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First Impressions

Posted 1/6/2016

It's commonly accepted that first impressions count. And that's especially true in an interview. From the initial physical engagement between the interviewer and the candidate, the welcoming words, the interaction as they settle into their chairs, to the first question.

Research into interviewer psychology shows that the interviewer will have formed an opinion of the candidate, good or bad, by that stage. But it's not based just on that brief experience. The interviewer has the benefit of the candidate's resume and any earlier interaction.  

Now meeting the candidate in person, the interviewer has new information to create an updated assessment. And for the rest of the interview, the interviewer is looking for further data (answers to questions, body behavior, personal interaction etc) to validate that assessment. For example, if a candidate has created a positive impression, the interviewer is likely to disregard minor negatives such as some weak behavioral skills examples. If the first impression was negative, those weak behavioral examples would be used to validate that unfavorable impression.

But interviewers can and do change their assessment of candidates, usually when they discover something significant about the candidate. However, first impressions count! 

Image: JockeyColours

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