First Impressions – Don’t Get Fooled

Disastrous hires can happen when managers are fooled by first impressions. But how can you get beyond the superficial during a brief interview?

The key is to focus on behaviors rather than traits. For example, if the interviewee describes them-self as a “team player,” do they credit other people when discussing their work? Look beyond what the candidate is saying and focus on how they are they saying it.

Watch for nonverbal cues that signal contempt, superiority, and disrespect: eye contact when speaking to another person but not when listening to them or invading another’s space.

Another telling question: Ask them to describe their least preferred coworker. Listen for whether they reduce the person to a one-word label (e.g., “difficult” or “micro-manager”) or reveal a more complex view of the situation (e.g., “we disagreed about how to get the job done because we were trained in different ways”).


Adapted from “How to Hire Without Getting Fooled by First Impressions,”

by Tanya Menon and Leigh Thompson

Trevor Lee – EP International


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