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Asked by David on February 8, 2015

I've heard many times that an interviewer generally knows if a candidate is a fit or not within the first 15 seconds of meeting them. In your experience is this true for you? If so what do you look for? What are the good things, bad things, and automatic red flags?

Answered by Ellen, Hiring Expert at Hospira, on February 9, 2015

While presenting yourself in a CV or cover letter could be a challenge, there are several ways you can make yourself stand out to a potential employer.  First, take time to think about your skills against the job description.  Everything you have done should demonstrate how you can add value.  Tell how your experiences apply to the role you are seeking.  Be direct.  Take time to think about how you connect to the companies products or mission.  Highlight how you will fit in.  Lastly, employers want to know that you will fit in the culture. Take time to research the culture and tell stories that will help the employer know you should be a part of the team. 

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Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on February 9, 2015

An interviewer can’t know that you’re the right candidate in 15 seconds, however he or she could feel like they know you’re *not* the right candidate in that amount of time. Meaning, it’s easy to blow it early on by dressing inappropriately, being late, not being prepared with copies of your resume, failing to exude energy and interest, and overall portraying mannerisms that are not a match for the job. Assuming you’ve mastered all of those points, it should take the entire interview length (plus several more interviews in some cases) to evaluate your qualifications against other good candidates. So be confident, dress appropriately, smile, shake hands, have copies of your resume, and be on time, and you will have earned the attention of the interviewer for the length of the meeting.

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Answered by John, Hiring Expert at DuPont, on February 10, 2015

First impressions are very important.  Be professional during your first meeting with an recruiter or interviewer, regardless of the event (career fair, information session, campus interview).    Also, recruiters are observing competencies such as communication and interpersonal skills constantly.  Preparation is important.  Do some research before the event to learn more about the company, so you can ask informed questions.  Take time to develop a high-impact resume. Workbloom.com is a nice site that has a broad range of examples of effective resume formats.

Try your best not to be late for a pre-scheduled meeting.   Do not be long-winded on answers to questions.  Do not waste the interviewer's time.  Ensure you meet all the criteria for the position for which you are applying.  Do not go to a recruiting event displaying poor personal hygiene.  

Hopefully, this is a start.  Thanks for your question. 

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Answered by Emily, Hiring Expert at Praxair, Inc., on February 13, 2015

I think determining if a candidate is a good fit or not within the first 15 seconds is very unlikely – However, I think this rule is very true within the first 15 minutes.  During the interview process, you may only have 30 minutes with the recruiter or hiring manager, so you can’t afford to make a bad first impression.
 A few good things that stand out in the first few minutes of meeting a candidate are eye contact, a firm handshake, and good examples of your accomplishments and challenges.  Some examples of red flags are not dressing appropriately for the interview, arriving late, and generally not being well prepared for the meeting.  If you aren’t ready to talk about what the company does and why you want to work there, along with specific examples of your past experiences, then you haven’t prepared enough.
Do your homework, iron a suit, relax and be personable.  Good luck!

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