Mariah Ramirez

The Power of Company First Impressions

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Company First Impressions – What Does a Prospective Employee Learn the First Ten Minutes of an Interview?

Abby Gary HTI Company First ImpressionBy Abby Gary
Director of Professional Services

How often have we heard the phrase “You never get a second chance to make a first impression?”  Like it or not, this still rings true today for both the interviewer and the prospective employee. Consciously considering the first impression your business gives off from the interviewee’s perspective ensures you’re making a positive impact right away on each potential new hire.  Through my 20+ years of experience in recruiting and owning a business, I have learned this key intention can make or break your company. With that in mind, the impact of the first impression starts from the moment a candidate walks in the door. That means the hiring manager isn’t the only person who plays a role in the interview process.

While it may not seem important, small details like how your receptionist greets candidates or the room in which you conduct interviews matters.   If they’re welcoming, this individual will feel comfortable and less nervous about the process.  When you meet someone, and you hit it off right away they will likely spend their time during the interview looking for more reasons to like you.  If you avoid eye contact or your handshake is weak you miss the opportunity to make that great first impression. As a result, you will spend the rest of your interview trying to recover.  The way you conduct the interview will give candidates valuable insight about what working there might really be like. Rest assured they will be paying attention to every detail.

Once you get past the introductions and awkward small talk it is time to get down to business.  We all know that finding a great position goes beyond the job description and the research they do online.  They want to know everything about the company culture and values, growth and development opportunities, management style and the team.  Will this be a place to grow personally and professionally while enjoying coming to work each day?  After all, this is a job they are considering spending 40 or more hours a week working. This job might have a huge impact on their career and quality of life for the foreseeable future.

Prospective employees may feel rushed to decide if this job is the right fit for them. Meaning, millions of thoughts and questions cross their minds at light-speed.  It’s noticeable if you’re showing genuine interest by how you carry yourself in the first few minutes of the interview. This determines whether they want to continue in the process.  These are some key components candidates are looking for during the Interview. (Remember that starts the moment they walk through the door.):

  • Are you engaging and invested in the conversation?

  • Do you want to know who they are and what makes them tick?

  • Are you giving off the vibe that you actually like your job and the people you work with and for?

  • Can they make a difference here?  

Going through the technical aspects of the job are important, but prospective employees also want to feel good about where they work. As the interviewer, it’s your job to showcase these things early in the interview to keep them engaged and wanting to learn more.

As the job market gets more competitive, a strong first impression helps your company stand out and attract the most qualified candidates in your industry.  With unemployment at its lowest in decades, and the number of unemployed so closely matching jobs available, the power is shifting from the employers to the candidate. Therefore, it is important that the company puts their best foot forward during the interview process.

As you can see, there is a lot at stake during the first interview. A person will not accept a job unless the first interview builds confidence, trust and knowledge. Don’t let a bad first impression scare off the best candidates.