidate. We know that this person is not suitable for our company. He did not present himself adequately to the situation - his outfit was very casual, informal, and the candidate's appearance was quite sloppy. Based on such an image, it is easy to conclude further characteristics of the candidate - perhaps frivolous treatment of the future employer, lack of commitment, lack of responsibility, inability to take care of oneself, and therefore probably also of the work environment, and so on. Once again - the recruiter does not have such information about the candidate but only adds it based on a single feature. These successive traits are negative, assigned based on negative information, so the phenomenon is called the Golem effect.
Both phenomena follow a similar pattern. Based on a single piece of information, which we interpret positively or negatively, we assign the interlocutor further features, respectively - positive or negative. These are the so-called attribution errors. It is tough to resist them and always notice their effect. These phenomena occur not only during a job interview. In fact, we meet them practically every time we meet a new person. This helps us to quickly assess a new friend - whether it is worth investing energy in this acquaintance or not. Often this automatic assessment is wrong. However, it takes a lot more time and information about the other person to verify the first impression.
Unfortunately, getting to know a recruiter often lasts only as long as a recruitment interview. We may not have another chance to get to know ourselves more widely and let a new friend, or in this case the recruiter, form an honest opinion about ourselves. Therefore, it is worth taking care of the first impression during the recruitment interview because it can significantly affect hiring us.