How to make a great first impression: 7 smart tips!

Whether you are attending a personal pre-assessment appointment with a Lazaridis MBA program coordinator, or attending an interview for your dream job, a first impression is key to unlocking your path to success. The only way to ensure you nail that first impression is to prepare ahead of time.
Here are several tips that may help you.

1. Keep fit
Your energy level depends upon your overall health. If you tire easily, you will most likely look tired as well- especially under the stress of an initial meeting. Therefore, if you look tired, people will be under the impression that you’re too tired to get the job done.
This does not mean you need to be a bodybuilder or Hollywood thin. You must however be healthy enough to look alert, capable, and interested.

2. Send clear signals
When meeting people for the first time, they are likely to make snap judgments based on clothing, accessories, and more: watches, jewelry, briefcases, makeup, skin tone, facial expression, etc.
Make sure you attend the interview conscious of the visual signals you are communicating to the interviewer(s), and that it is one that they would be pleased to do business with. To ensure a memorable first impression as an applicant for an MBA program in Canada, make sure you look professional, well put together and make eye contact to guarantee good visual cues.

3. Create the best greeting
Three important parts to an initial meeting include: your smile, your words, and your handshake. Research is key to determine what kind of company culture exists. Be respectful of every employee you encounter when you enter the building/ office, and lastly remember that your handshake should be firm but not crushing or limp.

4. Know your agenda
A large and important component of an interview is whether or not you seem confident in yourself and what you have to offer. It is important to know what you want to accomplish at the meeting and prepare yourself with different answers to questions. Being prepared creates a poise that communicates that you are credible and reliable.
Speak slowly, calmly, and maintain eye contact when speaking to the interviewer. Body language is important as well, as good posture is a huge sign of confidence and poise. So sit up straight!

5. Rehearse your entrance
Now that you have thought about the different aspects of the interview, it’s time to practice! Do a dress rehearsal of what you will wear, how you will enter the room, and how you will stand and deliver your greeting. Practice with a colleague or friend and get feedback.

6. Measure and adjust
Since first impressions are critical to success, you will want to track your results of your efforts. After an interview, note the response of the people you’ve just met. Pay attention to facial expressions, statements, and subsequent behavior.

7. Follow-up
After a pre-assessment appointment, or job interview, it is always appreciated to receive a brief thank you note from a candidate. This shows your continued interest in the position following the interview, as well, this is another opportunity to showcase your character.
If unfortunately you do not land the job or position, see if there is an opportunity to connect with the interviewer for feedback. If not, reflect upon the meeting and see where you could have improved upon. An interview is never a waste of time but always good practice for the next.

For additional resources on preparing for interviews, visit the career development center website.