The ‘Halo Effect’, And How to Create It

Estimated reading time: 7 mins

Many people think that they can assess people’s characteristics accurately. However, if they are honest, they know that they are wrong more than 50% of the time. So why are most people so bad with doing correct assessment of people’s personality? You can put the blame on ‘Halo Effect’. This is when we have an impression of someone, skewed by a single positive trait, which leads us to make a generalized assumption about him or her as a whole. The ratings that we give to one quality of a person generally affects our perception of the other characteristics that s/he possesses. In this blog post, we will be discussing the importance of “Halo Effect’ and how you can use it to make a good first impression.

The Importance of Halo Effect

It is vital to know how to make a good first impression. The impression you make can be the difference between you being the approachable, likeable person or someone who is going to be shunned. While some people might argue that you should take out time to understand a person better before having an opinion, the real life does not work like that. First impressions are just too important and should not be taken lightly.

With so many people unable to find good jobs, it is becoming imperative to leave a great first impression at the interviews and/or telephonic conversations with the hiring managers. Just put yourself in the hiring manager’s position – if you are to select a candidate out of two, you will most definitely select the one that left the best first impression. The Halo Effect causes people to make assumptions and you need to be able to use this to your advantage. You need to use this opportunity for others to truly see the real you, the very first time they see you!

Making that First Impression using the Halo Effect

Do you know the basics of a good first impression? If not then do check our blog post on 5 Powerful Ways to Make a Great Impression at an Interview. Once you ace the basics, you need to look at areas that fewer people ever talk about and implement the halo effect to them. The good thing is that the areas mentioned below apply to both, social and professional settings.

  • Managing your Reputation is a Full-Time Job. You need to recall your childhood and remember the time when kids around you had reputations. There were some kids who were popular, some who were considered nerds and all others in between. Such hierarchies continued from elementary all the way to high school. If you remember, the popular kids had a kind of reputation that made them untouchable. They were able to do anything and were considered as too smart for anyone else. Same is the case in the real world, as you can benefit from having a decent reputation. Using a connection can help you get what you want with much lesser effort. This contact of yours will put in a nice word for you and all of a sudden you will have a positive reputation established around you. Therefore, whoever was told that you are a good person will start having that perception about you. I recommend that you should always treat reputation management as if it was your full-time job. Are you going to trust someone you have ever heard of before or someone who has been vouched for by someone you already trust? I am sure you will go with the later just because it comes backed by a recommendation of someone you trust. Here is a great blog on how you can be more known by word-of mouth.
  • Stay Well-Groomed at All Times. It might be that the unkempt, untidy look defines your personality. However, the majority of people will be more drawn towards an individual who seems to take care of himself/herself. This includes having good hygiene, clean clothes that fit and a nice, proper haircut. Surprisingly, many people mess up this thing here and this can really kill their first impression and the Halo Effect. Picture it this way – you get on a bus and you have the chance to sit either next to a person covered in rags or one wearing a tuxedo. Whom will you prefer? While I would like to say that I do not care, there is no honest way to claim that. Now I am not suggesting that you have to wear a suit wherever you go; context is everything. What you need to do is make sure that everything you wear is pleasant to the eyes. You can wear denims to work – just make sure it does not have more holes in it than a piece of sponge! Here are my Top Tips to Dress for Success. Looking good all the time will help you fill in all the blanks others have for you in a positive manner. In addition, it does not only have to be you as a person. Keeping your office and workplace neat and tidy can be equally helpful, as pointed out in my post 5 Tips to keeping your office neat and tidy.
  • Be Around People Having High Value. You certainly have an opinion about someone who hangs around influential people, don’t you? You might consider someone a layer if he hangs out with many girls. You might consider someone into sports if s/he hangs out with the athletic crowd. People, solely based on the people around you, make such assumptions. Therefore, if you want people to think highly of you, you will need to start surrounding yourself with people who you can call important and influential. You should be around people who others aspire to be rather than people who others despise. If needed, you will have to start forcing yourself into these social circles. However, you will need to have a tactic in befriending others. If you can get yourself associated with other people of some stature, people will start thinking that you are of high value as well.
  • Have the 80/20 Rule For Everything. The 80/20 Rule or the Pareto Principle can be applied to everything in your professional and personal life. For example, 80% or the interruptions at a workplace come from 20% of the people, 80% of the problem lies in 20% of the issue, 80% of the results are coming from 20% of the effort, etc. What this rule suggests is that if you start doing things more efficiently, you will start seeing positive results in everything you do. While we all love the idea of being efficient, most of us fail at doing so. What you need to do is carefully assessing the 20% of the times that you will need to be at your optimum best and leave little to the rest of the 80%. Doing this effectively will help you improve the perception that people have of you.
  • Be Passionate About the Things You Say and Do. It is understood that people who are passionate about their work and everything around it attract people. This passion simply does not have to be only in the dream job that you might or might not have. In fact, you should be able to exhibit passion and enthusiasm for anything that you do. For example, be more passionate over the phone when you are talking to someone, instead of having a bland monotone. When you show excitement and passion in any conversation, the other person assumes that you are good at it. Why else would you be so passionate about it?
  • It Really Is All About Confidence. If there is one thing that can make your Halo Effect go on for as long as you want, it is confidence. No matter what you do, you will struggle in having an impactful first impression if you lack confidence. If you are confident, you will have an aura of credibility around you and people will start making positive assumptions about you. Others will give you the benefit of the doubt and people will infer that you are competent and capable, even when you are not. For most part of it, confidence is a state of mind and not something that you are simply born with. Do you lack confidence? Here is our other blog post on how public speaking can help you become more confident.

There you have it – my tips on how you can create Halo Effect and use it to your advantage. Do you have any tips of your own? Let us know in the comments section below. Also, please do share your stories with us if there is something interesting on how you worked on your personalities to be more confident, pleasant and credible. Moreover, I also recommend you all to read our other blog posts, including Why Meditation Can Be the Key to Personal Development, How to Showcase Your Professional Affiliations on Your Resume and Freelancers: Does Your Personality Define Your Business?

About the author /

Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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