There seems to be a lot more attention being paid to the way our culture has moved away from good manners and the respect of others. If you live in a bubble or work in a job where you never come into contact with people, I guess you can get away with it. Most of us interact with people all the time, whether it be professionally or socially, and as it has been said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
This is certainly true when you are making a first impression. You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and some people never learn and wonder why they fail at interacting with others. And there are times when you need to make a good impression, like on a job interview. It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how well you can perform on the job, if you don’t make that good first impression, you may never get an opportunity to show your stuff. We are currently in a job market in which it is very important for the interviewee to realize that the power is being held by the interviewer.
I have been on the interviewer’s side and it blows me away how some people take such little care in their approach to making a good impression. Some people ruin a job opportunity before they even get started. For example; I was interviewing a guy once and out of the gate he began to trash his current boss. My next thought was, “If I hire this guy, how long will it take or what will it take for him to start publically trashing me.” I immediately ended the interview and warned him that trashing an old boss is not a good thing to do on his next job interview.
Who does a person applying for a job have to impress? It is important to be aware of that first impression made on the gatekeeper, the interviewer.
Allison Green wrote an article in 2008 for US News and World Report titled, “Nine Ways to Ruin a Job Interview.” Here they are.
- Answer cell phone. (Turn it off before you get there)
- Ask questions about the company that could have easily been answered with a modicum of research.
- Badmouth an old boss.
- Pretend you have no weaknesses. Or tell me that your biggest weakness is perfectionism and you work too hard.
- Share too much personal info.
- Ramble on endlessly.
- Be as quiet as possible. (It should not be hard to get you to answer questions or socialize a little.)
- Don’t ask any questions. I want to know that you’re interested in the details of the job, the department you’ll be working in, your prospective supervisor’s management style, and the culture of the organization. Otherwise, you’re signaling that you’re either not that interested or just haven’t thought very much about it.
She did not mention personal appearance, but don’t assume the interviewer likes beards, long hair, or piercings. He or she is the one you need to impress.
I know, these seem like common sense, but for some people, they are not.