Making the wrong first impression could result in you getting disqualified from a job interview and never getting the opportunity to work at your dream company. All because you made a wrong first impression; especially if you didn’t know, at the time, that you’re making wrong impressions.
In this article you will find out and learn more about three simple steps you can take, proactively, to do a great job at interviewing or to avoid disaster while job searching or networking. This will ensure your reputation stays stellar in your networking community and you continue to step forward steps.
1. Dress the Part – Look like an Engineer
Look the part from the moment you wake up and get your day started (The day of the interview). It begins by washing your face and brushing your teeth and goes into what you’re going to wear to go in the kitchen and make breakfast. It continues throughout the day as you prepare for the interview.
I remember the days that I had an interview; everything was stressful from the minute I woke up till the end of the job interview, which was often filled with confusion and anxiety. This negatively affected every part of my day and lowered my self-esteem.
Today, I know that the potential employer might have already made their mind up about me in the first few seconds of the meeting. In fact, according to Business Insider, it only takes 7 seconds to make a first impression on someone.
This means that what you wear to any meeting, job interview, or networking event matters. No, this doesn't mean you need to dress to the nines.
You need to dress for one job above the job that you want.
If you’re going to meet with another engineer, dress business casual so that you match his/her attire. And if you’re going to a meeting with the president of the company, then put on your 2-piece suit and a tie.
Before all meetings, do complete research to find out what the office culture is like at the company where you want to apply. Glassdoor is an excellent resource for this, and you can also directly ask employees of the company you’re going to interview with; which is one of the reasons why it’s so important to actively build your network on LinkedIn and then learn how to improve relationships on LinkedIn.
Lots of companies these days show or mention that their employees come to the office wearing flip-flops, yoga pants and all. But by no means should you wear flip-flops or yoga pants to an interview. You don’t have that privilege yet. Once when you successfully got hired and finished your three-month probation, making good long lasting relationships, then you can begin to loosen up a bit. At least that’s what I’ve seen work well in the real world.
2. Exude the Right Type of Confidence
Job applicants can exude two types of confidence: Genuine Confidence that comes from knowing you're a good fit, and Illusory Confidence that comes from trying too hard because you feel inferior.
You should obviously shoot to apply for jobs for which you genuinely feel well-suited rather than trying to "fake it till you make it."
You must do whatever it takes to learn to overcome a fear of networking. Learn what it takes first, to properly approach employers and schedule a time to speak with a decision maker so that you can present yourself and your service offering. Then after this, actually start doing what you learned.
Be very selective about the people you contact and events you attend. Nowadays going to networking events no longer should be about hiring and handing out a resume. It’s more about making face to face connections, starting meaningful conversations, and beginning to establish long-lasting impressions. It’s the relationships we build that are most important.
Research the background of companies you’re applying to and study all the useful information. Then ask yourself:
1. Why do I want to work here?
2. What can I do for them?
3. How can I do it?
You haven’t selected the right job or company if, you haven’t yet figured out the answer to these three questions, and can’t yet come up with a clear and concise explanation quickly. Go back to the drawing board and continue building your company bucket list.
Continue forward by setting realistic, meaningful goals, and taking daily action to hit them. This is how you build confidence. By staying focused and consistent on your mission, day in, day out, stand up straight, look your competition in the eye and crush your goals.
The more confident you feel about yourself, the more your potential employer will feel you're the right fit.
3. Do Your Research
Companies love it when you already know as much as possible about the potential position. Do as much research as possible to woo the interviewer or hiring manager at your prospective company. Just make sure that your research isn't "too" thorough, though. Don’t get weird on people; know the fine line that you shouldn't cross. Don’t ask ‘too personal’ questions. You don't want to drop personal information, like the names of spouses or children (unless your interviewer is someone whose family is widely known, such as Bill Gates).
You don't need to break the mold when it comes to first impressions. Just be yourself, act natural and apply at companies that you feel would be a good match for your skill set and your personality. But make that decision based on facts and figures. I’ve asked many engineers why they want to choose a company like Google, Facebook or Amazon, and they don’t know why. They know they want to work there because everybody wants to work there. And that’s just not enough.
When you’re being evaluated by a hiring manager or recruiter they want to make sure how deeply you’re interested. They ask you situational and behavioral questions that are predetermined to find out the real big reason why you want to work with the company. Several questions are aimed at identifying if you will remain with this company for a long time or if you are just looking for a stepping stone. There are a lot of engineers who are using Facebook, Amazon or Google as a stepping stone to get higher level jobs in smaller companies and help startups launch new products.
Pick your battles carefully and have a well-defined mission for making your goals come through.
Thank you for reading this article. Please share it with other students or young engineers that you have them on your network so that they can also make great first impressions while job searching.