Seven seconds – that is how long it takes humans to form a first impression, according to researchers. It turns out that humans are hard-wired to make snap judgments. Furthermore, that initial impression is often hard to break once it is set.

What does this mean for talent managers, recruiters, and hiring managers? Since you do not get a second chance to make a first impression, it is important to take steps to make that first impression as favorable as possible for top candidates that interview with your organization. Here’s how to do that.

1) Start with a seamless application submission process.

For some of your candidates, the first interaction with your company will be at the moment of application and resume submission. Think about your current application tracking system. Does it provide a user experience which reflects your corporate culture? Applicant tracking systems that make the process of submission easy and painless leave applicants with a good initial impression of your company.

Template: Creating Ideal Candidate Personas – Our free persona template will help you improve your talent acquisition by identifying who your ideal candidates are and how best to reach them.

2) Clearly outline responsibilities and potential career advancement paths in your job descriptions.

No one in the hiring process wants to waste time, including top candidates themselves. According to LinkedIn, 69 percent of candidates identify a clear listing of responsibilities for the open position to be more important to know upfront than knowing the annual salary range or understanding the corporate culture. The lesson? Make your job descriptions as clear as possible to help unsuitable candidates weed themselves out of the hiring process from the get-go.

3) Define career advancement paths from the beginning.

According to LinkedIn, 59 percent of applicants are interested in understanding a position’s potential scope for development and advancement. So, do not neglect to let candidates know that the open position for which you are currently hiring is not a dead-end job. Sketch out the potential career trajectory for which the current job is a starting point.

4) Prepare well for the interview.

If you really want top talent to fall in love with your company, it is essential to make the interview process as enjoyable as possible. Convey your genuine interest in candidates by being well prepared for their interview with you.

This involves taking the time to review their resume carefully before they arrive. There are few things more disheartening to a candidate than an interviewer who obviously has taken no time to look at materials already submitted through the applicant tracking system.

Highly qualified candidates want and expect to be courted. They understand their worth to your organization. What they need to know is whether your organization is worthy of their talent. Your professionalism in an interview will help candidates quickly see that your organization is committed to excellence. That is a very appealing quality for well-qualified candidates.

5) Watch your body language.

To win the hearts of your candidates, remember that first impressions are often formed based on non-verbal cues. In addition to simply saying the right things, you must also watch your body language. LinkedIn gives these body language tips:

  • Begin with a welcoming attitude.
  • Maintain straight, relaxed posture.
  • Avoid crossing your arms or legs.
  • Smile and listen actively, nodding where appropriate.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Keep that handshake firm but gentle.

The Bottom Line

Highly qualified candidates may be hard to find. Since the job market is highly competitive for organizations today, it behooves recruiters and hiring managers to work to make a positive first impression on prospective candidates.

You can accomplish this by providing a seamless application submission process, clearly defining the responsibilities of the current position along with advancement opportunities it affords, preparing well for candidate interviews, and using appropriate body language cues to make candidates feel at ease.

Making that all-important first impression starts with having the right applicant tracking system in place. Thrive TRM is a total talent management solution that includes robust applicant tracking capabilities. Thrive TRM streamlines the hiring process, providing an optimal candidate experience from application to onboarding and beyond. Take just a moment to schedule a demo of Thrive TRM today.