Episode 28

First Impressions

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Whenever I have the pleasure of speaking at a school commencement, there’s always been a recurring theme I try to get across to graduates. I tell them that if they remember nothing else of what I say here today, remember this: you only have one chance to make a first impression. I know many of you have stories of blown first impressions or of wonderful first impressions that led to great opportunities. I think it’s worthwhile to share because so many young people go out to interviews for schools and first jobs, or even that first date, and they don’t grasp the importance of that initial meeting, the strong handshake, the looking directly in the eyes, instead of watching their phone in their lap. It's a fun topic. Tell me your story.

Your stories

  1. How to Behave in Court!

    by Katie
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  1. First Impression Advice Holds True

    by Daniel As a twenty-three year old honors student finishing college, I feel relieved that the local police department considers hiring me. But when I attended high school I made poor choices. Now my future might suffer, and I may have to miss out on this job. Your advice on lousy first impressions, on responsibility, and on making the right choices really hold true. I wish I had heard your advice sooner. I kick myself in the butt every day. The closer I get to becoming a police officer, the more I regret my past choices that could potentially disqualify me from the great career. On a lighter note, I nailed many first impressions after hearing your advice, Judge, including securing an internship with a Congressman. Thank you for everything. Now I always ask myself subconsciously: "What Would Judge Judy Do?"
  2. How to Behave in Court!

    by Katie In the mid 1990's, I was involved in a law suit from a car accident. She hired this arrogant attorney who boasted how he had won 90% of his cases. After watching several Judge Just episodes, I learned how to act in court and how to answer her attorney's questions. Long story short, I won and I haven't heard from since. She was also dumb enough to sell her car a few days after the accident. She had no pictures or evidence of her damaged vihicle.
  3. never judge people before getting to know them!

    by juliet I always knew that first impressions were important. however I cannot say the same about me. People always judged me before getting to know me. This is the reason I got bullied. They just jumped to conclusions and starting to pick on me. I did that with my current boyfriend. Shouldn't have done that! luckily my boyfriend knew I was nervous. we have been together for 1 year now! :)
  4. I'm a beliver!

    by Anonymous I had always heard about the importance of first impressions but I never really took it seriously until I applied for my first job out of high school. (Those college tuitions don't pay for themselves!) As it happened, a friend was applying for the very same position and had previous experience in the field to boot. On interview day, I wore my best khakis and polo shirt. I made sure to firmly shake hands and remembered to smile. To my surprise, the next day, I had the job! On my first day at work, I asked another friend who worked at the company why I had been hired over a more experienced person. "Simple.", I was told. "You made a better impression on the interviewer!" My friend had shown up to the interview in a t-shirt and jeans, looking unkempt. She never shook hands and was unprepared for interview questions. They thought I would make a better employee, even though I had no experience! After that, I am now a firm believer in how much difference a good impression can make!
  5. Student teacher

    by Jeanne A man of about thirty came to interview in order to be a student teacher, part of the program necessary for certification. He was wearing shorts, a tee shirt and chewing gum. He was told the position was filled. I would think by that age he had learned a bit more about first impressions.
  6. Pay attention to your first impressions

    by Susan It seems unfair to judge someone on what you see the first time you meet them. It's not unfair at all. It's realistic. Someone who is rude, is rude. Someone who is inappropriately dressed is disrespectful (unless they have a darned good reason). Someone who is unable to look you in the eye may be from a culture in which direct eye contact is considered rude: are you willing to teach them that things are different in your culture? Someone whose firm handshake crushes your fingers may be trying to impress you and not realize that he's hurting you. Someone who reveals the colour of her underwear may or may not be the kind of person you want to know. What we believe of others helps to determine how we will treat them. So ... what impression do you want to make? It's a good question to ask yourself when you're getting ready to head out. You don't know who is about to get a first impression of you.
  7. If it Walks like a Duck and Quacks like a Duck, it

    by Kunal I had attended a get-together at a family friend's house where I met two different mothers for the first time. Both of them raved about how successful their two respective children were, both of them having gotten into good schools. Initially impressed by their Emmy-worthy stories about how their children had practically cured cancer, I was finally introduced to these individuals. The first kid flimsily shook my hand, crossed his arms with his shoulders slouched, and didn't say another word. The second child was the opposite and I don't mean that statement in a good way. She had an extremely pompous attitude of: "I don't know you, I don't want to know you, and I don't need to know you; but you should definitely know who I am." and acted like a diva. I have never lost interest in two things so quickly. A resume, a recommendation, etc. can only do so much for an individual. Never doubt that an initial strong and confident first impression can make or break someone's judgement about you.
  8. My stupid mistake

    by Kristin I have been working in advertising for over 20 years and know many people in the industry in my city. At one point a year or two ago, I was becoming dissatisfied with my current job and decided to look for a new one. I got an interview with a company that I was familiar with but did not know the interviewer on the Monday following the Thanksgiving holiday. I was unprepared to show my work and made the bad decision to dress in my usual business attire (advertising creatives dress very casually, jeans and a black shirt is my uniform). I think I was convinced that I could get by on my resume and charm alone. I forgot about making a good first impression. Needless to say I did not get the job and regret not making more of an effort to present myself in positive light. Lesson learned.
  9. The new boss

    by Steve Hello all, For reasons which were a mystery at the time, I made quite a poor first impression on my new State Manager last year. He had been transferred from another state and my first impression of him was very favourable. When I introduced myself, I asked if he was related to a person I knew about 25 years ago as they both had the same distinctive last name. He was, as it happened, by marriage. I thought no more of it except to reflect on what a small world it can be. Ever since then though, his opinion of me is not what I would call high. As it turns out, the person I knew way back then when I was a teenager had apparently become quite immoral, cheating on her husband (my managers uncle) and there was quite an acrimonious, bitter divorce. I had no idea any of this went on or that she was capable of this having only ever dealt with her through my job at the time. Anyway, so much for a good first impression, no coming back from that. Hope you found this interesting.
  10. If First Impression in intervew fails

    by Virg Judge Judy is absolutely correct, as usual, in her warning about first impressions. Or.... Dear Prospective Employer: Thank you for your letter of March 16. After careful consideration, I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your refusal to offer me an assistant professor position in your department. This year I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually large number of rejection letters. With such a varied and promising field of candidates, it is impossible for me to accept all refusals. Despite The school's outstanding qualifications and previous experience in rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does not meet my needs at this time. Therefore, I will assume the position of assistant professor in your department this August. I look forward to seeing you then. Best of luck in rejecting future applicants. Sincerely, Your new employee
  11. Don't Be Fooled

    by Hazen As a bank lender and a landlord who has been to court countless times to collect from deadbeats, I doubt there is any profession more fooled by first impressions than judges. One day while waiting for my civil case to be heard I wandered into a criminal court to listen to a short car theft case. The defendant sat somber, dressed in a suit and tie, clean shaven, short hair, with his friends/family similarly attired in the front row. His lawyer explaining there was no theft, merely poor judgment and confusion over whether his client, who suffered from a hearing disability, was allowed to use the car. The judge found him not guilty and I left the room. Seconds later the defendant walked out the courtroom with his friends. As the door closed behind them, they leapt in the air, tearing lose their ties, while shouting, "We did it, we did it" and ran down the hallway. Don't be fooled by first impressions.
  12. Act Natural

    by Kathryn Dear Judge Judy: I have viewed your video on first impressions, and I thought to give a recount of an internship interview with a clerk of court. My law professor insisted that I interview to follow clerk of court deputies as my internship, and I had envisioned an internship at a law firm, so I conceded and went to the interview with a casual attitude. Because I was not interested in getting the internship, my body language gave off a confident, relaxed vibe, according to the clerk, which she liked and awarded me the position. I must add that only my attitude was casual as my appearance was, as I like to put it, regulation interview correct attire and behavior. Even though I did not want the internship, I did my best to learn whatever the women presented to me. Experience always has a value. I obtained a second internship in a private law firm following my time with the court. I tried to be as “casual” in mindset with the law firms that I interviewed for as I had been with the clerk
  13. First Impressions

    by Gale My experience is that too many today are relying too heavily on electronic devices. They've forgotten how to inter-act one on one. It's difficult to believe they're listening to whatever is being said when their eyes and fingers are busy with their electronic device. As a society, we're losing a very important part of communication. If I was interviewing them for a job, I'd eliminate them immediately if they were focusing on a device rather than the interview itself. I'd want to see their facial expressions and their eyes, and hear their voice rather than the top of their heads as they fumble with their equipment. It's time to get back to basics!
  14. I told my 14 yr old daughter that same line

    by Adar My daughter wants to go to school with tight pants, low-cut shirts that make her looks trampish. She tries to walk to the store with that. I explain that when the teachers look at her on the first day of school wearing tight clothes, their first impression is going to be she is a fast little girl. And when men see you walking with tight clothes on they are going to think you sending them a message that you want attention and that's unwanted attention. This year, I made sure all of her clothes did not look like they were painted on. She is still complaining, but I told her when she move out of my house she can wear all the tight clothes she want.
  15. Day of the Deviates

    by Kat While working toward my BS I had a "Sociology of Deviate Behavior" class. Our final assignment was to do something in public that the norm would consider deviate and write about reactions. My group decided to visit a high-end retail mall first dressed very conservatively. We then returned dressed in what would have been considered "rebellious" clothing of the day (this was the late 80s). We did NOT change our behavior at all. We were extremely polite and quiet on both visits. I don't have enough space here to describe how differently we were received on our second visit, by shop employees and security alike. Finally a security guard actually asked us to leave! As we went to walk out he stopped us - and made us go out the BACK! The funniest part? We were all Law Enforcement seniors, each having a 3.9 or better GPA. As a business owner I have been appalled at how "job seekers" presented themselves. Really? You thought I'd find that shirt with "Got Pot?" on it amusing? Next!
  16. Have Knowledge of the Job

    by Martin In the course of my Law Enforcement applications amongst many agencies in the Los Angeles and surrounding areas, I had my first "interview" with the city of "Vernon". I was overconfident because I knew the Police Chief. I also was unaware of what the job consisted of. Yes, we all know its to "protect and to serve". However, when asked if I can be a "leader"? I "confidently" said "no". At the time I didn't have the knowledge of what all that profession detailed. It went well beyond "protecting and to serving". I was told by the "Chief" through his "Son", whom was my friend, "he don't want followers". My first impression was my last with Vernon. I did analyze my weaknesses, listened to my "friend" and successfully went on to work for the City of South Gate, Ca. Prepare for your interviews as if it was your only one you will ever have and that your life depends upon it. Study yourself in the mirror. Speak clearly and confidently. Practice. You will be successful.
  17. Times past

    by Sylvia I was a high school grad in 1953. When we went for job interviews ,we already knew how to present ourselves. Nice suit, hat, gloves, nylons, pumps, and matching purse. We were attentive to our interviewer, and polite. We even dressed very well when we went shopping in downtown San Francisco. We knew how to make out an application the proper way, correct spelling, grammar and handwriting. That was taken for granted. We had pride. That was almost 60 years ago. A lot has happened since then, and not in a positive way.
  18. I'll give you a call if anything comes up!

    by Espinaca Oh come on Judge Judy! What's wrong with showing up in sneakers and having all your tats on display? Three day growth of beard is cool, straggly, unkempt hair is cool (if arranged) and women with eyebrow rings, piercings and my favorite is a tie tack in the tongue are nice. We are dinosaurs, Judge Judy. These are the new people who are going to run things I am told. If you can talk and text at the same time, you are ahead of the game. Why pay attention to the interviewer? It's only going in one pierced ear and out the other. As a landlady, I have people come to look at my rentals that fit the above description. I show them the door in a polite way, and they leave not knowing they have been turned away. Every generation complains about the next one being sloppy, thoughtless, etc. No need to worry, Judge, living well is the best revenge. Go for it, girl!
  19. Don't be too quick to judge.

    by Bridget My son is on autism spectrum: High functioning Aspergers Syndrome. He doesn't look people in the eye. One of the hallmarks of being autistic....he is very intelligent and has the vocabulary of a scholarly professor. If you met him, I wonder what your first impression would be of him. My son is 23, and if he met you he'd give you a gripping handshake. But we must not be too quick to judge when a person doesn't always look in you in they eye. Thank you for this opportunity. I wish you could know my son! :)

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