It is crucial for employers to create a good first impression on candidates. Even if the candidate is interested in joining your company, their ultimate decision more or less depends on their first impression of the company and the interviewer.

While recruiting, you are more or less on the driver’s seat, screening and accepting only those candidates applications whom you deem fit for the role. However, sometimes, you may also be on the receiving end of things, when a candidate rejects the job offer you so generously put forth. There can be various reasons for saying no to the offer, but nothing is more frustrating than knowing that the reasons could have been easily countered with a discussion.

That is why a good first impression on candidates is a must to enhance your chances at winning them over. So, let us check the simple ways in which you can create a good first impression on candidates.

1. Define your requirements

The first step in the process is to clearly define what kind of skills and work experience you require in the candidate. The more well-defined your job role, the better the first impression you create in the mind of the job seeker. After all, why would anyone like to associate with a company that doesn’t know what they want?

So, make sure that every member of the recruitment process knows what the needs and requirements of the job role are in no uncertain terms. Uncertainty or lack of clarity among the ranks about the vacancy and the kind of candidates required often lengthen the recruitment process without generating any favourable outcomes.

According to research, 70% of candidates first need to know their role and the KRAs (Key Responsibility Areas), and 60% join a company because they see scope for advancement and promotions. These aspects are where the company should focus on while hiring for a vacancy — to establish the reason for creating the job role and how the job role will fit with the core values and mission of the company. The job description must be robust and detailed because a weak description will hardly find any takers.

2. Create the right setting

Once the candidate has agreed to appear for a job interview, make sure you create a wonderful first impression for them at the office.

Research states that it takes approximately 95 seconds for the interviewer to come to a decision with regard to the interviewee. It is safe to perceive that it takes about the same time for the interviewee to decide about the employer. So, ensure that the front desk, which consists of your receptionist and secretary, are fully aware of the interview arrangements.

After all, the easiest way to create a bad impression is by demonstrating that your front desk is non-communicative and non-informative about the happenings of the company. Provide detailed information to your front desk so that they don’t run around desperately trying to figure the proceedings in front of the candidate. Equip them with definite information, such as:

  • The names of the candidates
  • The positions they have applied for
  • The time of the interview
  • Point of contact on their arrival
  • Any special arrangements to be made

This activity sets the stage for a smooth interview and orientation process.

3. Be prepared

Most job seekers consider the personal interview stage as the most crucial part of the selection process. As per the latest research, approximately 85% of the job seekers say that a negative experience during the personal interview can alter their decision over a job role or company they were once interested in. Whereas, more than 88% say that a positive interview experience can influence them to reconsider the job role which they had once doubted.

On average, 78% of candidates said that the experience during the interview section of the recruiting has a significant impact on their decision in joining the company. This data is enough to suggest that even candidates expect that the interviewer should be well prepared to take the interview. They prefer an interview where their skills and qualities will be examined and compared to the job roles they have applied for.

Generic or random questions that are not relevant to the scope of work clearly indicates that the hiring manager or interviewer is underprepared to take the interview. All these contribute to an unfavourable interview experience. Most candidates expect two-way communication and want honest answers to their questions.

So, the hiring managers should be prepared for taking the interview. This includes checking the CV thoroughly and doing an entire work experience check of the candidate. This helps to create a good first impression on candidates.

4. Communicate the process and provide feedback

It is essential to communicate the various stages of the selection process to the candidate. This will help them prepare better to face your questions during the interview. Lack of clarity about the rounds of interview often speaks volumes of the employer, which can even build a negative impression on the candidates. Candidates should be informed about the interview stages, duration and the selection method so that the candidate knows the status of the interview.

Opaque communication, such as not intimating the result of the interview to the candidate in a timely manner, creates a poor interview experience. Even if a candidate is unsuccessful, you should let them know why. An employer that gives active feedback during the recruiting process builds a positive initial impression on the candidates.

5. Build an actual impression

There is a very thin line between a good impression and an inflated good impression filled with enhancements. More often, like an inflated balloon, these blown-up impressions don’t last long and deflate very soon. While screening and interviewing candidates, you may have come across some job seekers who have inflated their credentials to qualify for the interview, only to be caught unawares during the interview process.

Imagine how it makes you feel. Frustrated, doesn’t it? The same will be the case with the interviewee if you inflate the prospects of the position during the interview. And when they find out about the reality during the orientation, they will feel as if trapped with a wrong employer.

Sure, it is crucial to highlight the positives and the achievements of your organisation, but the focus should be to create a real impression in front of the selected candidate. Because they will eventually come to know about reality when they join the company. Don’t let the candidates feel that they were misled. This will create a bad company brand image in the recruitment market. Plus, the candidate would lose the motivation to work and perform.

An honest impression will hold great value at every stage of employment. Even when the going gets tougher for the employee, your real impression motivates them to strive through the hard times and to see the brighter side of the job.

Creating a good first impression on candidates reaps double benefits. Firstly, you will find the right candidate for the job. And secondly, it will improve and enhance the brand image of the company in the job market. This will help you attract and acquire the top talent for the job.

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Shalini L

One of the prime contributors for this blog, Expertise in Staffing and Recruitment, Content Strategist by Profession. A Music Lover & Traveller by Choice.

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