Impression Management – What not to do!

First Impressions – What not to do!

Here are several things you need to avoid when meeting others for the first time. While they may seem very small, often it is the little things that people will remember about you.


Try avoid dominating the conversation and interrupting repeatedly. Allow the other person to talk and ensure you always show interest when you are responding.  It is always best to abstain from complaining, especially when you are talking about previous employment, as you do not want to project any idea that you may be disloyal or immature. This also applies to risky humor. Often what one person finds to be funny, another may see as inappropriate. To save you both from a disagreeable encounter, skip the questionable joking.

Behavior & Body Language

Be aware of your behavior and body language. Inattentive actions such as inconsistent eye contact, chewing, checking your watch and making distracting noises are all rude signs that you are not interested. If you are not engaging with the person you are meeting, you’re showing that person that you don’t value them or their time. Invading personal space is also something to be conscious of. Ensure you are not standing too close to an interviewer as it may make them feel uncomfortable.


Personal appearance is another important factor in first impression. If you look messy and unpolished it will give off the wrong first impression. Most office jobs expect you to look professional and sharp as you will be representing their company. Avoid dirty and wrinkled clothes, vibrant clothes with large logos and always try to have tidy hair and clean shoes. We have covered this topic in greater detail in our previous article “Dress to Impress” if you would like to read!

Put the phone away!

Taking a cell phone call should also be avoided until after the meeting in order to give the other person your full attention. This also goes for text messages and checking the time – these are all things that can wait until after the meeting. Always make sure your cell phone is on silent as loud noises and vibrations can be distracting for people.

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