Go Ahead, Judge a Book by its Cover.

When a company I worked for was hiring and started interviewing potential applicants, I realized that sometimes it is okay to judge a book by its cover. Because of the economy, a lot of people are out there looking for work. We wanted someone who cares about our company and the people we serve, not just someone who cared about getting a job.

In order to weed out the people who care from the people who don’t, making a great first impression is critical. Throughout the entire hiring process I compiled a list of a few things that irk me the most when it comes to new applicants:

1. Dressing too casually. I’ll be the first to admit that coming in a suit just to fill out an application is a little extreme, but it surprised me how many people come in shorts and sandals and sweatshirts to apply for a job. At least take the time to brush your hair and iron your shirt before coming in to apply. Taking a few extra steps to get ready before you come in is a little extra “umph” to prove you actually care about getting THIS job, not just getting a job.

2. Disregarding me because I am young. I’m 23, but most people would guess that I’m 18 (that’s actually a stretch, it is a shock to most people when they realize I’m old enough to drive.) There have been a few instances where an applicant has come in and asked to talk to “someone else”, ie. “someone older and more influential within the company”. When you first walk through the door, I recommend not putting yourself above anyone already involved in the company. Besides the fact that it is rude and says a multitude of things about your personality, I could write another blog on all the reasons why this peeves me so much (actually, I think I will… adding it to the ‘to-blog’ list right now), but for the sake of space, I’ll just leave it at that.

3. Not smiling enough. I’m a huge fan of smiles, I do it all the time. Like I mentioned above, I’m 23 and I already have wrinkles around my eyes from smiling so much. Smiling is a natural thing. Our clients love people who smile, they smile all the time, our manager smiles, all of the other employees smile. We all love our jobs so much that we are smiling almost all of the time. Nothing catches my eye more than someone who smiles right when they walk through the door.

So, in my opinion, what does it take for a great first impression? Brushed hair, an open mind and a big, huge smile.

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