Don’t Miss Your Next Opportunity Because of First Impressions

First impressions text

This week, as I sail the high seas on vacation, I was contemplating different scenarios that have occurred over the year where people, and now even my daughter, have or would potentially lose out on great opportunities because of first impressions. First impressions are ones that you should be aware of and even cognizant of, but they should only be that: a first impression. Many times, a closer look is warranted, which is something your recruiter can help with.

Put Your Bias Aside with First Impressions

Bias is a problem when you are a job hunter, not necessarily a passive candidate. A job hunter in my mind is someone that needs a new position for reasons unknown only to the hunter. Whether you have been RIF’d or you have chosen to leave your current situation, your bias could be positive or a negative but it should not become a stumbling block. When you are looking for a new position, listening to all of the information you can get and setting aside any preconceived notions about that position is crucial.  For example, one of my candidates told me that under no circumstances would he ever consider “X firm.” But he was open to listen to me. After discussing the benefits of that firm, he agreed to chat with the hiring manager, and, low and behold, everything that he thought he knew about that firm was incorrect.  So, we helped him get his questions addressed and continued the due diligence process, hopefully leading to an offer to hire him.

Keep the Conversation Open

Another example that I briefly mentioned above is that my daughter is in the process of seeking out her next position. A firm reached out to her with an inquiry letter from the hiring manager where they set an expectation of a salary range, which was below my daughter’s current situation.  Rather than not responding to the inquiry letter to interview, she wrote back to the firm, and clearly stated that her current position and salary was greater than the role they were trying to fill. But this did not stop her, and she built upon this for a great first impression. She shared that if they would consider increasing the range and the expected job duties, she would engage in an initial conversation to learn more about the opportunity. To her surprise (but not mine), the hiring manager did indeed want to have a conversation with her and suggested that the range could be increased commensurate with her experience and current position.

There’s Several Sides to Consider

Another great example is when I was dealing with a retired banker, just inquisitive enough to respond to my email campaign for a new position I was promoting. He was incredibly happy playing golf after a highly successful career. But, there was something in the email that tugged at his heart strings, and after a week or so of contemplating whether to reach out to me, he did. I shared the opportunity, and at first he was reluctant to set a call with the hiring manager because he wanted to really think it over. His first impression was clearly “no”, but then Monday he accepted the position.  He said the underlining culture was exactly what he had been craving his entire municipal bond career. The culture and the theme of the firm was so intriguing to him that he’s putting his golf clubs at least Monday through Friday back in the closet and he’s going back to work. His first impression dictated a no, but upon further examination it clearly became a yes.

Change is Everywhere

The point of this blog is to highlight that you shouldn’t just remove a firm off your list because of your first impression, something you may have heard, or even personally experienced.  People change, and with that, firms change accordingly. A great opportunity could be around the corner, if you remain open minded enough to listen when a new opportunity is presented to you.