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The Most Important Part of the Interview Starts Before the Interview

The most powerful impact on the interviewing process starts before the first question is even asked. Unfortunately, companies and HR never focus on this. The result is often a bad hire.

First impressions interfere with objectivity and distort the interviewing process.

The key to emotional preparation is to recognize the power of first impressions and take conscious steps to recognize and then minimize their effect on the overall interview.

Drawing a first impression is a natural human reaction. It is unavoidable. No matter how you prepare, you are going to react in an instant to superficial physical characteristics and personal mannerisms. Sometimes the first impression will be negative, sometimes positive. Regardless, the first impression rarely correlates with reality.

As professional recruiters and interviewers, we confess that we too still struggle with the power of a first impression— positive and negative. However, as professionals, we’ve learned how to recognize and then minimize that effect. We’ve learned that focusing on what the candidate needs to accomplish and working through a structured interviewing methodology, we can achieve a very high level of objectivity in the assessment of talent.

Effective interviewers learn to tame their surface impressions. As executive recruiters we have had over 10,000 interviews and even with that extensive interviewing experience, we still have first impressions, both positive and negative. The only difference between us and many hiring managers is that we have learned to set our first impressions aside, regardless of whether it was positive or negative, and conduct a thorough in-depth probing interview. Then at the end of the interview we look back and decide if the first impression is still valid. To our surprise many times that first impression is wrong.

Train yourself and all the others on your interviewing team about the power of the first impression.Then train yourself and your team (and it will take training), to set the first impression aside until after the interview. Doing this one thing can dramatically improve the interviewing process in your company.

In our book, “You’re NOT The Person I Hired” this topic is so important we dedicated multiple chapters to interviewing and how to ensure your team become outstanding interviewers.

In future articles, we will list three things you and your team can do to reduce the impact of the first impression.

If this was helpfulHealth Fitness Articles, please forward it on. If you have any comments we welcome those as well.

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IMPACT Hiring Solutions is a best practices hiring company that provides retained executive search, job search coaching and programs for companies that help them attract, hire and retain top talent.

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