Maxwell Stephens

First Impressions Really Do Count at Job Interviews

Recent research carried out revealed that an interviewee’s first impressions of a company they’re contemplating joining are influenced by everything from the working environment to the interview’s personal preferences for fashion, as well as their body language and demeanour. With a few helpful tips, we’re going to demonstrate why first impressions really do count at job interviews.

Fix up, look sharp


The research illustrated that appearance is of paramount importance. When it comes down to influencing first impressions, a whopping 50% of potential employees said they would be influenced by the interviewer’s clothing choices, with an even bigger 60% believing that seal of approval lies in the handshake of the interviewer.


Almost two thirds of job seekers (58%) felt that camaraderie between interviewee and interviewer is something that would impact their ultimate decision about a job offer, with the quality of ‘banter’ valued within this group.


When it comes to appearance, however, first impressions don’t just lie with interview candidates. The survey also took into consideration the opinions of interviewers. 70% of employers asserted that somebody wearing too much make-up would put them off, 71% followed this by contending that visible tattoos were a factor that wouldn’t bode well for potential employees, and 62% believed that a candidate’s dress sense could hamper their employability.


Another aspect of appearance that influences perceptions is body language. 82% of interviewers said that a candidate’s ability to hold eye contact was a make or break factor when hiring for a position.


In fact, from the view of employers, job applications only have on average 6 minutes and 25 seconds during the first meeting to impress potential employers.


A product of the environment


When it came to the workplace, interview candidates had a strong opinion. Over a third of respondents to research wouldn’t take a job if they didn’t like the reception area. It isn’t surprising, following this finding, that 51% of candidates would turn down a job if they were required to wait too long in reception.


I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date


Lateness is something that companies won’t look too kindly on, for very good reasons. A shattering 96% of employers said that timekeeping is the number one most important factor when considering a candidate for a role.


A theme that runs alongside being on time is being prepared. Candidates should prepare as much as possible for an interview, otherwise it paints them in a bad light if they opt to do anything else. This notion is backed up by findings in the research that revealed 93% of employers would judge an interviewee based on the amount of preparation carried out.


Piercings and tattoos


Often a controversial topic when it comes to job interviews, the research highlighted a number of key findings.


When it comes to tattoos, 71% of interviewers said a visible tattoo would put them off a candidate. Among these respondents, 6% revealed that they definitely wouldn’t hire somebody who sported a tattoo and 25% said they would think twice about a job seeker’s eligibility for the role.


Piercings elicited similar views to that of their tattoo counterparts, with 8% of interviewers believing they definitely wouldn’t hire somebody with a piercing, while 41% would think twice about offering a job to somebody who had a visible piercing.


Research broken down


Top things that influence an interviewer’s first impression:


› A candidate’s timekeeping ability (96%)

› Level of preparation before the interview takes place (93%)

› Ability to hold eye contact (82%)

› Personal appearance (73%)

› Quality of small talk (60%)

› Handshake (55%)

› How a candidate applies make-up (70%)


The five most important factors interviewers consider when hiring a candidate:


› Work experience (36%)

› First impressions of the candidate (24%)

› Education (12%)

› Professional qualifications (10%)

› References (9%)


Examples of undesirable behaviour carried out by candidates, as told by interviewers:


› Limp handshake

› No prior research about the company

› Being late for an interview

› Having a distasteful body odour

› Being high or drunk


Top things that influence an applicant’s first impressions:


› Unattractive reception area (35%)

› A friendly receptionist influences candidates to accept a job (42%)

› Unattractive interview room (44%)

› Interviewer’s dress sense (50%)

› Kept waiting too long in reception (51%)

› Small talk (58%)

› How an interviewer applies make-up (59%)

› Handshake (60%)

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first impressions at interviews


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