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Seven Seconds to Impress

Author: Formative Search

Published date: 2019/12

Time 2919087 1920

Everybody knows how important first impressions are. But not everybody knows that the "first impression" is actually only a seven second window upon first meeting someone. This means in an interview situation you need to act quickly in order to make a brilliant first impression on your interviewers.

The moment a person sees you, their brain is making working out who you are: This is our natural instinct Are you someone to approach? Are you likeable, trustworthy, passionate and competent? Studies have found that nonverbal signs have over four times the impact on the impression you make than anything you say. Here are seven nonverbal ways to make a positive first impression:


Look well-dressed, dapper and dashing

Appearance is everything and just as important as body language and your answers in an interview, so you need your appearance to be appropriate for the occasion. Even if the company accepts casual dress, it is good practice to dress smartly for the interview; you’d much rather be overdressed than seen as scruffy. And not many people say it but shoes tell a lot about your personality. Ensure they are comfortable, well-polished and clean. Standing tall, pulling your shoulders back, and holding your head straight are all signals of confidence and competence. 


Adjust your attitude.

 We have all heard the saying. “It’s not just our aptitude but our attitude that determines our success” People pick up your attitude instantly. If your attitude sucks then chances are you’re not going to get the position. No matter how intelligent you are, office culture is important in every business and you need to be able to fit into that culture. If the interviewer thinks you could be negative disruption to the team then most likely they won’t take the risk. 

So if you are a high biller or a success story just remember be humble. Think.-“attitude is all about gratitude.”  Look for 5 things to be grateful for every single day and seek to live with an attitude of gratitude.

Before going into an interview do the following to adjust and achieve that positive attitude:

  • Researching the company and the job is key

  • Prepare – Prepare - Prepare

  • Bad news can adjust our attitude. Refrain from watching the news on the day of the interview.

  • Avoid alcohol 3-4 nights before the interview – It can also change our mood

  • Get some proper rest

  • Watch or listen to any motivational video before going to the interview. Believe in you!

  • Exercise and good food releases good endorphins – Refrain from over-eating on the day of the interview. Eat small meals to avoid been sluggish.


Shake hands.

This is the quickest way to establish rapport. A good handshake is a fine art, and you must find a balance between a forceful grip and a fish limp stroke. Wear less rings as possible. Ensure you shake hands with everyone in the room. You don’t want to get in one of their bad books because you only acknowledged the person in the middle, or the "main" interviewer. Greet them all separately and you will have successfully presented yourself well, creating their good impression of you.



A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear. A smile is an invitation, a sign of welcome. It says, “I’m pleasant and approachable.” Smiling also shows people that you are a positive person and easy to get along with. And is so important when it comes to making a good impression. You need to make sure your expression is saying more about you than words could in a split second. Make sure you don’t have a false, cheesy smirk slapped across your face- they will know it is fake. Go for "I’m a lovely, fun person who would love to chat to you about my future" and come across as warm and outgoing. They need to spend all seven seconds thinking you are confident and professional- which is achieved with a smile- not a frown.


Make eye contact.

The old saying that “eyes are a reflection of your inner self” holds true in most cases. Looking at someone’s eyes transmits energy and indicates interest and openness. (To improve your eye contact, make a practice of noticing the eye color of everyone you meet.) Our eyes also reflect our sincerity, integrity and comfort when communicating with another person People perceive you as shifty, nervous or rude when you don’t make eye contact. Therefore, to  make a good first impression make sure you lock eyes with the interviewer as soon as you enter the room and maintain it whilst you shake hands and introduce yourself. Don’t stare or be creepy about it, but hold the interviewer’s gaze for at least three seconds at a time throughout the rest of the interview too.

Surprise! Eye contact is a sign that you happen to be a good listener! Now what has the eye got to do with listening? When you keep eye contact with the person you are talking to it indicates that you are focused and paying attention. It means that you are actually listening to what the person has to say. That is where the saying “Don’t just listen with your ears” comes from. So “listen” more than talk, everyone loves a good listener especially the opposite gender!



Do you feel uncomfortable when someone stands too close to you?  Edward T. Hall first coined the term Proxemics in 1963 to describe the social distance between people and its correlation with physical distance between people.

Leaning forward shows you’re engaged and interested. But be respectful of the other person’s space. That means, in most business situations, staying a minimum of two feet away.