First impressions are powerful ~ will the first date pave way for a second? Will the business card exchange lead to a sale? Can the eager interviewee transform sweaty palms and dry mouth into career magic? In fact, first impressions are so paramount you’re probably weighing if this article is worth reading solely based on […]
First impressions are powerful ~ will the first date pave way for a second? Will the business card exchange lead to a sale? Can the eager interviewee transform sweaty palms and dry mouth into career magic? In fact, first impressions are so paramount you’re probably weighing if this article is worth reading solely based on my first sentences. (How am I doing so far?) Along with getting second dates and sales leads, first impressions are also, unfortunately, the common denominator of many bad hiring decisions.
According to Monster, many recruiters derive go/no -go conclusions within the first six minutes of an interview, and many say the first 90 seconds are imperative for making a good first impression. Even more alarming, one study in 2000 revealed that judgments made in the first 10 seconds of an interview could predict the outcome of the interview. From a hiring perspective, these quick, uncognitive, and emotional decisions are a disaster and contribute to about 50% of hiring mistakes. In fact, from any perspective these quick decisions can lead to disaster. Imagine applying this philosophy to anything else in your life: would 10 seconds be enough to buy a car, choose a spouse, or decide you even want the new job you’re interviewing for? Would 6 minutes even be enough? (We’re hoping you’re saying no at this point.)
We think we can tell a lot about a person quickly — we have this bias that makes us think we can tell a person’s Myers-Briggs, Birkman, and Kolbe scores just by the way they smile or shake a hand. But we can’t; vital decisions, like hiring, retention, and the makeup of a team, should not be made within the blink (or a few blinks) of an eye. Hiring requires contemplation, deep thought, and most of all, money. Hiring on an impulse is costly not only financially, but to your team, and, let’s be honest, your Glassdoor ratings. (Let’s make sure that Glassdoor is NOT a revolving one.) A high turnover rate looks good on no one.
According to thought leader and recruiting expert Lou Adler, first impressions are indeed (and unfortunately) what set the stage for the entire interview. Hiring managers did what we just talked about — made an assumption within the first few seconds — and then spent the entire interview reinforcing that assumption.
“Those who made a good first impression were instantly assumed to be competent and the interviewer used the balance of the interview to seek out evidence to support the initial reaction. If the candidate made a weak first impression, the interviewer would assume the person was incompetent and proactively went out to prove it. Questions that could quickly prove them wrong were unconsciously avoided.”
So, how does one avoid falling into the pit of the first impression? How can you push aside the honeymoon phase of how someone made you initially feel and make an objective, balanced decision? Here are 5 tips for how to make better hiring decisions: