Gone in 60 seconds – First Impressions and Interviews

Posted on Thursday, June 29, 2017 by Venn GroupNo comments

I recently read an article that discussed first impressions and judgements made by employers during job interviews, which detailed that ‘job hopes can be gone in 60 seconds’.


Over the years I have carried out hundreds of interviews and it got me thinking, how much of a generalisation is this and how much actually holds true?


Studies suggest that one in five firms decide whether to employ a candidate just 60 seconds into a job interview, increasing to one to in three within the first 90 seconds. So what are employers basing these assessments on in such a short space of time?


When meeting new people, 55% of the impact comes from the way the person dresses, acts and walks through the door, 38% comes from the quality of their voice, grammar and overall confidence and just 7% from what they actually say.


65% of employers indicate that clothes could be a deciding factor between two almost-identical candidates and 67% of employers say that failure to make eye contact is a common nonverbal mistake. Other key factors include a lack of a smile, a weak handshake, bad posture, crossing arms over their chest and fidgeting too much. However, the biggest mistakes made by candidates are not understanding the job applied for and not having researched the company.


Based on this, it is clear that first impressions are important. However, it is a lack of knowledge about the job and the company that are candidates’ biggest downfalls. A bad first impression won’t necessarily lose you the job but it will leave you on the back foot. Similarly, a good first impression will not get you the job if you don’t understand the role or the company.


In summary, the notion that ‘job hopes can be gone in 60 seconds’ is a generalisation but it is fair to say that first impressions are important and can influence an employer’s overall assessment of a candidate. Therefore, my advice to any prospective candidate is to make life easier for yourself; take the time to consider the impression you want to make - be on time, be well presented, speak confidently and clearly, but most importantly take the time to understand the company and the role.


Robert Westbury, Venn Group

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