Sunday, June 15, 2014

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: Struggling To Land That Job

First Impressions
I was talking to a HR contact recently about first perceptions when hiring and she relayed the following story to me. My contact was recruiting for a customer service based role. She put the ad up on a job board and clearly stated that one of the key requirements for the role was "To provide outstanding level of customer service." The following day the first resumes started to arrive. As she read each resume there was a standout applicant whose resume matched exactly what she was looking for. So she called the person and the call went through to voice mail where she was greeted with a very gruff "You know what to do". That's it. No "Hi you have called..." No pleasantries. Nothing but a gruff "You know what to do". Yep this person would be great at customer service!

I had a similar experience. I was receiving a number of resumes and one arrived in my inbox from big....@ (I'm not going to go in to details needless to say the applicant thought he was an adult film star). The tragedy was that is resume was actually quite good. However I could not get over the email address and kept thinking if this person was going to send me something like this what might they send to our customers.

It may sound harsh and I am sure many of you will read this and say it is just a voice mail or an email address but take a step back and think about it from the person doing the hiring. When one writes the job description an image of the ideal candidate is created. Sure we are not all perfect, but if you are someone who is going to be replying to a job ad it pays to think simply beyond the resume.

The reality, we as humans, make snap decisions based on first impressions. In fact some decisions can be made so fast that the reasoning mind has not even had a chance to react. Princeton Professor, Alex Todorov found in a study that "when we see a new face, our brains decide whether a person is attractive and trustworthy within a tenth of a second....people respond intuitively to faces so rapidly that our reasoning minds may not have time to influence the reaction". (Source).

Additionally the first impression can truly be the last impression.  In a 1992 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Vol. 64, No. 3), Nalini Ambady, PhD, of Tufts University, and Robert Rosenthal, PhD, of the University of California, Riverside, found that after the first 30 seconds of the first class, students' evaluations of a teacher were similar to students who rated the teacher after the entire semester. (Source)

Landing that next great job is not easy. There are sure to be a multitude of candidates and competition will be tough. The question you have to ask yourself is will you be seen as Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde? If decisions that will effect your career can be made so quickly, you need to ensure that you are one step ahead of the decision maker. There is no use having the resume of Dr Jekyll but answering the phone as Mr Hyde. Return to paragraph one if you remain uncertain.