Job interviews aren't much different from speed dating, a new survey suggests.
A survey by online job search website Accountemps reveals that during interviews, 60 percent of human resources managers form a positive or negative opinion of job candidates in 10 minutes or less. Nearly one in five of those surveyed said it takes them less than five minutes to draw conclusions about an interviewee.
It takes just 1 percent of hiring mangers longer than a half hour to form an opinion of an interviewee.
"Candidates are under scrutiny from the moment they arrive for an interview," said Max Messmer, Accountemps chairman. "Job seekers should convey their professionalism, including through their body language, and be able to quickly highlight the value they bring to the organization using a well-honed elevator pitch."
Accountemps offers several tips for getting a job interview off on the right foot, including:
- Pay Attention to the Details: Extend a firm handshake, maintain eye contact and present a professional image. This includes ensuring shoes are shined, clothing is pressed and nails are clean and trimmed.
- Ace the Likely Questions: Make sure you know how you will respond to predictable questions, such as, "Can you tell me a little about yourself?" Research the firm before an interview and tap your network for their insights to enable you to position your answers in the context of how you can help the company.
- Don't Be Cocky: Strike the right balance between presenting your accomplishments in a positive light and coming across as overly confident. Being arrogant is one of the worst mistakes a candidate can make.
- Tell Memorable Stories: Give specific examples of how and why you've been successful. You'll make a positive impression on hiring managers by sharing interesting anecdotes about how you solved a tough business problem or saved an employer money.
- Be Yourself: Avoid coming across as overly rehearsed. Interviewers want to get a sense of your personality and how you would fit into the office culture.
The research was based on interviews with more than 500 HR managers at U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.