Beyond Bravo

The Most Important Part of a Job Interview...Happens Before the Interview

Dress nice, because your potential boss is making a decision before you open your mouth.

It really is about first impressions. Ever like—or dislike—someone with just one look? It happens every day. And it happens in job interviews, which is why they’re so nerve-wracking. 

A new study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology says that the key to nailing a job interview lies in the chit-chat that happens before the official job is even discussed. What your potential boss thinks of your personality is more important than what you have to prove about how well you can do the job. The study says that “initial impressions are found to more strongly relate to interviewer evaluations of applicant responses earlier rather than later in the structured interview.”

“Findings based on 163 mock interviews suggest that a significant portion of initial impressions’ influence overlaps with job-related interview content and, importantly, that these effects are distinct from other image-related constructs,” says the study. “Finally, initial impressions are found to more strongly relate to interviewer evaluations of applicant responses earlier rather than later in the structured interview.”

So the first impression of you counts, and your interviewer may make a decision about you in under a second.

How can we possibly impress someone who can influence our life in that short time?

Work on your appearance. Make sure your outfit fits properly and is professional. Keep away from anything too loud or crazy. 

Although it’s normal to be nervous when you are interviewing for a job, keep it together. Confidence is key, and will impress your interviewer. If you carry yourself well, you believe in yourself and others can believe in you. 

But above all, be nice. Even if someone’s not into your look or your outfit, they may be impressed if they discover you are kind. 

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