Recently we participated in a Job Fair. Standing in a booth for 7 hours isn’t my ideal day but it’s not only a good way to meet potential employees and get your business out there but it’s also a fun place to just people watch. You do ALOT of people watching in 7 hours even if you are not doing it on purpose. This particular event attracts people of all sorts. Students are bused in from local high schools; presumably their first job hunting experience. New immigrants studying English as a second language are there to find employment that will give them not only a pay cheque but also the opportunity to practice their English. University students searching for a summer employment and Mature workers searching for a job that they can picture themselves in for the long run.
Now, with all these different types of potential employees how would we possibly decide who would be a good fit for our business you ask? It’s like they say ” You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. With me ( an avid people watcher) your first impression starts even before we meet. I may have noticed that you dropped off a resume at every booth nearby – this to me says that you don’t really want to work with US but that you just want a job. Any job. Any where. Doing anything. I may have noticed that your teacher has been constantly reminding you to quiet down and stop horsing around. Do I want to hire someone who will behave like this in the workplace?
It was brought to my attention that I was not the only people watcher there that day when a woman approached our booth with a question for us. What do you look for in a first impression and how important is it? She was not a job searcher or a journalist just a grandmother collecting information for her grandson. She had been people watching and was curious how much we read into first impressions.
Personally first impressions mean the world of difference. I like to see people dressed for the occasion - not that I expect high school students to be dressed in a suit and tie but not in sweat pants, shirts with offensive language , and definitely not torn or dirty clothing. Clean and tidy would be nice because that’s how I would want you to appear at work. In a world that so many people are scent sensitive, it still amazes me that some people still pile on the perfume, cologne or smell of the lunch they just ate. There is nothing worse than trying to have a conversation with someone and the only thing you keep thinking about is how do I get this person to leave before I start coughing or sneezing uncontrollably? Or should I offer them a breathe mint? First impressions are memorable, I may not remember your name but if you are positive, confident and have that I can attitude – your face will be engrained in my memory. You don’t have to have alot of experience because we are willing to train. Don’t get me wrong experience makes our job easier but we look for people who are eager to learn and want to do be good at their job.
My advice to job seekers is to make that first impression so memorable that we can’t forget you but for all the right reasons.