After Making Bad Job-Related First Impression

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<p><strong>Boston &mdash; May 22</strong><br />Everyone knows how important it is to make a good first impression &mdash; especially when interviewing for a job or meeting a business prospect.&nbsp; </p><p>It is possible, however, to recover from a bad initial impression, according to ClearRock, an outplacement and executive coaching firm in Boston.<br /><br />&ldquo;Not all interviewing mistakes or other first-meeting errors are fatal,&rdquo; said Annie Stevens, ClearRock managing partner. &ldquo;With a combination of the right follow-up plan and quick action, some bad first impressions can be turned around effectively.&rdquo;<br /><br />But not all bad first impressions are recoverable.&nbsp; </p><p>&ldquo;It will depend on the other person&#39;s assessment of the seriousness of the error as much as the effectiveness of your follow-up plan,&rdquo; said Greg Gostanian, ClearRock managing partner. &ldquo;The biggest mistakes people make afterward are not trying to make corrections and not doing so effectively.&rdquo;<br /><br />Among the more common interviewing and other job-related bad first impressions are:<br /><br />Drawing a blank or being slow to answer at a critical time, particularly in response to questions about your qualifications for the job or business, your distinguishing qualities or other personal capabilities.</p><ul><li>Lacking chemistry or rapport with the other person.</li><li>Being overly nervous or too low-key.</li><li>Being late or not as prepared as you should have been.</li><li>Forgetting someone&#39;s name, getting it wrong or confusing the person with someone else.</li></ul><p> After the interview or meeting is over, ClearRock recommends taking the following steps:</p><ul><li><strong>Conduct a thorough damage assessment.</strong> &ldquo;Determine how seriously you may have hurt your prospects,&rdquo; Stevens said. &ldquo;Sometimes, what seemed like a fatal error to you may have hardly been noticed. At the same time, be honest with yourself and don&#39;t try to ignore it or feel it doesn&#39;t warrant further investigation or follow up.&rdquo;</li><li><strong>Act quickly. </strong>&ldquo;The longer you wait to take corrective measures, the more likely the negative impression is to set in,&rdquo; Gostanian said.</li><li><strong>Use your follow-up communication to reiterate your qualifications, accomplishments, &ldquo;fit&rdquo; for the job or piece of business and unique characteristics.</strong> &ldquo;Keep this succinct &mdash; no more than a few sentences on how your skills, experience and achievements will help a potential employer or new client attain their stated objectives,&rdquo; Stevens said.</li><li><strong>Apologize if it will be the only corrective action that will suffice. </strong>&ldquo;If you made a glaring error that reflected badly on the other person, misspoke or inadvertently embarrassed him or her, then a sincere apology may be the only thing to do,&rdquo; Gostanian said.&nbsp; &ldquo;Don&#39;t overapologize but realize that if an apology is needed, you may only be doing the decent thing and not necessarily saving yourself.&rdquo;</li><li><strong>Use humor cautiously and sparingly.</strong> &ldquo;Don&#39;t mistakenly think all that is required is some self-deprecating humor or wit. Humor has its place but don&#39;t add to the problem by trying to make light of a situation that may demand a more complete follow up,&rdquo; Stevens said.</li><li><strong>Better-prepare yourself for the next interview or meeting if you successfully recover from the bad first impression. </strong>&ldquo;It usually takes more than one interview or one business meeting to land a new job or new client,&rdquo; Gostanian said. &ldquo;If you make it to the next stage, be sure not to repeat whatever you did the first time. If you do not get another interview or meeting, use this as a learning experience and keep in contact with the person from time to time for possible future opportunities.&rdquo;</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p>

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