Research conducted by William May has revealed some interesting insights into the psychology of first impressions, interviews, and how we judge other people upon meeting them.

interviewsThe survey showed that more than one in three (35%) first spot another person’s facial expressions in interviews, whereas 27% of people said it was the way they are dressed.

Body language came in a close third with 26.7% of the vote, and a person’s tone of voice came in last with 10% of people selecting this feature.

The research revealed a certain generational gap between our first judgments. More than one in three of those aged 18 to 24 selected dress sense as their top factor, whereas facial expressions was the most highly rated for all participants over the age of 35 in interviews.

How to make a great first impression as an interviewer

With studies showing that it can take as little as one tenth of a second for someone to make a judgment about you, first impressions are vitally important!

As we recover from the recession, candidates with the right skills and experience can often be hard to come by. Remember that they’re interviewing you just as much as you’re questioning them, and the first impressions they have of you will reflect on the wider business as a whole.

So if you’re trying to fill a role and have interviews lined up, William May has put together an Ultimate Guide to Making a Killer First Impression, covering everything you need to know. Here you’ll discover how to put your best foot forward with tips to help you every step of the way, from shaking their hand and your tone of voice, to your body language and what to wear.

Here’s a few taster points from the guide to consider…

Facial expressions

For a job interview, regardless of which side of the table you sit on, there are a few impressions you definitely want to make: interested, professional, and friendly. And there are those to avoid: bored, closed-off, and potentially aggressive. Pay attention to your facial expressions, as they could betray how you really feel, as psychologist Portia Hickey of Communication Labs explains:

“Whilst there are basic behaviours that help us make a good impression (e.g. smiling and steady eye-contact), there is a lot more to first impressions. Our brain is bombarded with so much information all the time that shortcuts in our thinking are required. This means that subtle things such as how frequently we smile will cue people’s brains to stereotype us and make certain assumptions about us. So it is important to know what type of impression you want to make so that you are sending the right signals to the other person’s brain.”

Don’t forget the final touches

We use our clothes and accessories to show the world who we are as individuals, so dressing the right way should be high on your priority list. But don’t forget the finishing touches to your outfit.

Those who have a tendency to over-accessorise can often be trying to apologise for something, or to divert attention away from themselves.

Nick Withington, managing director of William May, believes your accessory of choice shouldn’t be overlooked:

“For many people, one of the first accessories they will notice will be your watch – as you will often shake hands with the person you are meeting! It’s important to convey a strong first impression with your watch – it isn’t something to be ignored! Be sure to wear an adult style, and nothing made of rubber unless you’re heading out on a run. Keep it professional, clean and neat and you’ll leave them with only good thoughts.”

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