Why do first impressions matter in hiring?

As candidates walk-in for an interview, make an impression that lasts forever. Read on to find out why first impressions are important…

Someone has rightly said that “The first impression is the last impression”. And you only have one chance to make the first impression, it stays with the other individual for a lifetime. A survey of over 2000 managers found that 33% of them know whether or not they would hire someone in the first 90 seconds of meeting them. Making a good first impression before your recruiter in the interview is something all of us want, but only a few of us know how to do it. Interviews can be nerve-wracking and cause a lot of tension amongst candidates. First impressions matter so much because they happen fast and stay for long with the individual. Your recruiters can form judgments about you in seconds, and once formed it is very difficult to change it. Simply put, your relationships and interactions will be a lot easier if you’re able to immediately start off strong. A strong first impression gives you more latitude to be human. Read this blog to find out why first impressions matter in hiring.

Why are first impressions important?

In other words, when you meet someone for the first time, you need to be on your game from the very beginning. This includes being aware of everything from the words you choose to the body language you convey. Things like attitude and appearance are often overlooked in a job interview, but these things can make or break a candidate. Even if the job seeker is overly qualified for the job on paper, details like running late, being on a cell phone, or forgetting basic manners can ruin their chances. The saying “You only have one chance to make a first impression” holds true in many situations, from job interviews to sales calls. So it is very important to realize that first impressions matter in hiring. How can you make sure that you start off on the right foot in any of these scenarios? What should you actually say? And what’s the best way to follow up?

Here are a few ways candidates can make good impressions in their interviews:

Display confidence with body language

A good attitude and confidence are key to landing a job. Even though a job hunter might feel confident on the inside, their body language could tell a completely different story. An interview starts the second a job seeker gets to the interview site. Good posture and a calm demeanor are essential whether they’re in the office or the parking lot. Interviewees shouldn’t hunch their shoulders or look down while they’re sitting in a chair waiting. When they do finally meet with the hiring manager, a smile, eye contact, and a firm handshake display confidence without being arrogant. Smiling is particularly important, as 40 percent of interviewers think that a lack of a smile is a good enough reason not to consider a candidate.

Dress for success

Because first impressions matter in hiring, physical appearance is crucial. Make sure the interviewee has an outfit they feel great in and one that matches the dress code of the company. Being over or under-dressed can make one uncomfortable, and hurt a job seeker’s confidence. Always tell job seekers to keep things simple if they’re not sure what to wear. Don’t over-accessorize or wear anything that might be distracting. They also need to pay attention to details. They might not care that their clothes are wrinkled or their socks don’t match, but these details could be red flags to potential employers.

Treat everyone with respect

Treating people with respect seems like common sense, but some job seekers don’t realize how many employees they encounter when they go through the interview process. It’s important to impress the hiring manager, but job seekers are also likely interacting with many other people at the company as well. Whether they’re a CEO or a receptionist, every person is a chance to make a great first impression and they deserve to be treated respectfully. A negative interaction with anyone at a company could ruin a job seekers’ chances at employment. While interviewing over the phone, make sure that you communicate well and keep your tone suited for the interview.

Keep electronic devices away

Whether interviewing in person or on a video call, always make sure that your cell phones are away from you and put to silence. It should not be a distraction, either for you or the interviewer if your phone keeps buzzing or you need to check it every now and then. You should never be caught talking, texting, or even looking at your phone during a job interview. Job searchers should also know the consequences of what might happen if their phone goes off in an interview. Clear all your schedules for that brief period of time and keep in mind not to irritate your interviewer.

Be yourself

While first impressions matter in hiring, when you’re meeting someone for the first time, don’t try to be someone you’re not. If you don’t know the answer to something they ask, don’t fake it. The ability to lean into your weaknesses shows that you are self-aware. However, be sure not to overemphasize your shortcomings. It might seem shockingly simple, but avoiding the “report card problem” or highlighting weaknesses and how you might fix them could cause you to only showcase the negatives, or at least make them the biggest part of your overall impression.

Choose your words wisely

Words matter even more than you think. Positive and persuasive words and phrases will often open doors and make people feel comfortable in your presence, which can ultimately make them more willing to work with you. This point is especially valuable if you’re making a first impression in a job interview. You want potential employers to find you positive, flexible, and capable, so use language that reflects optimism and agency instead of negativity.

Make eye contact

Make this a point to always make an eye-contact while in an interview. Focus on the person or people you are speaking with. It’s hard to get to know someone when you’re looking down at a screen in a video, so make an effort to make some eye contact with everyone in the room. However, keep in mind that eye contact can also backfire. If people aren’t already persuaded or inclined to be on your side, they may focus more on your mouth or any presentation materials you’re showcasing instead of your eyes, making attempts at eye contact a challenge.

Don’t forget to follow up

Last but not least, to ensure your first impression sticks, it’s wise to write a personalized note of sincere appreciation. These small gestures will help prove that you’re on the ball and that you’re making them a priority, rather than just another task to check off your to-do list.

Don’t let negative impressions come in the way of your ability to get to know someone or grabbing a job for that matter. Make sure to convey the right message. Make sure that your first impressions matters in hiring.

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