Are your interview first impressions of a candidate wrong?

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Most people rely on their intuition when it comes to judging another person’s character — especially when it comes to job interviews. First impressions count for a lot in hiring, and all too often, they can make or break the interview.

But how accurate are those first impressions really? There are times when a hiring manager may be spot on with the judgements they make in the moment about candidates, and other times they may be very, very wrong.

Hiring managers tend to go with their gut far more than they should. Your gut can get you stuck with a person you originally perceived as a great hire, but who turns out entirely different than you expected. Yes, meeting a person helps you understand if you like them personally. But how can you be sure that you are getting an accurate impression of their work ethic and reliability?

First impressions of a candidate are not always dependable, especially in the world of hiring. However, there are other ways to assess candidates and help you feel confident that you are hiring the candidate who is right for the job.

 

First Impressions Can Be Misleading

A staggering 90% of hiring managers hold onto their initial impression of a person, even after speaking with a candidate and hearing information that should alter this impression. This means that managers are basing their opinion of the candidate almost entirely on their first impression, not on the facts of the interview.

This is dangerous, of course, because not everyone is 100% honest in the interview process. Many candidates may have their guard up from the first moment they come in the door. Because they are determined to only show you their best self, they will think about what it is that you are looking for and do their best to be that person. They may wear a suit to the interview, even though they only ever wear jeans; they may emphasize their organizational skills even when they have none; they may show up early when they are always late; etc. Just because someone appears a certain way at first glance in an interview does not mean that is who they actually are or who they will continue to be.

 

The Interview Reflects Your Own Biases

As a hiring manager, your personal biases can also impact the interview strongly. For example, if a candidate has a strong handshake, is a fan of the same sports team as you are, or has an acquaintance in common will often bias the interviewer significantly.

These irrelevant qualities may make you like the candidate more, even though it has little to do with their actual qualifications for the job. Just because you think they’re personable or funny doesn’t mean you should hire them over another, more qualified candidate. You may think you are being fair and evaluating the qualifications of every candidate in the same way, but you may not be as unbiased as you’d like to be.

 

Stop Relying on Intuition

There is another way to look at candidates that eliminates mistaken first impressions and your own biases toward football fans. Using automated hiring skips over the possibility for any social misconceptions and jumps straight to the facts. It ensures thorough and accurate assessment by:

  • Screening the resume in advance
  • Analyzing the candidate’s choice of words and speech patterns
  • Tests the candidate’s technical and people skills
  • Assesses each candidate equally so that everyone is compared in an effective and fair manner
  • Filters through all the candidates by detecting the most highly qualified individuals within the group
  • Eliminates all of the time that it would take to individually interview and assess each person
  • Gives you the ability to program your company’s ideals and overall persona into the hiring process so that all of the assessment is screened using your customized lens

Taking the automated approach keeps you from choosing a candidate who does not fully fit the requirements of the job and instead assesses candidates on their real skills.

Most hiring managers who go with their gut tend to hire people who resemble them instead of using the most useful data to properly assess a person for the job. Automated hiring technology enables recruiters to have a much more proactive hiring process that is sure to provide them with the type of employees that they are really looking for.

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