Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
INTERVIEWS / MAR. 09, 2015
version 6, draft 6

Top 5 Factors That Make or Break an Interviewer’s First Impression


Study after study has shown that candidates have just a few minutes to make a good first impression on their potential employers. But what are the key factors that sway an interviewer’s decision? Here are five factors that can make or break an interviewer’s first impression.

See also: Study Reveals How Long it Takes Candidates to Impress Employers

1. Timekeeping

Assuming you haven’t been diagnosed with chronic lateness syndrome, there’s no excuse to be late for an interview, people – even if you’re Bill de Blasio! Candidates who turn up late for an interview and who are fortunate enough to be hired could very soon Bill de Blasio, so watch your timekeeping!

2. The level of interview preparation

As the well-known maxim exhorts us, if we fail to plan, we plan to fail. It’s particularly important to do concerted research about the company, so make sure you’ve checked out factors such as their products, future pipelines, and last year’s profits and targets for the future. Go through the CareerAddict blog for more tips about interview preparation, and read through Glassdoor’s most common interview questions list, which you can find here, courtesy of Forbes.

3. Ability to hold eye contact

Over half of the messages processed by the brain are based on body language, according to Albert Mehrabian. This includes your facial and eye movement. Your eyes are the window to your level of attention, interest, confidence, and trustworthiness; as a society we tend to distrust those who do not hold eye contact with us, and good eye contact makes a candidate appear likeable and well-mannered.

4. Personal appearance

Have a tattoo? Best to hide it! In one study by jobsite Monster, more than two-thirds of employers surveyed said they would be put off hiring a candidate with a tattoo, and a quarter of the employers in the same study conceded that they would "think twice" about hiring someone with a tattoo, no matter if they were a “strong candidate”. Ear piercings are also a no-no with employers. More than three-fifths of the employers in the same survey admitted that a candidate’s dress sense would affect their decision making.

5. Quality of banter/small talk

We tend to be attracted to people who are similar to us, and small talk, or banter, is a quick way to find out whether there are enough similarities to take a risk on a candidate. If you’re not a fan of small talk, here’s a primer on why it’s important with some tips on how to do it.

See also: Is Your Passion for the Job Enough to Win an Interviewer’s Heart?

First impressions are formed very quickly; the early thoughts an interviewer forms about you can make or break your job application. In the aforementioned Monster study, employers ranked first impressions as the second most important factor when considering a candidate for a job.

The employment marketplace is highly competitive – getting your foot in the door can be a tough challenge. So, ’get the basics right’: be on time, be well-prepared, and dress to impress. 

What do you feel are the most important factors that contribute to a good first impression?


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