How many times have you heard someone say, “You never get a second chance at a first impression” or “Never hire anyone who reports to you that you don’t like from a first impression?”
Could we make meeting someone for the first time sound any more daunting? Humans are judgmental creatures, that’s a fact. Most social scientists agree that first impressions are formed within the first 7-11 seconds of meeting someone new.
If this is true, how can you make your first few seconds count and ensure that you make a favorable and lasting impression that leaves the other party begging to follow up with you?
You simply follow the formula.
Psychologists have been studying the “first-impression bias” for decades and because of this research we know there is a science to making a powerful first impression. A motivated individual can use this information to create a bulletproof first impression system that guarantees results.
Why do first impressions matter so much?
A first impression can provide opportunities that may not be readily available if a favorable impression is not made. If you don’t like or trust someone when meeting them for the first time would you offer them a job? Would you make introductions for them? Probably not.
So how do you show that you’re trustworthy, likeable, and competent in the blink of an eye? Focus on the ABC’SS.
- Appearance is Key
As much as well all like to believe the “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” axiom, when it comes to first impressions your appearance is a major factor. That doesn’t mean you have to wear a Tom Ford suit or carry a Louis Vuitton handbag to look sharp. But you should dress for success.
A recent study by Hajo Adam and Adam D. Galinsky published in The Journal of Experimental Psychology scientifically proves that what we wear effects how we act.
In the study, 3 separate groups were asked to spot the differences in 2 nearly identical pictures. Before asking the subjects to review the photos one group was given a Dr.’s coat, one group a painter’s smock, and the final group wore no coat.
The group wearing the Dr.’s coat consistently found the most differences between the 2 pictures. When asked to describe the people in the photos, the “Doctors” were also the most critical and judgmental of the photo subjects.
Your appearance affects how you interact with others and how you’re perceived by others. If you met someone for the first time would you rather be wearing smelly gym clothes or a great looking outfit guaranteed to give you compliments? Don’t fight an uphill battle, simply put yourself together before heading into a situation where you need to make a favorable first impression when meeting someone new.
- Body Language Basics
The next aspect in the science of first impressions is in how you carry yourself and your communication skills. What does your body say before you even open your mouth? Do you look friendly, open, and approachable?
Over 50% of your communication is done through the use of body language, tonality, and hand gestures. Remember, when meeting someone for the first time the other person sees you long before you get a chance to speak.
Mark Bowden pokes fun at the speed in which first impressions are made in a recent TED talk [TED Stage]. He explains that by the time he reached center stage to begin his presentation the majority of the audience had already decided what they thought of him.
Through visual clues such as his appearance, facial expression, body posture, the audience formed an impression before the presentation even started.
The goal is to portray a combination of confidence and competence through your appearance and non-verbal cues so that when you do start talking, you’re already in a favorable position.
How is this accomplished? Start with your head up & shoulders back. Stand up straight and keep your hands visible. Be sure to smile. Fidgeting hands and shifty eyes show nervousness, which can crush your credibility instantly.
- Compliments Are Worth Their Weight In Gold
During a first impression goal number one should be to charm and disarm. One of the most effective ways of building instant rapport is as simple as giving a genuine personalized compliment.
The National Institute of Physiological Science at the University of Tokyo did a study regarding how people react when given a compliment. The study determined that when someone hears a personalized compliment, specific to them, their brain reacts in the same section as if the participant was given a cash reward.
Use this biological feedback loop to your advantage and create a specific, personalized compliment within the first few moments of meeting someone. Maybe you weren’t wearing your finest clothes, or they caught you slumped in a booth at the coffee shop, a well-placed compliment is like a “get out of jail free card”.
When looking to provide a meaningful compliment, choose something unique that person and something that took effort on their part. Women’s hair, men’s watches, and shoes (for both sexes) are always great targets for compliments. Complimenting on something the other person has little or no control over will not create the same desired result.
- Speak up & Stop Mumbling
Most people tend to speak quieter and enunciate less when they are nervous. This lack of confidence results in subconsciously making yourself seem small, quiet, and unthreatening. Unfortunately, it also ruins your first impression and causes you to be seen as a mumbling mess.
When it comes to your introduction don’t try for a witty one liner or a rehearsed joke that could backfire in your face. Start with a simple, “Hello, it’s a pleasure to meet you. My name is Brandon Slater”. Using your full name during an introduction helps you to seem more important and professional.
Speak at an appropriate level and enunciate your words. Be clear and concise about who you are, what value you can bring to the other person, and how you can be helpful. It’s not about proving your worth, it’s about discovering how you can become a valuable relationship to the other person by being insanely helpful.
- Stay in the Moment
We are currently living the most ADD generation in history. In the last 15 years, our attention span has dropped from 15 seconds to a measly 8.25 seconds according to StatisticBrain. What does that mean for first impressions? It gives you an opportunity to stand out from the crowd in a fantastic way if you play your cards right.
Make a concentrated effort to give your undivided attention to the other person for the first 10 seconds of meeting them. Rather than think about what to say, actually listen to the other person as they speak. It may sound simple, the rules of etiquette haven’t changed all that much. So remember to mind your manners.
Focus on maintaining eye contact and actively listening as the other person speaks. They’ll normally give you plenty of information to use to continue the conversation. If you truly want to stand out from the crowd, avoid the generic “so what do you do” style of questions. Be genuinely curious and interested in the other person and let the conversation flow.
Overall, a great first impression stems from your ability to show confidence and interest in the other person. Use the appropriate non-verbal cues to show your openness, speak clearly, and use compliments.
A first impression is created in just a few moments but that impact, if done well, can last a lifetime. Like most skills, becoming a first impression expert takes practice. So start today! Start in low stakes environments like coffee shops or the grocery store and hone your skills.
That way you know when you really need to shine before your next job interview or networking event you’ll have mastered the art of the first impression and have the confidence to back it up and leave the other person begging to follow up with you.
Eric Wargo & PsychologicalScience.org explain that in the time it takes for you to blink your eye, your brain has already created its initial impression. In this fraction of a second decisions regarding trust, likability and friendliness are made. Dr. Nadia Brown, MD & Dr. Michael Solomon, PhD believe that there are 11 critical decisions made in the first 7 seconds of your first impression. This is where the common belief a first impression takes 7 seconds stems from.
Although you may not be presenting in front of thousands, or looking to become best friends with everyone you meet, showing your best side during a first impression will lead to more pleasant encounters, stronger relationships and more opportunities.
To guarantee you are presenting the best version of yourself, one that is most likely to have a favorable response, we have put together the 5 simple and effective tips.
When you are looking to expand your business, it is a good idea to begin with hiring a dynamic executive team. An executive recruiting firm can help your company locate highly skilled and experienced workers who will take your company to a whole new level. They will go further than just looking at a resume or job experience. They will help you locate someone who shares the same vision for your company, and someone who will keep your business running for years to come. They use in-depth and comprehensive tactics to help interview and hire new talent for the appropriate business.
The key services that an executive recruiting firm offers are executive recruitment services, family office services, executives for non-profit organizations as well as interim executives for temporary and project needs. First of all, the recruitment team will consult with clients to assess prospective employees with leadership skills, and identify the strengths and weaknesses of the client. The firm can also identify opportunities and threats to the search that they are administrating. They can also observe the organizational structure of the company, and identify the interview team in order to make sure the key player will be part of the session.
An executive recruiting firm can also create a long-term approach to evaluation, identification and recruitment follow up. This will ensure that the candidate will work well with your business’s mission, and will exceed what you’re expecting. They will have a team of experts who will have many duties to find the most talented employees, and some of these jobs are strategic wealth management, investment planning and tax and financial planning.
The next area that an executive recruiting firm will provide services for is the non-profit sector, and includes distinct skills and experiences of future employees. The firm will also look for prospective executives for short-term and assignment needs, because they may be needed to accelerate growth or solve a key problem. They will help with project management, work overflows, supply chain issues, developing senior executives and labor negotiations.
What they will do For You
In addition, if you work with the executive recruiting firm, they will be able to customize your search, and they will use a unique approach for each of the clients to find the right employee. They will also complete detailed research for every assignment. They will verify all the references, educational history and credentials. It is the firm’s way of deciphering the contender’s ability to become a leader, problem solving skills, and resourcefulness just to name a few. Furthermore, they will prepare a written assessment for each candidate, which includes a synopsis of their qualifications and history. Last of all, there will also be an interview training that is tailored towards your company’s needs. This will include specific questions that are geared towards getting the most in-depth assessment of each candidate. This is the best way to ensure that your company’s new employees will take your business to a whole new level, so that you will be able to compete in the corporate world.
Finding qualified employees is very difficult and time consuming task. Any employee that has placed a job opportunity advertisement of any type can tell you countless stories of unqualified individuals that have applied for their advertised position. The higher the pay, the more people that will apply. The time and money spent wading through hundreds of applications looking for the right people can actually put your company at a financial loss, without a guarantee of a successful candidate. So what happens when you are looking for highly qualified help, above entry level? This is where an executive search consultant comes in.
When it comes to finding help, get help to find them. There are companies that specialize specifically in recruitment. An executive search consultant will work with your company to locate the exact employee that you are searching for. They will meet with you to find out both you and your company’s needs and goals, and will match you up with the employee you desire.
How it Works
An executive search consultant charges a fee for their services. The money spent on this service can be more than justified by the reduced downtime and training that would have been needed if you had done your own recruitment. In addition to this service, an executive search consultant will have pre-tested any qualified employees to ensure that they are fully able to back up any experience and knowledge listed on their resume. They will do all background checks for you and verify any certificates or training needed. If they do not already have qualified personnel that match your required job description, they will advertise and interview for you to locate one. In short, you contact the agency with your desires, they will meet with you to ensure that they fully understand your needs and then will deliver qualified staff for you.
Is it worth it?
Let’s say that you are looking to replace the Vice President of your firm. You place an advertisement hoping to catch the attention of the right potential employees. This same advertisement will also catch the attention of anybody looking for a permanent position of status. You will receive resumes from hundreds of people that are interested in your advertised position, some will be highly qualified, and some will not be. Once you receive these resume’s either yourself or a member of your staff will need to review each one of them to ensure that the correct potential employee’s are not overlooked. Resumes then need to be short listed, and calls will have to be placed to qualifying individuals for prescreening and interviews. Once the interviews have been conducted and completed, you will now need to review them, choose the individual and hope you made the right selection. Essentially you are doing the job of an executive search consultant – but you have better things to do!
This entire process can take over a month to complete. The time allocated to this could easily been spent elsewhere in company management. You saved money you could have paid somebody else, right? Or did you? Review the time spent, converted downtime and resources. Did you really come out ahead? Your other option is to contact an executive search consultant and have them do this entire process for you. Is it worth it? The answer would depend on the time and resources that you have available for recruitment. For many companies, the answer to this is obvious.
A business is only as good as its employees. This is always the case, which is why the hiring process—especially when it comes to hiring top-level executives—is such a challenge for businesses. When you are looking for an employee, you don’t just want someone who is competent enough to learn the strategies your business has in place, you want someone who is already able to do the job. This isn’t something that is always apparent in an interview either, which is why many businesses are turning to executive recruitment for their hiring needs.
What is executive recruitment?
Executive recruitment, otherwise known as head hunting, is a service offered by executive recruitment agencies to make the hiring process easier for you. Basically, a recruitment agent takes over the interviewing process for you. He or she will find out from you exactly what you are looking for in an employee and will head hunt the perfect individual for the job. Once multiple interviews are done and the perfect candidate is selected, you’ll be able to review the file and meet with the individual.
Why choose an executive recruitment agency?
Executive recruitment essentially looks after the tedious part of the hiring process for you. You don’t have to worry about interviewing candidate after candidate, and you can feel confident that you’ll end up hiring the right person. Because the executive recruitment agent is there to help the potential job candidate, too, he or she will be able to find out a more accurate picture of what the candidate is looking for in a job, too. The agent will be able to find out if the candidate is looking for a long or short-term position, something that will be important for you to know, depending on how ready you are to start the executive search all over again when the candidate decides to move on.
The executive recruitment agent may even reach out to executives who are working for your competitor’s companies to see if any are looking for a new employment opportunity. With your requirements in mind, the agent will focus on head-hunting the executive that is the right fit for your business.
What are the benefits of executive recruitment?
If you are running your own business, you don’t have time to devote to the complex and time-consuming hiring process. And you don’t want to get caught hiring someone just to get the position filled quickly, either. Executive recruitment agencies have the time, man-power, and knowhow to hunt out the leading executives for the position you need to fill. Further, executive recruitment can save you a ton of time, money, and stress, and, if for some reason the selected candidate doesn’t work out, your executive recruitment agency keeps a backup candidate on file so you don’t have to go through the whole hiring process again.
If you need to fill one of your executive positions, get in touch with an executive recruitment agency. They’ll handle the time-consuming hiring process for you so you can devote your time and effort to your business.
What makes a company great? It’s a complex question, and if it only had one answer, all companies would be great and the corporate world would be much easier to navigate. There are too many stories out there of start-up companies that seemed to have it all but ultimately went nowhere, or long-established companies that failed unexpectedly for reasons that were difficult to see. On the brighter side, there are also stories of companies that pulled themselves back from the brink of disaster, or who rose from seemingly nowhere to dominate their fields. The story is always much more complex than an outside observer can see, but you’ll find that many of them turned to executive recruitment agencies to get quality leadership.
Leadership is its own skill
Many things contribute to the success of a company, and those things are often found in different people. Someone with great computer skills may be lacking in time management ability, while a person with a great talent for accounting might find him or herself lost when it comes to dealing with clients. A person with drive and talent may not always be able to see the bigger picture, and the person whose gift it is to always see the bigger picture may need help communicating what he or she sees to others. That’s where executive recruitment agencies come in. They understand that leadership is a talent—just like great customer service or technical wizardry—and they aim to connect you with a candidate whose greatest talent is leadership.
A clear perspective
So why not simply promote from within the ranks? There are a few reasons. The saying goes that you can sometimes see better from a distance. Executive recruitment agencies aren’t affected by internal preferences, conflict, or prejudices. Their sole aim is to fulfil the contract they made with you by finding you the very best executive candidate for the job. A leader provided by a recruitment agency will also have that clear perspective and be unhindered by previous relationships within the company. Everyone will see them as a leader right off the bat, and nobody will worry about anyone receiving preferential treatment.
Skilled at finding quality leadership talent
Just like you put your great customer service talent on the front lines and your accounting geniuses in the bookkeeping department, one of the best moves you can make is to allow executive recruitment agencies to take over the task of finding the leader who will take your firm to the next level. These agencies have years of experience and a whole company’s worth of dedicated talent to bring to bear. Their job is to find you the perfect executive, and they will devote everything they have to that goal.
Reach out and find your leadership
Before you take the next step in your firm’s journey, find an executive to make sure it’s a step in the right direction. Executive recruitment agencies are a great investment for a company just starting out, or for an established company looking to carry on its legacy.