How long does it take for you to know a candidate is ‘the one’?

They say first impressions count. This is probably never more pronounced than in the job interview. It’s a judgemental process, and as humans we’re all fallible to unconscious bias. Most firms will take many steps to ensure they’re making the most informed decision they can when hiring into their teams, carefully assessing to understand an individual’s capability, the qualities they’ll bring to the business. However, when push comes to shove, is there still a great tendency for hiring managers to ultimately make their decision based on how well they personally ‘clicked’ with one person over another?

Research shows people will instinctively make judgements about another person’s trustworthiness and competence within seconds. If this is the case, then the chances are first impressions really can count! But surely in a job interview the process will be thorough enough to ensure there is more at play than the snap judgements of the first encounter?

How long do you have before you’ve persuaded the hiring manager that you’re ‘the one’ for the job?

1 hour? 20 minutes? 5 minutes? Less than 1 minute?!!!

I’ve linked an article in The Guardian to research from the University of Oregon which I found really interesting……or should I say alarming! They used an observer to watch videos of real job interviews, with the task to see how quickly they could predict which candidate was going to be successfully offered the job, based purely on the way they interacted with each other.

The findings……it took just 15 seconds for the observer to make an accurate prediction! 15 seconds!

Naturally, people will react to others in different ways, with different working chemistries, the key in successful hiring is to recognise that unconscious bias will exist in a selection process, and to take necessary steps to mitigate. First impressions are important, but viewing a candidate with objectivity is critical, assessing diligently to determine who will be most successful in the role, not whom you’ll like working with the most, or dare I say it whom you believe will ‘fit in’ the best.

So you could take the route of hiring purely on ‘gut’ instinct rather than making a little extra effort to create and follow a suitably rigorous and fair hiring process, they also say ignorance is bliss. But, in recruitment terms, a bad hire is thought to cost the equivalent of a third of their first years’ earnings, which doesn’t sound so blissful to me!

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