First impressions are everything. Whether it’s a date or an interview, how you come across in the first few minutes of your interaction will most likely determine your future relationship. For candidates who are job seeking, they spend hours of time going over their resume to make sure it says exactly what they want it to say about them. They focus on their attire – finding the perfect “interview outfit” can be a process. Candidates also spend time going over potential interview questions and rehearsing the ideal answers. As an employer, are you investing the same amount of time to make sure your first impression to candidates is accurate? Is your first impression drawing candidates to you or away from you?
For an employer, first impressions can cover many aspects of the business. From website design to landscaping, a candidate gets a good idea about a company before the interview begins. Lobby decorations can be overlooked but the most important first impression to a candidate is their interaction with the first employee they meet – the receptionist. Does your receptionist embody your company? Do they dress a step above the rest of the office or are they wearing casual/wrinkled/messy clothing? Are they friendly and welcoming or will the candidate feel like they’re getting a brush off? How does your receptionist answer their phone? Is it a professional greeting such as “Good morning! Thank you for calling Celebrity Staff. This is Shannon. How can I help you?” Our manager told a story in our staff meeting this week about calling into a company and the receptionist answered the phone “Hello?” My manager was caught off guard and asked “Did I call a business?” to which the receptionist replied “Oh yeah, this is ABC Company”. If my manager had been a job applicant, what would they think about the professionalism of your organization?
The second employee that potential employees interact with is their interviewer. I have heard many times over in my interviews with candidates that they were shocked with how thorough I was being and the depth of questions I was asking them. Is your interviewer asking basic questions about their work history (duties, software usage, etc.) or are they digging deeper into reasons for leaving, performance measures, pace of work, potential accomplishments, or proud moments in their career? The depth that an interviewer understands a candidate, their history, and their motivations play directly into the impression that a candidate has of a company.
An interview with a candidate is the ultimate first impression for your opinion of them and also their opinion of you. I have seen many candidates come back from interviews and decide that the company is not a fit for them. Is your hiring manager being thorough and leaving the candidate satisfied that they understand their background? Is your receptionist giving off a professional, polished, and friendly first impression of your company? If you answered “no” to either of those questions, find the time to sit down and talk with the individual about their role and how to create the first impression your organization is looking to portray.
Shannon Young is a Recruiter for Celebrity Staff Kansas City and has been with the company since November 2012. Shannon graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Cedarville University and spent time after college in a business to business sales role. As a Recruiter, Shannon enjoys learning the ins and outs of companies all over Kansas City and loves the feeling when she’s able to match a qualified candidate with an exciting opportunity. In her free time, Shannon enjoys going to concerts around Kansas City and traveling with her friends to new places.