First impressions are important, especially when it comes to applying for a job.
As a recruiter, I start forming an image of who a candidate is, as a person, from the very first time I look at their CV. It continues developing through email correspondence and phone conversations, and, by the time we meet in person, I usually have a pretty decent idea of who they are.
Or do I?
I am sure we have all heard of stereotypes and cognitive biases, and how we should stay away from ‘judging a book by its cover’. However, in recruitment, when you are constantly in the process of meeting new people and assessing dozens of candidates on daily basis, it is so easy to fall into the bad habit of making quick judgements.
So when I came across this article on LinkedIn, it really made me think about my approach to screening candidates. It is pretty obvious how forming a bad first impression can be harmful, but what I found most interesting is that positive first impressions are just as dangerous!
Solution? Trust your gut, but give every candidate the benefit of the doubt. You might just surprise yourself with what you learn about people when you put your feelings aside.
Your immediate impression is a good predictor for how you’ll feel about a person over time, but don’t let your (possibly biased) feelings cloud your professional judgment. Know your limitations, work to overcome them, and don’t forget to make a good first impression yourself.