More than two thirds (70 per cent) of job seekers turn down a job if their first impression is sub-standard, according to a new study from Monster.co.uk.
The research highlights what influences first impressions with 35 per cent of interviewees saying they would not take a job if they didn’t like the reception area. The interviewer is another big factor with 50 per cent of potential employees saying they would be swayed by the interviewer’s dress sense, handshake (60 per cent) or quality of banter (58 per cent), and 51 per cent saying they would turn down a job if they were kept waiting too long in reception.
According to 59 per cent of job applicants, even the way an interviewer wears make up could negatively affect their impression of a potential employer.
Employers were also highly influenced by their first impressions of candidates, and the report found that job applicants have on average just 6 minutes and 25 seconds during the first meeting to impress interviewers.
Physical appearance is an issue on both sides of the interviewing table, with 70 per cent of employers saying that the way someone wears make up could impact a first impression, and more than two thirds (71 per cent) of employers saying tattoos would put them off hiring a candidate. Job seekers should dress to impress as 62 per cent say a candidate’s dress sense impacts their employability.
Corinne Sweet, organisational behaviour psychologist, explains: “We make instant assumptions about people and can judge harshly or form fantasies, based on external factors including: style, tattoos, skin colour and their accent. These impressions can be right or wrong, but employers need to understand that employees are forming their impressions too!”
Employers rank first impressions as the second most important factor (24 per cent) when considering a hire, following only behind work experience (36 per cent) but before a candidate’s education (12 per cent).
A candidate’s timekeeping is the number one factor influencing an employer’s first impression (96 per cent) followed closely by the amount of preparation a candidate has done (93 per cent), their ability to hold eye contact (82 per cent) and their personal appearance (73 per cent).
Andrew Sumner, Managing Director of Monster.co.uk in the UK and Ireland, explains: “In a competitive and complex job market, this demonstrates how important getting the basics right is at an interview, for both parties. HR professionals need to be sensitive to how they are perceived in the first instance. This includes ensuring that every interaction a candidate has with the company is smooth; from the first emails he or she receives, right through to the pleasant welcoming experience at interview.
“Those involved in the recruitment process have to be just as attentive and engaged as they expect candidates to be, otherwise they risk missing out on the best talent.”