First Impressions Are Key in the Hiring Process
A new study shows the critical role emotional connections play in interviews.
Posted Mar 31, 2016
First impressions are naturally important in many endeavors — be they personal or business relationships. Just how important they are, however, in bringing on board new talent is emphasized by a new study examining the role that personal and emotional connections play in the hiring process.
The study also underscores the critical but often underestimated role HR plays in the process — since HR is frequently the source of that key first impression.
According to a blog post by Sheila Lothian of Mattersight, the firm that conducted this study, roughly four out of five survey respondents felt that the personal connections formed in the hiring process play a significant role in whether or not a candidate decides to join a company.
“A candidate inevitably does form emotional impressions of a company during the interview process: about the people, culture, values, and more,” Lothian wrote. “And those impressions have a huge impact on whether he or she accepts an offer or keeps on looking. 80% of respondents said that it’s important to have a personal connection with a hiring manager, and nearly 80% said they’d take one job over another based on the connections formed during the interview process.”
Capable ambassadors count - Hiring processes, of course, vary from company to company. Sometimes the initial point of contact is the hiring manager, but often it’s someone from HR. While the hiring manager is a constant that can’t be changed, the HR representative is a variable that can. This study underscores just how important it is for HR to have capable, knowledgeable ambassadors who represent a company well when these first impressions are being made: In the early stages even casual conversations can subtly, deeply affect a prospective employee’s view of an organization.
This research resonated with me, as it made me think back, after numerous decades, to my last being-hired experience.
Today, 30 years after the interview and four years after retiring from the company (MassMutual Financial Group) after working there 26 years, I still clearly remember my HR interview: the thoughtful questions the interviewer asked about my background, her description of the character of the organization, and her perceptions of my potential fit for it. (Cathy Marion, if you’re out there somewhere reading, belated thanks for making a fine first impression, and hope all’s going well for you.)
This article first appeared at Forbes.com.
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Victor is author of The Type B Manager: Leading Successfully in a Type A World.