How to use the information about company culture:
So you’ve spent hours collecting company research, talked to current company employees and studying the company’s culture. How do you put all of this work to use in making a great first impression?
- Plan your attack: Most people “wing it” to prepare for an interview, and end up randomizing their chances of success. Plan your first 2-30 seconds. Determine how you will stand and walk when you first meet the interviewer, how you will shake hands, how close you will be to them, the gestures you will use, and the first words you will say, and the tone and speed you’ll use when you say them.
- Don’t assume: It’s dangerous to just assume a suit interview these days. If you wear a suit to an informal company, you’ll look like you’re from the FBI, and find it difficult to establish trust and rapport. Ask HR or your phone interviewer about the normal dress at the office.
- Team Player? Rebel? If you learn the hiring manager is a rebel, someone who’s really changing things, or someone described as “different”, you’ll want to ask a little detail. Try to get a contact who knows them, and discover how the hiring manager dresses, how they communicate, etc. If you can’t get details, then change something in your dress – if everyone else is wearing white shirts, wear a blue one. If everyone else wears maroon striped ties, wear a wild tie.
- Practice: Have you heard that it makes perfect? Practice in front of a mirror, in front of a video camera, in front of friends. If you can video, and then email the first 30 seconds of the video to close online networking contacts (who have never met you in person, but who you’ve communicated with extensively), ask them for their gut reactions. Ask them what they think of the person in the video. Is the person trustworthy, hardworking, intelligent, personable, dedicated, savvy, insightful, or empathetic? Look for the key words that the company uses to describe successful employees, and see if your networking contract interprets that from your 30 second video.
Creating a first great impression doesn’t have to be left to chance – your first impression can be managed, changed and customized to fit a specific company or hiring manager. Since 98% of hiring mangers make hiring decisions based on “gut feel” (translated: first impressions), it’s the single most important thing you can do to influence your interview’s success.
How will you manage your first impression, so you’ll get a second or even a third chance?
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