Herb Dew

Companies: You Only Get 1 Chance at a First Impression

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We sit right now in one of the tightest job markets that’s existed in the last 50 years.

Unemployment rate has dipped below 4% in many regions. Salaries are increasing, sign-on bonuses are extending, and companies across multiple industry sectors are looking to hire top talent.

I am sometimes astounded at the poor job companies do at setting a good first impression, and then wondering why they are unable to hire top talent.

Companies have to understand in this job market every step in the interview process is intensely scrutinized and compared to other potential employers by prospective employees. Consistent complaints I hear from job seekers include:

A cumbersome online application process

According to Career Builder, 60% of applicants will stop filling out online job applications half way through because of their length or complexity. How long does it take to fill out your company’s online application? The suggested length is 5 minutes. Do they have to upload a resume and type in their work history? Prospective employees know their time is valuable and these are all deterrents.

Slowness in communication speed

25% of applicants lose interest in a company if they don’t hear back within one week after the initial interview. After two weeks, 50% lose interest.

Poorly orchestrated first interview

Have you practiced interviews? Do you have a rehearsal that takes place so everybody that’s involved in the interview process understands the importance of leaving a good first impression? Are people on time?

Weak or limited communication throughout the interview process from the company

Is there effective communication with people going through the interview process? According to a LinkedIn survey, receiving interview follow up was the second most important thing to job seekers. The majority wanted to hear back whenever there was an update, and an overwhelming 94% wanted feedback on their interview.

Companies, think about interviewing in this way – it’s a first date. You want to be dress well, you want to put your best foot forward, you want to take the person to a nice restaurant. You want to learn about the person, but you want them to get to know you as well. That’s what companies with great interview processes understand, and that’s the reason consistently great companies get the best employees.

Look at your interview process, look at the people that are managing it. Is the first person or two talking with an applicant the person you want extending the first impression to a job applicant you potentially want to hire? That’s a tough question to ask, but it’s an important question. This should be a very clean process, tightly scripted, creating a strong, confident first impression.

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