Recruiter Roundtable: The First 10 Minutes

Recruiter Roundtable: The First 10 Minutes

By Yahoo! HotJobs

The Recruiter Roundtable is a monthly feature that collects career and job-seeking advice from a group of recruiting experts throughout the US.      

The question we put before our panel this month is: "Many recruiters and hiring managers make hiring decisions within the first 10 minutes of meeting a candidate. What practical advice or tips would you give to job applicants to make sure they make the best possible impression in the first 10 minutes of an interview?"

Project Enthusiasm Right Away

Applicants should know the interview begins as soon as they arrive at the employer's office, making it imperative for them to project enthusiasm and confidence from the moment they walk in the door. The fact that employers form opinions of candidates so quickly places additional importance on the more subtle points of interviews, such as giving a firm handshake, maintaining eye contact and practicing good posture. In addition to providing strong responses to a hiring manager's questions, candidates must project enthusiasm and a professional demeanor from the outset of the discussion.

-- Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources

Dress It Up

I haven't found [making decisions in 10 minutes] to be true, and we've been focusing on training our managers to gather all the facts before they make their decision. Having said that, we're all human, so I would recommend candidates dress for success. Overdress rather than underdress especially in our business environment, give a firm handshake and use eye contact.

-- Erin Erickson, recruiter, regional banking, Wells Fargo

Prepare with Examples

The core lesson many recruiting experts advise interviewers is to not make any decisions about a candidate within the first 30 minutes of an interview. Yet, we all know that we make instant judgments when we meet people.

What we've seen as a very efficient way for a candidate to impress any interviewer is to thoroughly prepare for an interview. For instance, if you are a graphic artist, come with samples of your work. Similarly, if you are in sales, be prepared to present details of your performance from the past couple of years.

-- Yves Lermusi, CEO, Checkster

Clean Your Fingernails

Many hiring managers go on first impression and spend the rest of the interview justifying their decision. First impression is everything. Learn as much as possible about the hiring manager and the people you are meeting with before the interview. It's always a good ice-breaker to mention some of your common interests or ties and let the conversation naturally slide into the interview. Engage the interviewer in conversation. Appearance has a lot to do with that first impression, too -- dress smart and appropriate for the interview and position. I've seen perfectly capable and qualified candidates rejected because they forgot to polish their shoes or came in with dirty fingernails.

If the hiring manager is conducting an in-person interview, they have usually already seen your resume and have a good feel for your qualifications. The first 10 minutes is more about the "culture" fit than the qualifications.

-- Lindsay Olson, partner, Paradigm Staffing