The importance of first impressions

This month I want to talk about first impressions.


Two months ago, a friend applied for a job at a local business.  Despite including an email, telephone number and address, he’s heard nothing.  I call that rude.  That business has lost my respect and, for now, my custom.


It could have been so different….

Compare that to a company I went to visit last month.  The business had very little parking around it but reserved a space for me outside their front door.  When I arrived at Security and then later at Reception, I was greeted by name.   What a great first impression.

However, for me, the cherry on the cake was when I sat down to talk to the Managing Director.  When I remarked what a great first impression it had been, he asked me to describe the security man.  Why?  He wanted to thank him for greeting me so well.  He thanked the receptionist as I was leaving.

The business concerned had recently taken on a large number of new recruits who were all performing really well.  Is it any wonder they were able to select great candidates if they had been treated the same as I had when they arrived for interview?


First impressions don’t always come when you expect them to

This month also saw a candidate, late for interview, push another commuter and tell him to “f*** off” as he did so.  What he did not realise is that the commuter he swore at was the person who was interviewing him at 8.30am that morning!


How can you create your own good first impression?

You may not have the facilities to offer parking spaces or brief security teams.  That does not mean you can’t create your own great first impression.

  • Consider whether your website is welcoming and helpful.
  • Respond to every CV you receive within 48 hours – even if it’s only to say when you will be back to them.
  • Be polite and respectful to every candidate. Today’s unsuccessful candidate could be tomorrow’s customer.
  • Brief the person who they are first likely to meet. Make them feel expected.
  • Be organised, on time and ready for the interview. This candidate could be perfect.
  • Remember your candidate will be watching you too. How you interact with your staff will form their first impression of how you are likely to be as a boss.
  • Tell them when you are going to be back to them, and do it.
  • Have a professional contract ready to send to you ideal candidate.


If you are struggling to recruit good staff, ask yourself what first impressions you are giving as a business.  Good manners and great organisation can go a long way.


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