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Does Your Job Interview Really Hinge On The First Impression?

February 13, 2015



If you only had seconds to convince a hiring manager to hire you, what would you say? What would you do? Depending upon what study you read youll get differing time frames of how quickly a hiring manager makes a decision to hire you or not, but it seems the general consensus is under 15 seconds. We wanted to know if that same highly publicized time table was accurate for our experts.


Stephanie from AT&T said, An interviewer cant know that youre the right candidate in 15 seconds, however he or she could feel like they know youre *not* the right candidate in that amount of time. Meaning, its easy to blow it early on by dressing inappropriately, being late, not being prepared with copies of your resume, failing to exude energy and interest, and overall portraying mannerisms that are not a match for the job. Assuming youve mastered all of those points, it should take the entire interview length (plus several more interviews in some cases) to evaluate your qualifications against other good candidates.


An expert from DuPont added, First impressions are very important.  Be professional during your first meeting with a recruiter or interviewer, regardless of the event (career fair, information session, campus interview). Also, recruiters are observing competencies such as communication and interpersonal skills constantly.

(Read the full responses here >>)


There is a tremendous amount you can gather about a persons energy, personality, attitude, and demeanor in the first 15 seconds. The reality is that when competition is tight for a position, these are the qualities that separate a good candidate from the one that gets hired. If you get an interview, that generally means youre at least qualified on paper for the job. The interview is designed to give hiring managers a window into who you are, not just what you know.

Here are some general rules that will help you master the first impression and set you up for a successful interview:

  • Smile. When you meet the individual who is going to be hiring you smile. Smiling communicates that you are warm and personable.
  • Firm Handshake. Its cliché, but a firm handshake lets the hiring manager know you are confident.
  • Eye Contact. Keeping good eye contact is also a great indicator that you are sure of yourself.
  • Dress professionally. Be sure and dress the part. Its better to show up over dressed than under dressed.
  • Shower. Make sure youve showered recently, theres nothing worse than smelling bad when youre initially meeting someone.
  • Speak Clearly. Articulate your greeting and dont address the interviewer with slang. Really, avoid using any slang throughout your entire interview unless its somehow related to the position youre interviewing for.

Your first impression is vital because you can ruin your chances of getting hired in the first few seconds, but you're not going to win the job in that limited timeframe. As always, prepare thoroughly and the initial greeting will be a footnote of the interview.

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