• Antony Campbell

Meeting and greeting – 4 tips for fantastic first impressions

Within the first few seconds of meeting you, other people form powerful first impressions about your:

§ Economic status

§ Educational level

§ Social position

§ Level of sophistication and maturity

§ Whether you are someone they could work with

It’s called “thin-slicing” and we all do it without thinking about it. Thin-slicing is how we use very limited information in a short time to come to a conclusion about someone and researcher Malcolm Gladwell has found that people thin-slice whenever they meet a new person and it happens in the blink of an eye.

These first few seconds can have a powerful influence on our decisions about who we build business relationships with, who we hire, and who we trust. That’s why making a good first impression is so important, especially when you’re networking. These first impressions can be very difficult to reverse or undo and can set the tone for all the interactions that follow.

That means it’s important to be aware of the impression you create the first time you meet someone. But don’t worry – you’re off to a good start if you follow these simple tips…

1. What in your opinion are the most important qualities for this job?

Only ask this, of course, if the interviewer hasn’t already covered this somewhere else in the interview – looking like you haven’t been paying attention won’t help you get called back. But if it hasn’t already been covered, it’s a great way to get to know more about the job and the specific skills required. You can keep the conversation going by giving some examples of specific tasks or projects you’ve done previously that illustrate those qualities.

2. What would my career path look like in this role?

The interviewer may also have covered this in the body of the interview, but if not, it indicates that you are thinking about a career, and that you’re interested in this organization for the long term.

3. If I’m hired, how would you as my manager define my success?

This is a great question, although of course you can only ask this if you’re actually being interviewed by the person who’ll be your manager, not a recruiter or someone from HR. But it shows that you’re someone who’s not in it for just the money. You’re actually interested in the job you’re going to do and you want to learn.

4. What have been the biggest projects this team has worked on recently?

This is an excellent question to get the interviewer talking and the answer tells you a lot about the scope of the work, what achievements the team is proud of, and what the strategic priorities of the company are. Be sure to listen carefully and ask follow-up questions.

5. Why do you like working here?

I love being asked this question and I usually think more positively about candidates who ask it. As a candidate, it gives you great insights into the organizations’ culture from someone who works within it. And anytime you’re asked to narrate a personal experience, a conversation becomes instantly more engaging – and can result in better rapport. Once again, listen carefully to the answer, and ask follow-up questions as appropriate.

6. What are the next steps?

Never leave the interview without asking this question. This tells the interviewer that you’re interested in the role and, at the same time, gives you information about the timelines they work with for hiring.

The bottom line: Always ask follow-up questions in an interview. It’s a great way to demonstrate responsiveness, build rapport, and influence how the interviewer perceives you. And that will increase your chances of getting called back - and even getting the job.