Dear Matt: We all hear that recruiter's screen rsums in less than 10 seconds. How quickly do interviewers make judgments in the interview? What can I do to ensure a good first impression?
Matt says: Three seconds -- that's how long it takes for people to make up their minds about us, our products and our ideas, says David Gee of 3 Second Selling (3secondselling.com), a Twin Cities-based sales and consulting firm.
"Few people realize how much -- and how quickly -- information about us is being processed when we meet someone," said Gee. "That's true whether we are talking about a formal job interview, a sales situation -- or simply standing in line for coffee."
That's why before we can make an impression on others, the first thing we need to know well is ourselves, said Gee. It's part of his 3 Second Selling philosophy -- a simple three-part process that gives anyone the ability to share stories, pique someone's curiosity and set the stage for an original, authentic, memorable moment.
"It's figuring out our elevator speech, our unique value proposition, what it is that we are bringing to an engagement, or a job, that is absolutely one-of-a-kind," said Gee. "There is only one of us in this world. Nobody else has our exact experiences, skill sets and so on."
The second thing we need to think about in order to make a positive impression is who is going to be across the table from us -- HR person, an executive recruiter, a department head? This should inform how we look, act and dress, and what the first words out of our mouth should be.
Keep in mind that judgments about us are being made before we even speak. Know that you are communicating even when your mouth isn't moving.
Gee was a speaker at a recent Twin Cities conference featuring numerous local recruiters, headhunters, hiring managers and HR personnel. When talking with attendees following his presentation, the biggest topic the audience (i.e. those local hiring decision makers) talked about was the importance of authenticity.
"Every one of the comments from people who came up to me had to do with authenticity, and the importance of being authentic in the interview process," Gee said. "That applies to the interviewer as well. So know yourself, know your audience, know what it is you want, and then be yourself. And know finally that you have to make an emotional connection with the interviewer, because every single decision we make, and that others make about us, is rooted in -- and driven by -- emotion."