First Impressions Count…

First Impressions Count…

I think it’s fair to say that we have all heard of the saying “first impressions count”, but possibly not considered this in the context of recruiting. In this situation, however, it is worthwhile giving this saying more respect as it is so relevant.

Candidates

Job hunting is challenging for many people, given that we don’t undertake this exercise often and have probably received little or no guidance and support in the best methods to approach this task. Two elements that are a pre-requisite are a CV and a job application letter and these are the first impressions that a prospective employer has of you. It is essential when preparing these documents that you give plenty of thought to both to ensure they reflect your skills, qualifications and experience accurately and positively. The layout should catch the attention of the reader encouraging them to investigate further, offering concise and detailed information, whilst poor spelling and grammar will only deter and detract from your message. It’s also good to have a template that you can tailor to each company and opportunity you are looking at, rather than sending out a generic version to every employer. This will allow you to personalise your application, to highlight your most relevant skills and experience and the aspects that attract you to the post in question. So, plan and give yourself the time to ensure you are happy with both documents before they are required, this could be the difference between your application receiving an interview invite or ending up on the rejected pile.

Employers

Recruiting new employees is an expensive and time consuming exercise, regardless of the method and approach you choose. In a candidate-driven market, identifying talent is not straight forward, but it is a greater challenge to secure and engage that talent and this is where first impressions count.

Often when employers are in a recruitment situation time is of the essence due to a new contract deadline, an existing employee leaving, a new product launch etc. Hiring Managers are under increasing pressure to recruit with little time to do this. There are, however, steps that can be put in place to lesson this pressure. Company information packs, including a job description and person specification, can be prepared in advance and present a professional and organised impression to prospective employees. Hiring Managers are the first face-to-face contact that the candidate has with the organisation and need to be well briefed in the culture, history and future of the business to promote a positive view of the company. It is also imperative they understand that the best talent will often have several employment options available and the impression they leave could determine whether the candidate accepts an offer of employment or decides to join one of your competitors!

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