Making Your Best First Impression

by | Mar 1, 2024

According to social psychologist Amy Cuddy, there are two basic questions in a person’s mind when they meet you for the first time.

Can I trust you? and Can I respect you?

Psychologists refer to these dimensions as warmth and competence respectively, and ideally you want to be perceived as having both.

Most people, especially in a professional context, believe that competence is the more important factor. After all, they want to prove that they are smart and talented enough to handle your business.

But researchers have found the opposite to be true–warmth is the most important factor in how people initially connect with you.

How do you spend the first few minutes of your interviews?

If you’re focused on competence, you’re probably starting off on the wrong foot, according to Dr. Cuddy.

If someone you’re trying to influence doesn’t trust you, you’re not going to get very far; in fact, you might even elicit suspicion because you come across as manipulative.

A warm, trustworthy person who is also strong elicits admiration, but only after you’ve established trust does your strength become a gift rather than a threat.

Helping someone change careers or find a better team is a gift, but that gift will only be received if a recruiting prospect trusts and respects you as a hiring manager.


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