Why first impressions count in the recruitment process

Why first impressions count in the recruitment process

While we all know it’s ‘what’s on the inside that counts’, first impressions go a long way when a candidate is being assessed by a potential company. In just a few seconds an interviewer will have made an almost immediate impression about a candidate based on their looks, attitude and even their handshake. While many people might dispute the value of first impressions, research has shown that first impressions are often very valid and can go a long way to helping recruiters make the right decision about the candidate they pick.

One study1 has shown that an observer watching just 15 seconds of a job interview can accurately predict which candidate will get an offer. Not surprisingly applicants who appeared attentive, confident, optimistic, professional and approachable were more likely to receive a job offer than those who appeared reticent or shy. But it’s not all about attitude. Applicants who look the part are often more successful than those that don’t.

Seven ways to make a good first impression at your next job interview

  • Dress the part

If you are interviewing at a corporate company, it’s important that your outfit reflects the role you are interviewing for and the general ethos of the company. Similarly, if you want to work in a creative environment, it’s important that your outfit is not too formal. If you are unsure, it’s always a good idea to speak to your recruitment agent and ask their advice about what is appropriate.

  • Arrive promptly

Being late for an interview sends the signal that you are unreliable, so it’s important you arrive early but not too early. If you arrive 30 minutes prior to your interview, the interviewer may feel rushed or uncomfortable and you may seem a little eager. Try to be there 10 or 15 minutes before. If you are unsure of the travel time to your interview destination, give it a practice run the day before to get it right.

  • Be pleasant to the PA or receptionist

While the person at the front desk may not be the hiring manager, they often report back on the manner of interviewees. So it’s important you greet them pleasantly and confidently and treat them in the same manner as you would treat your interviewer.

  • Make a good entrance

If you are meeting someone or entering a room, do it confidently. Keep your head up, make eye contact, smile and acknowledge the person you are meeting or those in the room. If you are offered a hand to shake, do it firmly, but not too tightly.

  • Don’t be careless with your conversation

Try to avoid conversation starters that are too casual or involve any use of slang. Take your cue from your interviewer. If they are relaxed and happy to make casual conversation before the interview, follow in their footsteps, but don’t take the lead.

  • Be prepared for common interview questions

It’s reasonable to expect that the interviewer will ask you questions about yourself and why you want to work for the company. Be prepared for these questions by reading the organisation’s website and following the news. Practice your responses and be prepared with answers about your recent achievements – especially those that highlight why you will be a great fit for the company.

  • Put your phone away

This might seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many candidates will glance at their phones in an interview. Turn it off before you arrive and don’t be tempted to look at it while you are waiting in reception. Instead, use any spare time to prep for your interview so that when your interviewer approaches you, you’re not distracted by WhatsApp but ready to greet them.

While it’s important not to judge a book by its cover, a bad first impression can trigger a negative loop that prejudices an interviewer against you. At GG Recruitment we work closely with all our candidates to prepare them for their interview and ensure they make the best impression possible. To find your ideal job or candidate in the IT, Financial, Management or Specialist sectors contact us today.


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