Hiring Process: Make More than a Good First Impression

Christine Johnson on

7 seconds.

That’s how much time you get to make a first impression.

And we are often reminded to make great first impressions, especially in certain situations – job interviews, meeting future in-laws, networking events, etc..  But what about our second, third, fourth, and subsequent impressions?  Shouldn’t these be “good” as well?

The answer is yes.

A good first impression is fantastic.  Better subsequent impressions make you memorable.

For example, last week I watched the season premiere of a new show that I typically would not watch.  Action meets sci-fi.  Not my genre.

Why did I watch it then?

Because I had the opportunity to meet one of the lead actors on the show several times spanning a three-year period.  He was genuine, sincere, heart-felt, funny, and grateful to his fans the first time I met him.  He was the same the others times I met him.  His secondary impressions reinforced what I learned about him during our first conversation.  I watched the pilot and now have my DVR set to record the series.

Impressions and the Hiring Process

These subsequent impressions are even more important to understand when we examine it through the lens of the job hiring process.  With the tight job market, impression building has become more important than ever for employers.  Candidates are looking for their interview experience to be a positive series of events, not just a friendly “Hello” at the first interview.  The burden of “selling” for the interviewee or the organization during an interview has nearly become a 50/50 split.

First impressions should not serve as the biggest litmus test during the hiring process. Both employers and interviewees should evaluate the prospective job match on a pre-determined list of items deemed important – culture match, skillset, working conditions, flexibility, and so on.  Not whether the candidate walked in with toilet paper stuck to his shoe.  Or that the employer was only marginally prepared for the interview.  Days grow long or short – – – both can impact how our first impressions show up.

There are a lot of implied “should’s” that happen with moving beyond first impressions.

Shouldn’t we give people more than the 7 seconds to make a positive impression in an interview?  Yes.  Shouldn’t we also authentically and sincerely show up for our daily discussions and interactions so that if given the chance we can reinforce or change the first impression we made?  Yes again.  So why do we continue to take both for granted in the employment process?

Feel free to share ways you have overcome first impression errors.

Image credit: Pexels.com

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