Having been an international HR executive for more than 20 years I did probably more than thousand interviews with candidates sitting at the opposite of my desk; one could say I’m slightly experienced in these kind of interviews.
I always have to smile a bit reading the articles on how to prepare for a job interview. Not that they are not true, don’t misunderstand me; they very much are and they are simply the ground rules everybody has to know. But there is just a little bit more to that…
There is this little piece we have not been able to grab and never will; but plays an essential if not crucial role; it’s called the first impression.
We all know that first impressions are key in whether you will get the job or not, the way you behave in your first interview will be highly important in getting your desired job.
We do know the drill, amongst them subjects like the following, all very true and you need to use them to your benefit.
Do your research and turn up prepared. This will not only boost your confidence, but shows you are genuinely interested in the company.
Dress appropriately. People don’t make first impressions by what they say or what
they wear. But do make sure you look OK.
Give a firm handshake. Don’t tear of the arm, but show confidence (with dry hands).
Stand and sit up straight. Nonverbal language is very important.
Try to avoid using words such as "like", or "um". Silence is no disaster, use your time to give a thought through answer.
When the interview is done, remind the interviewer once again to keep you in mind. Smile and walk out with confidence.
So far for the theory of preparation for an interview…
What if I tell you that scientific research shows that a decision by a recruiter is made in the first 10 seconds, before even any word has been said….bye bye preparation…
If that first impression is not good, you will need at least 30 minutes to change that impression, butt the odds are not good to say it very carefully.
How many times have I sat with a candidate after my (negative) decision based on my (subjective) 1st impression…, just to kill time as I was protecting my employer’s image and spending time as a normal human decency versus the candidate who had spent time and efforts in the interview?
In other words, as a candidate you need to control as much as you can in terms of preparing yourself well for an interview. Unfortunately the most important thing you cannot control; the first impression, despite all efforts.
I’ve seen the disappointments when a candidate was rejected despite a good interview ( in his/her perception) and an absolute job fit in terms of skills and knowledge; but still a “we thank your for the interview, but other candidates have a better blabla…”.
I’m of the opinion that whatever science says, recruiting is a human business (H2H, Human to Human) where we will never know why a first impression to one recruiter is totally different than the first impression of another recruiter. That’s like asking two persons why they do or don’t like the color blue or eating pasta…
Oversimplified? I don’t think so; I’ve seen this happening so many times during my career and it has been confirmed over and over again by my colleagues.
So; how do we solve this in order to give fair chances to candidates and avoid disappointments at both sides?
At Executives Online we designed Executive-intro; a ground breaking new concept where one of the components of the tool is a small video clip of max 1 minute.
This is where the candidate makes a little clip to explain to the possible employer why he/she is suitable for the vacant position.
No rocket science…but you know what, you simply eliminate the risk of being rejected on a first impression when you meet face to face with the employer, since the employer has already seen you, listened to you and has seen you in action, verbal and nonverbal.
Science calls this phenomenon the “thin slices of behavior”, in 20 seconds a decision is made by the employer/recruiter.
One could argue that this is not new as a Skype call may resolve the issue.
True, but do all the hiring managers involved Skype with candidates before they meet them in person? That’s what I thought..so the break down risk remains and may even fire back on the HR Manager who selected a candidate for an interview based on that Skype call.
So; it is not only the clip, but it is the combination with the other advanced tools in the package and the accessibility for all managers involved in the hiring process that we offer to avoid that negative first impression, thus paving the road for the candidate and the client to go through a smooth and efficient and therefore cost efficient recruitment process.
And more important, less disappointment and frustration when being rejected for a reason you cannot understand.
Have a look at our website for the tool, or call one of our consultants for a free demo.