When it comes to the world of finance, first impressions mean everything. It also means that not everyone is treated equally, and people who look and sound the part are received better than people who make a poor first impression. And you especially want to be on your game if you’re going for an interview in the world of finance, which goes for those looking for their dream job after the military.
Here are a few tips to help you nail your first impression.
It only takes 30 seconds to make a lasting impression, and this is true even when you’re not there. This means don’t be late! Being late will instantly tarnish your first impression in the eyes of your interviewer and you may not be able to recover from it.
Being late is inconsiderate and shows that you don’t have respect for other people’s time. This is not the impression you want to give your prospective employer, so make sure you are at least 5-10 minutes early. Plan your route, taking into consideration any traffic or delays you may encounter on the way, and travel accordingly.
Appearance is the other big first impression factor to consider. Before you even think about what to wear, start with the basics. Practice good hygiene. Shower, make sure you smell nice (but not overpowering), make sure your hair is combed and styled, and that your nail polish isn’t fading or chipped.
When it comes to wardrobe, a few common sense rules are king: don’t wear anything too tight or revealing, nor baggy or loose, anything blatantly out of date, wrinkly, or smelly. Wear high-quality, well-fitting (tailored if you can afford it) business suits. You can find fashion-forward yet classic styles for both men and women at affordable prices. The key here is to look professional.
Your grip can say a lot about you. Too loose, you’re weak or hesitant. Too tight, you’re overcompensating or domineering, not to mention probably causing the other person pain. You want to find that handshake sweet spot: a medium firm grip exudes authority and confidence.
Your posture and body movements are part of both your personality and appearance. Use them wisely. Carry yourself with confidence, like you’re very successful, even if you’re not. Walking in with purpose and power will give you an air of confidence that will radiate out around you.
By doing this, you can also help trick your brain: if you walk and talk like you’re successful, you’ll actually think you are, and that will help enormously in your interview.
If your interviewer asks what you thought of the company’s recent endeavors, the last thing you want to do is blankly stare back. Do your research. When was the company founded and who founded it? What is their mission statement? You want to show the employer that you care enough to read up on who they are.
You’ll also want to be able to ask intelligent questions. Instead of ‘what vacation time will I get,’ ask something about how they expect their new accounting system to affect the bottom line in terms of man hours needed to complete projects.
Doing your research and coming off put together, confident, and knowledgeable is exactly what the world of finance looks for in an employee. Are you ready for your next interview?
About the Author
August Nielsen is the Human Resources Director for Veterans United Home Loans, a company recently named for the #1 job creator nationally in the financial industry as well as making the Great Place to Work Top 25. Connect with August on Google+