"It's Still the First Impression, Stupid"
Looking for a good job takes a good plan. The problem is that your plan can be blasted by a poor first impression. In the 1992
USA Presidential election, political strategist James Carville
hung a sign in Bill Clinton's Little Rock campaign office that
read, "It's still the economy, stupid."
His intent? Simply to keep everybody
focused on the most important issue of the day. The lesson
to be learned from this is that even the most important among
us; the inarguably qualified, are still not immune to a potential
to overlook the obvious.
When it comes
to job-hunting, nearly everyone has heard the mantra, "You
never get a second chance to make a first impression." True words
to be sure the importance of which, few will argue. Nevertheless,
too many of us fail to appreciate how critical and how essential
the first impression really is.
Try a little experiment of your own. Sit down at a local mall
or somewhere there are people to pass by you. Assume for a second
that every person you see is more than qualified for whatever
job you want to imagine. Your task is to look at each person and
decide whether you would offer them a job or not.
it may sound, you'll find yourself saying things like, "That
Person? Definitely not! Him? Maybe. Her? Not sure. That person?
Without question!" and so on.
The fact is,
you can evaluate people and the reason is, we ALL do it subconsciously
ALL the time. It's intrinsic to fundamental human interaction
regardless of who we are or where we come from. Ironically, we
couldn't stop engaging in this activity... even if we wanted
value judgments are fueled by first impressions
part of doing an experiment like this comes with the realization
you could and were making INSTANT value judgments based solely
on first impressions that, if it were in the real world, would
have significant consequences [positive or negative] on the lives
of those you've judged and it only took you a second!
Would it be too Carvillian of me to point out, "It's
still the First Impression stupid!" for success in the practice
of job hunting?
on my own experience as a trained recruitment interviewer for
a Fortune 500 Company, first impressions colored nearly every
interview. That's not to say people were hired strictly
on the way they looked but rather to point out those who made
poor first impressions put themselves at an obvious and avoidable
disadvantage from the get-go.
image & dress dor success
There is another
misunderstanding as it relates to first encounters. A first impression
has so nothing to do with having to look like a movie star and
everything to do with Looking the Part.
of us can compete with Britney Spears and I've never seen
Brad Pitt looking back at me whenever I look in the mirror. The
important aspect to understand here is that we must take what
ever genetics has given us and then work diligently to a) ensure
we make the best of it, and, b) make certain our appearance is
actor Dustan Hoffman has played many convincing roles ranging
from a gangster to a woman. Aside from his obvious acting talent,
what made him credible was how he appeared. A dress and makeup
were essential for his role in Tootsie but hardly believable
for his part as the Savant in Rain Man.
We can learn
another lesson from actors. Practice, Practice, PRACTICE!
before any actor steps on stage or in front of the camera, considerable
time and effort has gone into rehearsing for the role expressly
to achieve one thing Believability!
for guidance from other actors and directors in a focused effort
to improve their presentation. Would it make sense we do the same
if our comport; how we look, walk, talk, sound and appear in
the span of a few seconds may make the difference in getting
a job or not?
Too often the
barriers that challenge us for success in anything are indeed
fundamental, obvious and avoidable. In job hunting, we'd
do well to observe James Carville's minimalist approach
and remember, "It's STILL the First Impression, stupid!"