We all love to think that people take the time to get to know us and appreciate us for our personalities or for our conversational abilities. That may be true in our social lives, but in a job interview or a networking situation so much of the judgments people make about us happen in the first few minutes.
First impressions are powerful. They create a filter that people use to judge all of our actions. So when you’ve made a bad first impression, especially in the workplace or at a job interview, it can quickly become a serious problem.
Improve Your Impression:
Luckily, it is possible to change a bad first impression, and it’s possible to turn things around and have people perceive you in a much better light. But it takes a conscious effort, and smart decisions about how you’re going to approach addressing the problems.
Strategy 1: Address the Issue and Actively Move On
If it’s something you can address without creating further awkwardness, consider addressing it directly. Say something like: “I’m sorry, I know that when we started I was XYZ. I just want to say that I apologize for making a bad first impression. I was feeling a bit nervous in the beginning and I know I didn’t start on my best foot. Let’s move forward.”
Follow this up with the type of person they wanted to see, and you can reset where you were.
Strategy 2: Adjust Your Style and Focus on Their Needs
When you have made a bad first impression of your own, you can sometimes save it by shifting into the sort of person the hiring manager is looking for. You can do that by listening to them, identifying their needs and changing your demeanor into someone who supports their needs. If you are convincing you can build trust with them and move past the uncomfortable start.
Strategy 3: Be Yourself
If you created a bad first impression because you were trying to be someone you’re not, stop trying. Sometimes bad impressions are caused by your personality not shining through. If you’re true to your genuine self, chances are you will feel much more comfortable.
Fix Your Image and Improve Your Work Potential
First impressions do matter in the work world. So if you think you made a bad first impression, prove your value in the work that you do, fix the problem, and create a connection. First impressions can be fixed, as long as you’re ready to do the work.