First impressions – Presenting a confident you

Understanding the importance of First Impressions....You have just a few moments to make that great first impression. Anne Millne-Riley UKCP Psychotherapist and Confidence Coach shows you how to make the best of them.

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So you are as prepared as you can be for that important interview.  You have researched the job role and the company, and you have even checked the parking provision at the venue.  You know that you have what it takes to do the job and that your experience and qualifications are what they are looking for.  You know that first impressions are important and it is believed that first impressions are formed within 3 seconds of meeting someone.  But how can you ensure the first impression you make is memorable for the right reasons?

1.    Mentally swap seats with the interviewer

Think about what the interview panel might expect to see.  Of course, they would expect punctuality but also consider the following: What should a top grade ‘Project Manager‘ look like for example?  Think about what they would expect a good candidate to wear, how they would expect them to walk and how they would expect them to present themselves.  Make sure you invest in clothes that help you to persuade the interviewer in the first 3 seconds that you could be the right candidate.  Appear well groomed with your hair looking at it’s best.  Appear warm, interested but not overly familiar.  Focus on the individual asking you the question and not on other panel members.  Ensure eye contact is always maintained and that you sit comfortably but still attentively.

2.    Details can be very important

You may think that no one notices the scratched heel on your shoes or that you have been nibbling at your finger nails.  However, if noticed, bitten fingernails indicate that a person might be anxious or lack confidence and even a small detail like unpolished or scratched shoes may give the impression that you do not have a natural eye for detail.  There is no sense in taking a risk with the details as they may give the wrong impression about what you have to offer.  Invest in some new interview shoes and perhaps have your nails manicured to make the best of yourself.

3.    Tackle any interview nerves

Get any last-minute nerves under control by listening to a mindfulness meditation or relaxation audio.  Download this on your phone to listen to when you park up early before the interview or to listen to first thing that morning.  These will help you to shed some anxiety and give you the ‘head space’ to concentrate fully during the interview.

4.     Now sell, sell, sell….

Now let’s get this straight!  You may not be the best candidate that attends on the day of the interviews.  However, how you present yourself will have an impact on how the panel view you.  They are looking for the right person for the job and this may not necessarily be the most experienced or highest qualified.  Be the best version of you that you can be.  Appear keen and interested but also demonstrate that you are keen to develop yourself.  Be proud of your achievements and ensure they know all about them.  Ensure that you find ways to mention other achievements so that you open up the interview and impress them on a number of levels.  By mentioning your interests, blog or sporting achievements, you are giving the panel the opportunity to get to know and like you.  Very often the person who gets the job on the day is not the obvious candidate, focus and what you know you can offer and sell, sell, sell!  

And finally…. Whether or not you land this role, use it as an opportunity to improve your interview skills and technique.  Don’t forget to congratulate yourself on doing the best you could!!


Anne Millne-Riley

Confidence expert