Get Through First 5 Minutes of Interview – or Fail!
By Tom Sorensen
Thursday, 23rd May 2024

The candidate’s first 5 minutes of an interview establish the critical foundation, likability. Indisputable evidence provided by analytics.

Likability is what all other discussions in the job interview will be based on.

Likability can be defined as having a nice, pleasant, and agreeable personality. It is being cooperative, friendly, and socially accepted by others. Likeable people tend to endear themselves to others and make friends easily.

The 7-38-55 Rule in communication

The 7-38-55 rule in daily communication indicates that only 7% of all communication is done through verbal communication, meaning the words we speak. The 93% (38+55) is non-verbal.

  • The nonverbal 93% component of your daily communication, such as the tone of your voice, makes up 38%. Your body language and facial expressions are a high 55%.

Your first 5 minutes is about the knowing and, most importantly, the liking. If this is successfully accomplished, the rest of the interview is about trusting; so the interviewer trusts that you can meet the job requirements and exceed expectations.

The 80% Rule when interviewing

You know the cliché, we seldom get a second chance to make a good first impression.

Your first 5-minutes of the job interview is crucial.

A study based on university students found they had mostly made their minds up about the person in front of them before 100 milliseconds. Milliseconds that is.

Before you even open your mouth to say hello, the interviewer is already forming an opinion about you.

Good, bad, or something in between, important hiring opinions are already being made before any job-related discussions begin based on these factors:

  • Your appearance
  • Your physiology (body type)
  • Your attire (clothes)
  • Your body language
  • Your facial expression
  • Eye contact
  • Handshake

First impressions in video interview

It’s equally important that your first few seconds in a Zoom or Teams video interview are appropriate and planned with confidence. Be on guard from the second you are online.

  • Your laptop or tablet is not meant to be a mirror when you are already online
  • Don’t check your hairdo and makeup when you are already connected
  • If your dog barks or your children cry, don’t hush and panic
  • Don’t start with: Hello, can you hear me?

You know the cliché, we seldom get a second chance to make a good first impression.

Dress up: Video interviewing is a business meeting, so dress up appropriately.

Check your surroundings: Before your interview, turn on the camera to see what is in the background of the shot.

Test your equipment: Log in ahead of time to the Zoom or Teams meeting. Ensure everything is in working order.

Test the lighting: Test the lighting on a different day around the same time as the interview to see how the sun or darkness will affect your camera.

Find a quiet place: To limit distractions, make sure that family members or pets will not turn up during your interview.

Prepare a cheat sheet: Have your resume on the desk, and have your prepared answers and achievements on a paper in front of you.

6 interview questions you should be ready for

Some interview questions seem to be more popular when employers and recruiters talk to you.

Some or all of the following six interview questions will very likely be used in any type of interview.

So, sit down, list out what you think your answers should be. By all means, write your answers down and bring the paper with you.

When you get the question(s), you can say: “Thank you, I hoped you would ask me this question. I thought about it, took some notes (look at the paper). Then answer.

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. What do you know about our company?
  3. Why do you believe you’re the best candidate for this job?
  4. Why should we hire you?
  5. Why do you want to leave your current job?
  6. What are your salary and benefits?

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.


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