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First Impressions: it’s in our DNA (Part 2)

First Impressions: it’s in our DNA (Part 2)

​In the previous article ( , I talked about the science behind first impressions – why we make them, the part they played in our evolution, and generally why they’re such sticking points for us human beings.

The fact is, whatever the reason first impressions happen, they do – and it’s important to know how to make a good one.

Without further ado, let’s work through this from the beginning:

Timing is everything

A very famous man once said “Five minutes early is ten minutes late” – and not only has it stuck with me, but it’s never let me down yet.

You make your first impression before you’ve even arrived – that is, when you get there. We get it – things happen, unforeseen issues arise and sometimes, despite your best efforts, the world works against your good timekeeping. Plan for any eventuality, give yourself way more time than you need, and Do. Not. Be. Late.

You’re in – now what?

Phew – traffic aside, you arrived on time. So, take a minute to straighten yourself out, make sure you look smart and ready. Take some deep breaths. Think about how you’re presenting yourself, and be ready for your interviewer to make an appearance at any moment – possibly, having been having a gander at you for a couple beforehand.

We’re not just talking about what you’re wearing here – if you’re sat in a waiting area, don’t slump in your seat. Sit up straight and present a positive, professional image. Stand, even, and take a look around you; show an interest in any plaques which may be dotted around, photographs on the walls, certificates etc… It’s not all how about how you’re dressed (although it helps to be dressed appropriately) – it’s how you present yourself as a whole.

The meet-and-greet

This is it – make it count.

If you are still sitting, stand – always. Don’t crush your interviewer’s hand, but don’t leave them wondering if you even took it or not either. Most importantly, smile – smile wide, and smile genuine. Make eye contact from the off and be ready with a question, or some means with which to build rapport (here’s where those certificates you’ve been looking at for the last ten minutes come in handy).

Get your interviewer talking, be the one to make conversation, and go from there.


The truth is, a lot goes on subconsciously that we don’t know is happening during those crucial first moments. What we’re talking about here is giving ourselves the absolute best chance to make those goings-on positive, rather than inadvertently enforcing any negative initial feelings or findings.

I could go on forever – project confidence, be yourself, maintain eye contact but don’t stare, have your elevator pitch ready, and so on. No matter what sort of job you’re interviewing for, industry, level or title, and no matter how many first impressions you’ve made throughout your professional life so far: each and every single one is different, so it can’t hurt to keep reminding ourselves of the basics.

Do you have any stories to share about first impressions? Have you ever met someone who you weren’t convinced on immediately, but managed to turn it around? Or vice versa? We as recruiters meet hundreds of candidates each year and are constantly having these first impressions happen to us – it’s part and parcel of what we do to make, review and then develop that first impression into an understanding of each person we meet; their skills and experience, where they might fit within the scope of one of our client’s teams.

We’re proud to do what we do thoroughly, properly and well.

Get in touch today to discuss your next career move with a partner who’ll truly guide you through the process – and we’d love to hear what your ‘first impression’ of us might have been, having read this article.

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