Making a first impression is a part of everyone’s daily life. It takes a quick glance for people to evaluate one another when they meet for the first time. This is heavily based on appearance, body language, demeanour, mannerisms and how one is dressed. This opinion formed may be irreversible unless the person who had created that impression is given the opportunity to reverse it and to give the benefit of the doubt.
A survey conducted which reflects on the unemployment of fresh graduates in Singapore
(Lee, 2016), demonstrates
that this is a critical issue growing in the society. Furthermore, the
cautiousness of employers in their hiring process has been raised. To prevent
further growth in unemployment rate, it is advisable for job candidates to
perform well during interviews by portraying positive first impressions. Tracy (n.d.)
mentioned that dress appearance is responsible for 95 percent of the first
impression that someone can make as it covers 95 percent of one’s body.
It is ultimately how one presents him or herself that will eventually
affect the course of the relationship with the other party.
The objective of this study is to better understand the importance and ways in creating a positive first impression during a job interview in the hospitality industry. The team is also limiting it to a setting at a workplace interview. It will serve as a guide for university students to follow up when they are interviewing for a job in the future.
The team analysis will be referenced and based on both primary and secondary research data to support the judgements and findings with regards to creating positive first impressions during job interviews.
The team conducted an interview with Ms Janice Lim, a recruitment consultant from Recruit Express. With more than 3 years of experience in the firm, she has interviewed candidates for a variety of jobs in different industries and witnessed many types of interview behaviours of prospect employees.
Janice constantly emphasized on the importance of creating a positive first impression and how it relates to higher probability of job offers. She added that a candidate who portrays good attitude and positive nonverbal gestures during job screenings or interviews stands a higher chance of securing the position. Recruiters who developed good impression on their candidates may help to add words of affirmation to their clients during the shortlisting process. Having to recruit and interview different people on a daily basis, Janice shared with the team about one of her encounter with a lady who is applying for a business admin position.
The lady had a pleasant voice when Janice confirmed the interview details over the phone. However, the positive impression did not last. She came to the interview in a sleeveless top, revealing a tattoo-filled arm. A word of advice from Janice is to portray a constant positive impression and be dressed appropriately for the interview. In the event where the candidate has visible tattoos, it is advised to cover up that area. Janice concluded that dress code and physical appearance is one of the determinant factors for success during interviews.
As a former employee under one of the recruitment team in Recruit Express, Jocelyn concurred with this. The 6 months’ experience in recruitment sector had allowed Jocelyn to see a variety candidates with improper interview attire and these candidates did not receive any job offers.
Articles and findings on various websites such as popular news engines and recruitment firms also supported this research. Monster, a worldwide recruitment platform highlighted that first impression impacts the way interviewers judge the candidate for a period of time. The judgment will be magnified especially during interviews since it is a significant stage for employers to select the most suitable employees for their organization.
According to an article written by the professional training and development speaker, Brian Tracy a survey was done on a group of hiring managers and three-quarter of the managers agreed that first impressions are critical in determining the success of job interviews. Managers usually make their hiring decision during the first 30 seconds of the job interview. Therefore, candidates should be highly aware of their gestures during the first meeting with employers as it can either make or break the hiring decision of employers.
Among the different situations where first impression impacts an individual, the team decided to address and emphasize on creating positive first impression during job interviews. This is a relevant situation as job interviews will be a gateway for graduating university students to clinch their first work opportunity in the hospitality industry.
The most un-sightly scene for an interviewer would be meeting an unprofessionally dressed candidate. This candidate may turn up in a casual blouse and three-quarter pants. This image reflects badly on the candidate and can be implied as uninterested for the position. The way a candidate dresses determines their personality and sincerity. As mentioned previously, 95 percent of first impressions are created by the dress codes, hence dressing appropriately, in a professional manner is highly recommended.
Behaviours and postures are ways of communications without words yet they have strong impact on affecting the other party’s perception of an individual. Rowdy and over-reactive behaviours as well as poor postures might be deemed as unacceptable when a candidate is undergoing an interview. For instance, a female candidate is slouching and playing game on her mobile phone while waiting at the holding area. This gives a negative impression to employers or future colleagues, portraying her insincerity for the interview.
Interview is the most crucial moment for a candidate. The interviewers will usually observe the candidate from the moment he or she enters the room and the interactions that follows through. Some candidates would trudge into the interview room and take a seat without offering a handshake. Canada largest career portal, Workopolis, highlighted that a nervous facial expression or unclear thoughts can ruin any interview. Interviewers may perceive that the candidate lacked preparation.
Candidates are expected to be expressive and provide detailed and professional response during the interview. Interviews usually comprise of a handful of challenging scenarios posed for candidates to assess their analytical and problem-solving skills. In some cases, a candidate may provide sub-standard response without answering the questions or analyse the problems. Interviewers may get irritated when insincere candidates do not take interviews seriously.
A positive start to an interview is important, similarly, ending it well is crucial too. Following the end of the interview, candidates are expected to pose relevant questions or to express their interest to the interviewers. However, some candidates might ask irrelevant questions and exit the interview without a proper handshake and farewell. Therefore, it is crucial to end the interview in the right note, providing a firm handshake and attempt to follow-up with the interviewer.
This section provides a series of solutions which will be put in action in the team’s training video guide. The aim is to guide all potential candidates on the ways to create good impression during job interviews.
It is important to dress in a conservative manner but that does not mean dressing in a boring manner. “Don’t think so fashionable, think more conservative,” Tomazin says. Candidates should stick with the basics with matching colours. It is crucial to avoid wearing extremely tight or revealing outfit for interviews. According to Workopolis, candidates are advised to dress appropriately to suit the company and the job applied. As for footwear, candidates have to avoid sandals or open-toe wear.
Candidates should avoid fancy hairstyles for their job interviews. Based on The Balance article relating to hairstyles for interview, the author mentioned that there are different ways to style the hair professionally. However, the hairstyle should match with outfit and makeup. Generally, the type of hairstyle adopted should look professional and suitable for the candidate.
Prior to the interview, the candidate should portray pleasant personality and friendliness to the employees. Though they are in the waiting area, postures and behaviours may be seen by prospective colleagues and even employers. As this area is often neglected by the candidates, this aspect is included in the training video to highlight the importance.
This is the most crucial part of the whole interview process as the candidates meet their prospective employers for the first time. It is extremely important that candidates express passion and sincerity during this process. According to Kelly Services, they mentioned that its takes three to five minutes to form an impression during an interview. Some employers will scrutinize the candidate the moment they enter the room.
The employers will be observing both the verbal and non-verbal actions of the candidate. In some cases, the candidate might receive challenging questions or sarcastic remarks from the employers so as to access their attitudes and professionalism. They have to maintain their professionalism and respond appropriately. Due to importance of this section, a tutorial will be showcased in the training guide.
This is the part where candidates often neglect. The positive impression forged during the interview may break at this point due to reasons such as the lack of formality. According to guidelines of Huffington Post, candidates are highly encouraged to post job-related questions to the interview or state their interest once again and most importantly, to send an appreciation email to the interviewers.
Creating positive first impression is highly crucial because “First impressions really are the most important, according to new research showing that the opinions we form in the first few minutes after meeting someone play a major role in determining the course of the relationship” (DYE, 2004).
A positive first impression during a job interview will increase the likelihood for the applicant to clinch the job offer. This is true as supported by Direct Tutor’s article on “Making A Good First Impression” that interviewers may relate to the candidate better once positive impressions are formed.
By portraying positive impressions, individuals might gain a boost in their own self-confidence las they adopt a positive mind set. (supported by who) Additionally, the first impression imprinted on a person’s mind will shape the course of the relationship, which is important. This means that employers or colleagues who developed an impression previously, would expect similar personality of the candidate at workplace. When such expectations are met, candidates may develop more confidence and job satisfaction will increase. As such, those first critical minutes are crucial for an individual’s course of career.
In conclusion, creating positive first impressions are crucial in everyday life especially during job interviews. The benefits and dangers from the first impressions formed will go a long way for the candidate. It is therefore critical for university undergraduates to capitalize on their strengths and improve on their weaknesses before entering the society for job hunts.
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