The Power of First Impressions: What I See from the Frontline
Everyone knows that first impressions matter, but did you know that they start from the moment you set foot in the door? OCG’s Gillian Struthers explains how to put your best foot forward, here.
Moving from Scotland eight years ago, having never seen the inside of a recruitment agency, it’s fair to say I had no idea what to expect from my first meeting with a Recruitment Consultant. I was probably a bit nervous, too! Now, after working as a Receptionist for OCG for close to seven years, I’ve seen people from all walks of life come through the doors. What’s become apparent in that time is just how important preparation is and why first impressions start the moment you walk through the door.
The Importance of Preparation
One of the most common things I see when people are meeting a Recruitment Consultant is candidates not expecting it to be like an interview. Some appear quite nervous, and others are totally unprepared for what is to come. A lot of the time, it comes down to one of two mistakes: being casually dressed or failing to be on time.
I cannot stress the importance of preparation, and my best advice is to treat meetings like this as you would when preparing for an interview with an employer. This is going to sound obvious but start by knowing where you are supposed to go. I often see people running 2-3 minutes late because they weren’t 100% sure where the interview was taking place or hadn’t allowed for the extra time it takes to find the office. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve also seen people walk in 45 minutes prior to their appointment. If you find yourself arriving far too early, take some time to relax by having a drink in a nearby café or going for a walk.
It’s also important to go into your meeting with an open mind, as it will only help you get the most out of it. Recruiters talk to hundreds of employers, which gives them a much broader knowledge of the employment market than I’ve personally experienced in my working career. By talking openly about what you’ve enjoyed (and what you haven’t) in previous roles, it gives a greater picture of what’s most important in a new role, even if it’s one you haven’t considered before.
Don’t forget to dress professionally too. After all, presentation definitely matters when it comes to first impressions.
Be Aware of Everyone in the Recruitment Process
It’s easy to forget that when you’re in an interview, every interaction is being assessed from the moment you walk in the door. So, even though your Recruitment Consultant will be the main point of contact, don’t forget the people you meet along the way, especially at reception.
While the importance of first impressions is widely understood, a lot of people aren’t aware that Recruitment Consultants often come and ask us at Reception for our opinion on candidates. They’ll ask how we were greeted and what our first impressions were, as it’s often a question that our clients will ask of their frontline teams too! While it sounds intimidating, what it translates to is simply being yourself with every person you meet. Sometimes how someone acts can come down to nerves but remember to be positive with everyone you encounter. You never know who will be involved in the recruitment process and who knows, the people you meet may well end up being your colleagues!
Remember to treat meetings with Recruiters like interviews and always be aware of the people that are involved in the recruitment process. From the Receptionist, to everyone you meet along the way to the meeting room, you never know who might be involved. Above all, be yourself and act naturally even if you’re outside of your comfort zone. If you’re looking for more advice, or for help with your job search, get in touch with us.