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Talent Talk: These Days, It’s Employers Who Need to Worry About First Impressions

Two weeks ago, we looked at studies indicating that if every man, women, and child who wanted a job had one, there would still be more than four million unfilled positions. What this means for the plastics industry, unfortunately, is that there will be winners and losers in the pursuit of talent for quite some time to come.

Last week, we began a series of articles that will “cut to the chase” on steps you and your company can take right now to improve your chances of getting more wins. In that article we discussed how to make sure you are not losing potential candidates before you even have the chance to talk with them. This week we will talk about what is arguably the most important part of the recruitment process — the first impression.

Many studies have been conducted and books written about first impressions and why they are so important to humans, yet its importance in hiring is often overlooked. In this candidate-short market, they are interviewing you and your company as much if not more than you are interviewing them. You may not like that, but you must accept it if you want to attract the best talent.

Prepare for the first interview. Study their resume and note some highlights. That could be where they went to school, accomplishments, interesting experiences, skill sets, and so on. You may be able to find additional information on LinkedIn.

Make the candidate feel at ease. Ask good questions. The days of crossing your arms and saying, “So tell me, why should we hire you?” went out with the leisure suit. Your single most important goal as an interviewer is to discover the candidate’s main motivating factors for their next career move (other than money).

It is perfectly acceptable to have a presentation on the great things about your company early in the interview. If you can defer that until after you understand the candidate’s motivations, however, you can increase the effectiveness of that presentation by an order of magnitude.

If someone asks you to recommend a great restaurant for a special occasion, would you immediately tell them about your favorite restaurant (okay), or ask them what kinds of food they like (much better)? Sell your job opportunities and your company based on the candidate’s goals and you will immediately leapfrog most of your competition.

About the author

Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Sturgeon at [email protected].

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