How to Make a Great First Impression! Lessons Learned from the KEEP Project (Keeping Employees through Employer Practices)


As the saying goes “You only get one chance to make a good first impression”, there is a lot of truth in that statement.

On my journey to numerous different companies being profiled “Keeping Employees through Employer Practices” (KEEP) video series that statement proved to be very true.

Think about it, you only visit a place of business for the first time….well once.

This is a fantastic opportunity to impress, or disappoint and be forgotten.

What was apparent to myself and our film crew from each visit to leading companies was that they put a conscious effort into making sure that first impression when entering their place of business was positive.

My top three things that I noticed to make a kick butt first impression were:

1) Have a welcoming presence at the front desk.

Yes that means having someone that enjoys being around people at reception.  It sounds obvious, but how many times have you been welcomed a “less than enthusiastic” person?  The words “welcome to ________” how can I help you etc…..are a powerful way to invite people into your business.

2) Keep it clean and organized

How do you feel when you walk into an office and the front desk is a mess, the reception area has magazines from the 90’s, and there isn’t a comfortable place to sit?

Many of the offices we visited kept it simple, clean, had comfortable seating copies of today’s newspapers and relevant timely magazines.

It shows that you care about your guests.

3) Where is the Visitor’s Parking?

Ok, so this one doesn’t apply to every organization but is one I notice 100% of the time.  Where you locate your visitor’s parking tells a lot about how your treat your visitors.

Imagine you drive into a parking lot, remember for the first time.  You are not familiar with the area and are looking around for a place to park.

Then you see a prime spot, right beside the door.  Yes, it’s your lucky day.

You eagerly pull in and the sign says:

4) “Reserved for the CEO”

How does this make you feel about your first impression?

On the other hand, providing your visitor with the prime spots, speaks volumes for how you treat your visitors.

So where is your visitor parking?

 Translating these Tips for the Job Seeker

1) Have Your Own Welcoming Presence

To ensure that your first impression is a positive one:

  • Smile and make eye contact with everyone you meet
  •  Dress to impress – you can’t “overdress” for an interview

2) Keep it Clean and Organized

  • Make sure your clothes and appearance are neat and professional
  • Have copies of your resumes (customized of course) and references with you

3) Your ‘Parking Lot”

  • Make sure you have a strong on-line presence; it’s very easy now to do a background search on everyone.
  • Ensure that your LinkedIn profile is clean, and up to date.

Shawn Shepheard is a business coach and internationally known inspirational speaker and author.  He was worked with Fortune 500 companies in both Canada and the United States and was the Director of the Keep Videos Series.

For more lessons learned from the KEEP project please visit https://vimeo.com/keep