We all talk about first impressions being important but not everyone knows that the ‘first impression’ requires only a 7 second window before an opinion is formed.
However, for us as recruiters, first impression hiring is not a beneficial way of selecting the right candidate for the job.
People are hugely overconfident about their ability to judge others in general, and recruiters may be particularly so. The reality, says Allen Huffcutt of Bradley University, is that the recruitment interview is a dicey venue in which to get a good read on someone. "You've got a high stakes situation, an interaction between strangers, and a general inability to verify what candidates say," says Huffcutt.
Interviewers are often drawn to open-ended questions because they think they'll zero in on personality. But not only does personality turn out to be a poor predictor of job performance, it interacts with situations such that people behave differently in the workplace than they do in other situations.
Working in the recruitment industry for over 20 years, has proven to me again just how strongly the first "gut impression" impression can affect many recruiters. Their decisions and opinions made on this basis have a profound effect not only the future job opportunities for the business but also on the future success of our clients and candidates. If this approach does not get the best candidates, then as recruiters we should not be concerned with first impressions but train ourselves and educate our clients to focus beyond this and on the core competency of candidates during the interviews and selection process.
When it comes to recruitment our interviews should be structured, focused and competency based. We should be avoiding questions that invite tactical or evasive answers: "Why do you want to work here?" For the majority of positions, we are recruiting for, softball questions don't get to the crux of the matter in a small window of time available: We should be asking does the person have the aptitude or core competency to do the job.