First Impressions With OFE's ESAs

First impressions are important, especially in your job search. Whether you’re networking or coming in for an interview, what you say and how you act towards the people around you are things to be mindful of.  

Our Employment Services Advisors (ESAs) are ready to greet you with a smile when you walk into our offices. Today, they’re sharing their experiences and insights around bringing your best self to any situation.

What’s the first thing you notice about someone when they walk in? How does that affect your view of him/her? 

Bea: Appearance. Usually it doesn't affect my view of him/her unless it’s really distracting. As the saying goes, "don't judge a book by its cover".

Miracle: The first thing I notice about a person is their facial expression, then their voice or tone of language.  I believe first impressions are very important. Studies show they’re long lasting. 

Alexia: I definitely notice their demeanor right off the bat! Whether or not they appear approachable and if they seem open to conversation.

Some people underestimate how much they communicate when they’re not talking. Do you think a person’s attitude or behaviour affects the overall interaction?

Bea: ​​I think a person who has a good attitude to whomever they’re speaking with will get a much better experience from the interaction than if they were not friendly. The person on the other side of the encounter may be more willing to go the extra mile if the person they’re talking to has a good attitude or behaviour.

Miracle: A person’s attitude or behaviour can affect the tone of the interaction. If what’s perceived is negative, there may be tension, which can lead to miscommunication.

What are your thoughts about people being on their phone while talking to you?

Miracle: I discovered it can be distracting when people are on their phone. As an ESA, we are dedicated to providing an excellent customer service experience, however, the effort the person puts in to respond or engage, either positively or negatively, is also an important part of the interaction. 

Alexia: For me this one really depends on the situation. If you’re waiting for an interview, I’d definitely say keep your phone away because not having it makes you appear more present and engaged. If you're in a public place interacting with more than one person, I don’t think it’s a huge deal as long as you’re not glued to it. 

Aira: If you’re scrolling through your phone for appointment information, that’s helpful, but I have met people who are on their phone the whole time. In general, I think it’s better to give people your full attention when you’re speaking with them.

It’s definitely dependent on the kind of interaction you’re having, but the general rule of thumb should be: if you’re speaking with someone one-on-one and you don’t need your phone, put it away. It also makes you seem more confident and memorable when you make eye contact, especially if you’re checking in for an interview. Alright, so to sum it up, what are key things a person should remember to make a good first impression?

Bea: Dress to impress, be friendly to everyone you meet (including the receptionist) and smile :) 

Miracle: Dress according to the occasion; be confident by displaying positive non-verbal expressions (maintain eye contact and show an inviting and positive body posture); have an open mind (enjoy the learning process in the interaction); and remember to smile…☺ 

Alexia: Look approachable, keep conversation light and positive, always begin and end each interaction with a friendly greeting! 

Aira: Dress for success, have a positive attitude and friendly smile, and be friendly to staff. If you’re coming for an interview, yes your skills are important, but a lot of times they’re looking more for fit with the company, so those small interactions are super important.


Your first impression matters, but specifically, your body language matters. Put simply, potential employers want to know whether you walk the talk. An interview may begin as soon as you walk up to the reception desk, so make sure you’re presentable and respectful. And smile!