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First interview impressions – a two-sided sword

The old saying about never having a second chance to make a first impression will always hold true. Yet, whether you're looking for a job in sales, marketing, public relations or digital.

Posted by Alex Robinson, PR and Digital Recruiter, Tuesday January 26 2016

Blog - First Impressions In Your Interview Counts

The old saying about never having a second chance to make a first impression will always hold true. Yet, it’s easy to forget that this is, in face-to-face situations, a two-sided scenario.

For the interviewee, it pays to take a wider view of how the first impression of you is created. For example, the founder of one of the country’s largest haulage companies, when interviewing for truck drivers, used to watch the individuals’ arrival for the interview in the car park. If the person slammed their car door, they wouldn’t be hired. As he said: ‘If they don’t take care of their own vehicle, what are they going to be like with mine?’

A media sales company, would always ask the team member who collected the interviewee at reception how that person behaved in their journey to the interview room. If the individual was impolite, or even arrogant, it is not too much of a stretch to think that they’d behave in the same way when hired with their colleagues or clients.    

Or at the extreme (and most entertaining) end of the spectrum, Heineken released a video a few years ago called The Candidate where interviewees were subjected to strange and quite frankly terrifying situations that were all filmed.  The candidate who dealt the best with the bizarre situations thrown at them, was offered the job.    

From the point of view of the company who is recruiting, they also need to make a favourable first impression on a person they may want to persuade to work for their organisation. The candidates should be exposed to all of the attractive aspects of the company brand, culture and processes that a company wants to show off. Before the interview begins, it is important that the interview set up with a positive picture of how it would be to be part of your team.

All of the above may seem strikingly obvious. Yet, often these initial areas are disregarded, ignored in the importance given to the actual interview itself.

I recommend you start thinking about ways that you can extend your interview process outside of the traditional question and answer format. If you have experienced or currently do anything different compared to the traditional process, please do share in the comments box below.

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