INTERVIEWS / AUG. 03, 2014
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Study Reveals how Long it Takes Candidates to Impress Employers

How long does it take to make a good first impression on an employer? According to recent research by it takes six minutes and 25 seconds. The interview process can be nerve racking enough, so when you take into consideration the numerous other factors that this survey has revealed which contribute towards whether or not you end up with a job or not - just remember the clock is always ticking when it comes to making a good first impression.

A combination of 3,286 employees/candidates and 273 managers were surveyed and the results are rather interesting. Here are some of the key insights that this survey includes:

  • 71% of employers that were surveyed stated that visible tattoos would deter them from offering a candidate a job.
  • 62% of employers that were surveyed stated that the way a candidate dressed influenced their decision to hire them or not.
  • 70% of employers that were surveyed stated that the way a potential candidate applied their makeup contributed towards if they decided to award them a job or not.

When it came to how employers considered hiring a candidate, 24% of surveyors stated that first impressions was perceived as being the second most important reason as to why they would hire someone, 36% stated that a candidate’s work experience was the third deciding factor, and 12% of employers would take into consideration a candidate’s educational background.

The overall mannerisms of a candidate and how they presented themselves during an interview is very important, so when employers stated what their top 5 worst impressions were here’s what they said:

  • Candidates who gave poor handshakes.
  • Candidates who possessed no knowledge about the job role they were being interviewed for.
  • Candidates who arrived to the interview unacceptably late.
  • Candidates who clearly had poor personal hygiene.
  • Candidates who appeared intoxicated or under the influence of an illegal substance.

Candidates’ Impressions

First impressions obviously count towards a lot when it comes to a job interview, but it’s not just employers that are impressed by a candidate’s first impression. This survey also shows that 70% of interviewees are just as susceptible to the first impressions interviewers make. Interviewers who greeted them with a good handshake (60%) also contributed towards how they perceived them during the interview process.

Conversational skills have been highlighted in this survey with 58% of surveyors stating that good verbal communication with their interviewer along with punctuality (51%), and the way the interviewer was dressed (50%) made a good first impression on them. 35% of candidates also stated that they would not be interested in a job position if the reception area didn’t appeal to them, 44% said they’d decline a job offer if the room they were being interviewed in wasn’t well presented, 51% said that if they were kept waiting too long for the interview to begin they would turn down a job offer, and 42% would base their decision on accepting a job offer on how they were treated by the receptionist.’s Managing Director for the UK and Ireland, Andrew Sumner commented that:

‘In an incredibly competitive job market, this demonstrates how important getting the basics right are at an interview. The guidance from the research for job seekers could be summed up by the three Ps – be Prompt, Prepared and well Presented.

It also highlights that candidates are sensitive to first impressions too. Those involved in the recruitment process have to be just as attentive and engaged as they expect their employees to be, otherwise they risk missing out on the best talent.’

This survey proves that the interview process isn’t one-sided, both candidates and employers need to dress to impress, be relatable and present themselves as best as they possibly can. For employers that means recruiting top talent and for candidates it means securing the job they want - neither one can afford any mistakes in today’s job market.

Image credit - Sean De Burca

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