Haley Scholar Reading Groups
By Cindy Lyles
College senior Nolan Myers is the subject of Malcolm Gladwell’s “The New-Boy Network: What Do Job Interviews Really Tell Us?” The essay explores just why Myers, a computer science major at Harvard University, is so likable in his job interviews, leaving most companies he meets with eager to hire him. Myers’s “je ne sais quoi” even captures Gladwell’s attention in their interview for the article leaving the author saying, “I just like him…I’d hire him in a heartbeat” (377).
Gladwell’s reaction, along with those of Myers’s interviewers, causes him to later question, “What exactly can you know about a stranger after sitting down and talking with him for an hour” (380)? The writer discovers a term psychologists call "Fundamental Attribution Error," which is a tendency to judge a person’s character traits as stable based on one encounter while disregarding the influence of context (386). Thus, the interview can be quite a problematic encounter or a “romantic process” that leaves the interviewer feeling like he or she knows the interviewee’s entire personality based on positive traits displayed during the meeting (391).
College students have various encounters with professors, staff, and fellow students that shape their college experiences. What is one thing you were led to consider or rethink about your own interactions and exchanges with people on campus based on what you covered in the Gladwell essay?
One thing to always consider is that your first impression is everything. Like it or not, people judge each other based on perceptions during first encounters. I've learned to always be mindful of my expressions/words/actions in dealing with others because you never know how they may react or perceive you. And that first encounter alone can make or break a future relationship.
It amazes and frightens me how we, as human beings, basically create a person's profile within our minds with a simple interaction or even glimpse. It is something so innate. Unfortunately, our first judgments of a person may be wrong or we may overlook an amazing person because of a bad first impression.
I think it's good to get to know a person beyond the surface and not make snap judgments. But also be aware of how you present yourself to others. In an idealistic world, we would be judged on the entirety of our character and not a first impression, but sadly, we do not live in an idealistic world and sometimes first impressions are all you get.
Being aware that you are being painted in whichever light you present yourself is key- also realizing your own bias through this process. You cannot judge someone by your only interaction with them. We all fill so many different roles- student, leader, follower- that you need repeated, continuous interaction with someone to get a fuller picture of them. Being aware that you do this can be helpful when you need to make decisions- you can take measures to get to know the person in other contexts and situations.
First impressions can leave a deep mark but I don't think it's anything to worry about if you're comfortable with the situation. Chances are, if you really need a job you will show up prepared, ready, and with your game face on. You will be able to show an expressive true side of yourself. Chances are, if you are approaching a college professor or whatever kind of higher power you will automatically either give them your utmost respect or reveal yourself in whatever way comes out. I think at this age we can be confident in with whom we meet/network with, even on the first time basis.
I do also understand how first impressions can be detrimental in some situations, but chances are, it was meant to go that way. And if the opportunity is given to revisit with that person things may go better or the same…or worse, but first impressions are as real as it's going to get/be.
First impressions are hard to shake and after that first impression it's hard not to form an immediate judgement. I think when we do judge, it's in an instinctual way where we determine if a person is friend/foe or if we like/dislike them. Withholding judgement until you spend more time with a person is the best way to form an opinion about someone's character.
It's cliche but true in that you can't judge a book by it's cover. For all we know, that first impression is whatever that person wants you to believe and could be far from what their true personality is.
Over the past several years, I have learned how powerful a first impression is. First impressions can be made in a matter of seconds and once their made, they are very hard to change. I believe first impressions can be a determining factor for whether one receives a job or not.
In an ideal society, people would not judge someone characters based on a brief moment. But in reality it happens everyday and is important that people are aware of that. I think the take home message is that we should be very careful on what we say or do. You never no who is watching you. That first impression could be a determining factor for ones future.
First impressions are everything. This statement has been uttered a plethora of times throughout history, and appears to ring true. People seem to sum up your whole character, your entire identity, through one brief encounter. Yes, first impressions may be everything, but they do not tell you everything. I have encountered many professors my past three years at SIUE, and it seems like the first day of class when I meet them, I evaluate them in my mind, and determine whether I’m going to like the course or not. Is this right? By no means. As humans though, we tend to judge based on our first impression of someone, and what they appear to be, not who they truly are. When we see a person after our first encounter with them, we recall that first impression and let it float around in our thoughts. We have already summed them up and given them their identity. I feel that if we just start shaping our view of someone when we have a small encounter, but then still leave our perception moldable, like wet, pliable clay for other encounters to shape, we will better off.
i've learned that I myself have used fundamental attribution errors when meeting new people on campus. Its just too easy to decide immediately if you want to keep talking to that person or not. I used to loose valuable assets in people on campus because I was just not interested in communicating with them. When it comes to social interaction we must always consider the situation when you encounter another person. You would have different expectations of behavior going into a job interview than you would meeting for a date. It comes down to how aware you are with your environment and that accounts for both parties in a social interaction. Its really not up to a person to force their way to try to understand you its up to you to give them the information to understand you and I think a lot of people don't communicate and interact with that notion.
Even if a first impression isn't the best thing to judge a person's character on, it's something everyone one does. It is part of our instincts to do so which is why it's so important. With that in mind, the way we portray ourselves differs depending on who we are making the impression on. People will act differently meeting with a possible employer for the first time, versus a professor, versus another student. Sometimes it goes well and sometimes it doesn't. Maybe there will be another chance to interact with that person and change their perception. That's great, but the first impression may be the key to how the relationship will develop.
We all have heard time and again that first impressions are everything. You have to be aware of how you are portraying yourself. It's quite unfortunate that this is true because there are so many people that get very shy and nervous with first encounters. It's important to treat every encounter like an interview and put your best foot forward from the very beginning. As I mentioned earlier, some people have a hard time with first encounters. It is important to remember this and try not to judge solely based on a first impression.
I definitely agree with Janssen. Some people tend to judge you based off first impressions and that could be a good or a bad thing depending on that person. With that being said, I always try to present myself in a respectable manner whether I'm on or off campus. You have to remember that you are representing you and you want people to have nothing but great things to say about you. I also feel as though, while we are in college, that we have to remember that we are pretty much a product and we have to be aware of whats going on at all times, know how to market ourselves, and leave positive lasting impressions on people; especially when they are potential employers or co-workers. I try monitor or stay mindful of the crowd that I socialize with because we all know that "birds of feather flock together" and if there is someone out there that has a bad reputation, I personally do not want to be associated with them and negatively judged based off their actions.
In relation to what Katrina said, I also try to observe and get to know people a little better before passing judgement upon them. I feel as though it is only fair and if you are paying attention, you may find out why some people are the way they are. And although their actions may not always be right, that will in return will help you to be a more well rounded and an understanding being.
A lot of assumptions are made when you first meet someone. Their appearance and how they hold themselves plays a big part in how we judge them as people. It is important to make a good first impression to get ahead in life. Whether we like it or not, we are constantly being judged by someone and how someone judges you in an interview can be crucial. Overall, appearance and first impressions are extremely important and have a great affect on getting job, being accepted, etc.
Although the first impression is something that we take to judge someone, we often make wrong judgments about that person. If they were having a bad mood, then obviously, that would not be something that a true judgement should be based off of. I agree with the other comments, and I think that to get to know the person in other environments and situations helps us to understand each other better.
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