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Is the First Impression in an Interview Important and Why

Is the First Impression in an Interview Important and Why

Copyright: Blueskyimage / 123RF

“Nobody impresses me for the first sixty days on the job.” This was a saying that all of those working with me in the corporate world would hear me say over and over. I wanted to express that there’s a difference between the impression a job seeker leaves initially—even as early as during the interview—and the impression an employee makes afterward for the duration. I have proved that particular opinion to be correct many times over: people who had made a great impression during the interview not in all cases demonstrated those great qualities and extensive knowledge some months after being hired and on the job.

But let’s first agree on the purpose of the interview. No, it is not to get the job. It is to get a job offer. And once the offer was committed to paper and received by the candidate, the latter must perform due diligence, evaluate the offer, negotiate if appropriate and possible, and then make a final decision. However, to get that coveted letter that starts with the word Congratulations, one needs to convince the hiring team that one is the ideal candidate.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the first impression

We’ve all heard the saying that the first impression is a lasting impression. And it’s true. Interview guru Lou Adler performed an otherwise admittedly less-than-scientific study via a survey. The result was that more than 80 percent of people like a person they meet for the first time. And this is applicable also in an interview situation. A further question asked about the importance of that first impression; in Adler’s study example, it was a salesperson. Of the respondents, 85 percent indicated that the first impression is highly important. Now, I don’t think there’s anything new or surprising about those numbers, but they do support the general tenet of the importance of the first impression.

The first impression can be nearly impossible to reverse. The impression made during a first encounter is extremely important, simply because it sets the scene for all future interactions.

Remember the importance of the smile!

“Smile and the world smiles too,” as the adage goes. There’s nothing like a smile to create a good first impression. A pleasant and confident smile puts both parties at ease. So, smiling is always a winner when it comes to making a great first impression.

Project confidence

Body language as well as appearance speaks much louder than words. Use your body language to project self-assurance. Stand tall, make eye contact, and greet with a firm handshake. Good manners together with polite, attentive, and enthusiastic behavior help make a good first impression.  When decision making comes, people will forget all the words you said but will remember the image you created.

The Biggest Change in Hiring

The Biggest Change in Hiring

Be nice to recruiters

Unpredictability and uncertainty in the business world shorten employment tenure. There are several reasons for this: The fast-paced and ever-changing evolution of technology is generating competitive pressures. Consumer tastes are changing and demanding new products and services. And world events are destabilizers; revolutions, wars, floods, droughts, earthquakes, tsunamis, and reactor meltdowns are examples.

Employers find themselves needing to react via quick adaptation. Company organizational charts the way we used to know them are shifting to meet foreseeable demands for staffing needs. Thus, the result is a contingent and temporary labor force. Statistics show that people change jobs on an average of every three years—some of them staying with the same employer but in new roles and some joining a different employer.

Recruiters will have an increased role in matching job seekers with jobs.

About half of all new openings at large employers are nowadays filled by internal mobility but still under the control of a recruiter. The rest of the openings are filled by new hires—also via a recruiter. The hiring manager makes the final decision about whom to hire, but recruiters can block job seekers based on their own discretion.

It is evident that job seekers’ interactions with recruiters will increase. In many cases, recruiters are not viewed favorably by job seekers. They are considered the necessary [d]evils. Most job seekers don’t understand the pressures on the typical recruiter. Each recruiter works simultaneously on filling 15 to 20 job openings. Recruiting is a human resources task but functionally reports to and is evaluated by hiring managers. Recruiters rely on applicant-tracking-system technology but have to make final decisions based on interviewing every reasonable candidate. Recruiters don’t know the details of the job more than the extent of the information supplied in the job description. And recruiters are very much under time pressure to produce results for hiring managers and meet hiring managers’ urgent needs.

How to increase your chances of being selected as a good candidate by recruiters

Follow the instructions precisely in terms of how recruiters want you to submit your credentials. Demonstrate that you have a keen interest in the position you’re applying for. Be honest and genuine. Come prepared when interacting with them. Don’t cause them embarrassment. They need to present you to the hiring manager. Ensure that you are a match with the job description. Use TagCrowd to make sure your résumé includes most of the keywords that recruiters are likely to use as queries based on the job description. And last, use (note: the filename ends with .co and not .com) to match your résumé to the job description.

In the current job market, the competition is fierce, and to maintain a high level of competitiveness, one has to know what to do and how to adapt to employers’ needs. All of that learning and carrying out are laborious and time-consuming. But don’t give up! A job is waiting for you. Go get it!


Why Are They Asking These Interview Questions?

Common Interview Questions

What’s behind the question?

Have you ever asked yourself why are they asking these interview questions?  People sometimes feel they did not do their best at their job interview. This has several reasons. First, in general, most people do not prepare sufficiently for that oral test commonly known as the job interview. They simply don’t know how to. But because of their past successes at landing jobs, they feel that that validates the fact that they must be good. Second, some job candidates take the time to prepare, but they do not make extra efforts at practicing interviewing—namely, by doing mock interviews with someone who can point out their weak spots and help them improve. And third, they don’t understand what’s really behind common interview questions. Let’s go through some here.

The most common interview question is, “Tell me about yourself.” Well, it’s not exactly a question, but it is indeed an unfinished sentence because when you hear those words in an interview, what’s really behind them is the real question: “Tell me about yourself in a way that demonstrates to me your qualifications to help us meet our challenges by reciting at least one relevant success story.” Now that you know that, it will be much easier to craft a good answer.

Another common interview question is, “What are your strengths?” Behind this one, the interviewer is looking to see whether you’re prepared for the interview and whether you can recite eloquently and succinctly what your strengths are. Again, the interviewer hopes your examples will be pertinent and relevant to the company’s needs. If your recited strengths are valid but not for current company needs, your answer is tantamount to serving someone a wonderful dessert after a huge meal. Yes, it’s good, but there is little appetite left.

After the strengths question, it is very common to be asked, “What are your weaknesses?” Admittedly, this is a difficult question. What’s behind this one is an interviewer who’s curious first about your honesty and then about whether you reveal something that might be a serious impediment to your candidacy. Or perhaps you’re completely dumbfounded and unprepared—and that’s not a good sign.

“Why are you interested working for us?” is another important and common question. Behind this question, the interviewer does not want to hear what you think is good for you about the position. Instead, you are being given an opportunity to prove to the interviewer what you can do for the company, not for yourself. And above all, you should answer this question with a heightened level of excitement. This is what the interviewer is expecting to see, and if your answer is not memorable, then the interpretation will be that you’re probably not very serious and not very interested. In an interview, exhibiting your excitement via body language and facial expressions is more important than the words you say.

Another question that always comes up in an interview, provided they like you, is, “So, how much money are you looking for?” This question is commonly misunderstood because some job candidates think the interviewer is close to closing the deal and ready to negotiate. Absolutely not! Don’t be misled by that question. You as a candidate have no negotiation power at this stage. You were not offered anything yet. The real thought behind the question is, “I like what I see so far, but I wonder whether I can afford you.” That’s why a good answer here will consist of a reasonably wide range, the lowest end of which has to be the lowest compensation you’re willing to accept. So, not until you have in your hand that letter whose first word is Congratulations are you ready to start negotiating. But the subject of salary negotiation has to be left for another article in the future.