First Impressions Count – that goes for employers too!

Ange Connor

First Impressions count when you are recruiting. That’s a given. We’ve all formed an opinion on a candidate when they have called and enquired about our vacancy by the way they have communicated with us and the quality of the questions they have asked. We’ve all made a judgement about someone when we have walked in to reception to greet a candidate for interview by the way they present themselves. And we’ve all crossed a potential candidate off the shortlist because they showed up 10 or 15 minutes late for an interview. First Impressions count.

That goes for employers too!

In exactly the same way you are judging candidates on the first impressions they make, you can be guaranteed that they are making the exact same judgements about you and your business. What first impressions are you making to potential candidates who are interested in your vacancy? Are those potential candidates crossing you off their list of jobs to apply for because of the first impression you are making? How are you presenting?

I hear a lot of feedback from candidates about the first impressions businesses and hiring managers are making when recruiting. Are you making these poor first impressions?

  • Your job advert has spelling and grammar errors in it, is poorly formatted, is too detailed or too brief, it’s all about what you want in a candidate and not about what the job or company can offer
  • You include contact details on the advert for candidates to call and enquire about the vacancy and/or to request a position description, then you take days to return their call or you don’t return their call at all
  • You receive an enquiry about the vacancy you are recruiting for and you don’t dedicate 100% of your attention to the call; you’re checking your emails or you keep working on the task you were performing when you were interrupted by the call. You are distracted with other priorities and end up coming across vague and distant
  • A potential candidate calls to enquire about any further information you can provide on the job or the company. Your response is that it’s all included in the job advert. You make no effort to share information about the job, company, culture or promote the opportunity to the potential candidate
  • You leave contact details out of the advert as you don’t want your time wasted by potential candidates calling with questions or wanting more information. You’re time poor as it is and they either want the job or they don’t, right?
  • The application closing date passes and its weeks (or even months) before you contact candidates and invite them in for an interview
  • You don’t bother to acknowledge receipt of applications and you don’t advise candidates when they have been unsuccessful
  • You keep potential candidates waiting in reception past their interview time because you are running late or are on the telephone or haven’t scheduled enough time for each of the interviews
  • You answer phone calls or check your phone during the interview
  • Your interview process is more like a social chat and you ask irrelevant questions like which footy team do they support

If the shoe was on the other foot and a potential candidate made these types of poor impressions, what lasting first impression would you be left with? Chances are you would rule them out of the recruitment process or they would drop down in their ranking on your shortlist. Yet for some reason employers don’t think about the first impressions they are making to candidates. If you can’t dedicate the time needed to make a winning first impression, have someone else in your team manage the recruitment process or use an agency (and make sure that agency is making a winning first impression as they are representing your business too!). If a candidate makes a poor first impression, they miss out on the job and move on to applying for other jobs. Their reputation may be tarnished with you and your business but that’s as far as it goes. If your business makes a poor first impression with a candidate, I promise you they are telling their friends and family about their experience. Not only do you risk damaging your reputation as an employer, you risk damaging your brand and costing your business customers. How are you presenting? What lasting first impression will your business be remembered for?

About The Author
Ange Connor

Ange is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource (HR) and careers agencies. Ange is an ‘ideas’ person and a ‘big picture’ thinker. She loves to challenge the status quo – in fact, that’s how Inspire HQ began.

Ange has supported hundreds of businesses across Ballarat and regional Victoria to attract, engage, motivate, develop and retain their greatest assets; their people. Ange’s unyielding passion and invaluable knowledge of the recruitment and HR industry ensures she delivers the best solutions for her clients.

Ange has held various board positions and regularly volunteers her time to share her industry and market knowledge. She was recently a Councillor for the Victoria and Tasmania region of the Recruitment Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) of Australia and New Zealand, and she is a current Board Director of the Committee for Ballarat.

For more useful information, follow Ange on LinkedIn.

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