When Does a Company Make a First Impression of You?

Posted June 15, 2016

Whether it's through a cover letter, a phone call or in-person application at a career fair, a first impression is when you either start or end your hiring process.

Not to put too much pressure on you, but study after study shows just how much a first impression counts when it comes to landing a job.

Cover letter

Since you have complete control over it, the cover letter is probably the easiest way to make a good first impression. First of all, make sure your cover letter is free of spelling and grammar errors. Don’t use middling statements like "I believe" because they don't project an air of confidence.

In the body of your letter, connect your skills and qualifications directly to what the company wants in an applicant. Exude positivity throughout the letter and end by thanking the reader for their time and consideration.

Phone interview

More difficult to pull off than a good cover letter - and therefore more impressive - the phone interview requires a bit of preparation.

Don't schedule it for a time when you are distracted or in a noisy place, like on a busy street. Be prepared to give details on anything you wrote in your cover letter or on your resume. Try to take the call over a landline to avoid the possibility of a dropped call, interference or a delay.

During the interview, avoid interrupting the person on the other end, pay attention to what they are saying and speak distinctly. When the interview wraps up, thank the hiring manager for their time and ask what the next step in the hiring process is, if they haven't told you already.

Face-to-face interview

Whether it's at a career fair or an in-person interview, face-to-face is the toughest way to make a good first impression, but it's also the most rewarding when you pull it off.

A good in-person first impression also requires preparation. Appropriate dress means "business casual" for manual labor jobs and a suit for office/desk jobs. Make sure you are well groomed and aren't covered in too much perfume or cologne. Leave the cell phone in your pocket, or better yet, at home.

Do some research and have a few prepared questions ready before you leave the house.

When you greet the other person, smile, make direct eye contact and give a firm handshake. During your conversation, pay attention to the other person, take notes and be as respectful as possible. Share the skills and qualifications you have to offer the company and ask your prepared questions.

At the end of the interview, thank the other person for their time and ask about the next step in the process.

At Ambassador Personnel, we assist all our job candidates with every part of the hiring process. If you feel like you need some in-person advice on how to make a great first impression, please contact us today to work with a leading employment firm in the South!