Improving Your Recruiting Strategy: The Power of First Impressions

First impressions have always had a considerable impact on the overall hiring process. According to research, most recruiters make up their minds as to whether or not they will be hiring a candidate within the initial 90 seconds of an interview. Research also suggests that a majority of them are then disappointed with their choice in the long run.
Have you ever been disappointed by a recent hire who failed to live up to your initial expectations? It’s not necessarily that they weren’t able to do the job. rather that they did not fit into the rest of the team, or lacked the leadership skills you expected. Where did you go wrong? Let’s begin with what a first impression really is.

What Is A First Impression?

The initial evaluation a recruiter or a person does of the individual they are interviewing/meeting for the very first time is a first impression. There is no definitive classification whether the first impression ought to be a conversation, glance or even a vague look from the far off distance.
According to science, not only is the first impression established within seconds, it has the capacity to influence your perception of a potential candidate.
An individual’s trustworthiness, status, intelligence, attractiveness, and competence all are rated and decided upon in the space of milliseconds.
However, not only are first impressions not always accurate, the decision to hire a candidate based purely on initial assumptions is borderline unethical. Hires based on an unconscious bias formed within the first few seconds of meeting someone often times have unfavorable outcomes.
The dependency on subjective and speculative data is not conducive for the HR representative or the organization they are recruiting for. First impressions matter and are of significant importance for successful hires, but only in cases where they are backed by verifiable data and hard facts.

How to Make the Most of Your First Impression

As a recruiter, you can go about improving your recruitment strategy and making the most of your first impression by making a note of the following:

  • Establishing a standardized evaluation process for each prospective employee that is interviewed by you. For a balanced assessment of a candidate’s potential versus the other prospects, maintain homogeneity by asking all of them the same stream of questions related to soft skills, culture, and personality, in addition to the skill and job related queries.
  • Consider taking detailed notes of all first impressions for comparison purposes during the evaluating stage. Compare them to the impression formed during the course of the interview.

How to Move Past a First Impression

First impressions play a vital role in establishing a connection between the interviewer and the interviewee; a connection that often becomes the variable in determining whether or not a potential employee joins the company or not. They are also entirely natural reactions. However, for successful recruiting, it’s imperative that HR personnel keep their unconscious biases at bay when conducting interviews. Recruiters need not let their biases overpower their ability to make decisions for organizational benefit.
Here’s how you can move past your first impression:

  • Take into consideration candidate consistency in terms of personality and characteristics through the hiring process.
  • Evaluate a candidate’s character based on their treatment of other people. Does their behaviour and temperament undergo considerable change when faced with a colleague depending on their position in organizational hierarchy?
  • Carefully appraise the candidate’s public and private persona based on their social media vs real life presence.
  • Pinpoint and avoid giving in into previously established workplace biases. The handshake, personality quirk, or pedigree should not act as valid hiring determinants or reasons for rejections.