Research has indicated that interviewers make decisions about candidates very quickly, in fact in the first 30 seconds to 2.5 minutes. This tendency to make initial judgments, positive or negative, about a candidate in those first few moments is called ‘first impression error’.

After that first impression is made, most hiring managers will then spend the remainder of the interview searching for validation of that initial decision. First impression error is a major obstacle to developing accurate perceptions of candidates and making a truly informed decision.

The factors that influence that first impression, such as physical presentation, demeanor, tone of voice, aren’t reliable indicators of job performance. Most managers will think of it as ‘gut feeling’ but really it’s an error in their interview approach and one that can cost them great employees.

So, what’s a hiring manager to do?

Fighting off that natural instinct to make quick judgments isn’t easy to overcome. Interviewers need to train themselves to enter interviews with an open mind and actively listen to responses before forming their decisions. Having a set plan for each interview and concentrating on measuring each candidate against the same benchmark can help to weed out bias.

There are also a number of talent assessment tools that can help with developing unbiased profiles of your candidates. At The Headhunters, all of our candidates complete the Workstyle & Performance Profile (WPP). We share the WPP results with our clients to help paint a realistic picture of how a candidate is a great fit for them