First impressions matter. It’s not only the candidate being interviewed that has to make a great first impression but it’s vitally important for the employer to make a great first impression for the candidate. With all the talk of job losses as a result of COVID-19 if you are looking to hire you may think that you’ll be able to have the cream of the crop when it comes to candidates, however for many industries, the reality is there are still significant candidate shortages. Hence, the need to make sure as an employer that you are making a great first impression when you do get the opportunity to interview candidates.

Just as you are assessing the candidate and determining if they are the right fit for your business, the candidate more than ever is assessing you in exactly the same way, asking themselves, are you a good fit for them? In industries that are experiencing candidate shortages, the reality is that candidates have choices, they are sought after and are in demand so if you are giving off a poor vibe, guess what? Your chances of securing them as an employee are not good.

What gives candidates a bad vibe? What can you do to make a great first impression when you are next hiring? Here are the key things that we see turn potential candidates off:

Not Showing Genuine Interest

I get it, recruiting is time consuming. You are hiring because you need more help and resources so you feel like you don’t have time to interview. However not making the effort and taking the time now is only going to cost you more time in the long run. Not showing genuine interest in this environment looks like:

  • Doing two things at once while interviewing online. You’ve got multiple screens, the candidate is on one, they’re talking away answering a question and you take a sneaky look at your emails or just keep doing that urgent bit of work on the side. Did you know they can tell? They might not know for sure that you are responding to an email but they absolutely get the vibe that they don’t have your full attention. If you are going to type or write notes or be looking at their resume on another screen tell them that is what you are doing so they understand. Maintaining eye contact and displaying positive body language matters online just as it would if you were interviewing face to face.
  • Not looking at the screen. I’m surprised at how many times I see this happen. For some reason people look at one computer screen but their camera is on another screen so the whole interview is conducted looking at the side of their face. Not an engaging experience at all. Eye contact, even online, is critical. Just as I would tell a candidate to trial their IT set up and make sure everything is working schmick, employers you need to do exactly the same. Have a trial run at interviewing online. You need to ensure you are connecting with the candidate and building trust and rapport during the interview, it is the foundation of any successful relationship.

Good Things Take Time

As I mentioned earlier, recruiting can be time consuming and we all know Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you want the best candidate for the job you have to invest the time in getting to know them.

  • Racing through interviews is never going to get you a good result. I cannot possibly understand how you can determine if a candidate is a good fit for you in under 20 or 30 minutes. Thorough interviews take time and once you have asked all your questions you need to give the candidate plenty of time to ask their questions. Having a list of questions prepared is essential as you need to be clear on what criteria you are assessing and measuring the candidate against. A job interview isn’t a 20 minute chat. Believe it or not a quick interview without the detailed and challenging questions can be a turn off to the candidate. They feel that you are not taking the interview process seriously or investing the time and it’s a deterrent for them.
  • A well constructed interview will allow plenty of time for you to share the story of the business (the history, why you exist, how you are different, your culture, a bit about your team, what the job entails, some of the challenges), the candidate will have the opportunity to tell you about them, you’ll ask them specific questions to assess their skills, experience and culture fit, and then they’ll have the opportunity to ask questions – interview you. I’d be surprised if you can do that thoroughly in under 45 minutes and skipping any of those elements results in reduced engagement from the potential candidate.

Employers, if you are interviewing, I’d encourage you to take 5 minutes to stop and think about the experience you would want or expect if you were going to be sitting on the other side of the interview table  – or the other side of the video camera. What would be important for you to make you want to work for a business? Chances are if it is important to you, it will be important to your next new hire. What first impression are you making and how can you improve the first impression you are giving?



Disclaimer: The material contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is intended to be, legal advice. If you wish to act based on the content of this publication, we recommend that you seek professional advice.

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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