Employee selection – The first impression counts, but the second is important

Why the first impression counts professionally, but the second is really important.

Why the first impression counts professionally, but the second is really important. A guide for entrepreneurs and employees on the subject of job applications and employee selection.

Why is the first impression so important to us?
How did we get the idea that ten or twenty minutes with a person is enough to even guess what kind of person is behind it?

The fact is, we miss opportunities to meet new interesting people or hire capable employees because of this habit.
Finding out if we can harmonize together and realize projects in cooperation is a process, a long and continuous process. People change, circumstances change and working conditions change as well. It is almost impossible to make the right decision based on a short conversation. What you can do: reduce the risk of making the wrong decision.

The entrepreneur can use the following points to give his or her decision-making process the right objectivity and thus invalidate the deceptive first impression.

Analyze documents

Of course the content of the CV itself is not to be neglected, but one should also look at the big picture. Is it a standard application that is forwarded to all kinds of companies? Is a letter of motivation available? In what way did you apply? How creative or level-headed is the overall appearance?

Job interview

During the conversation itself, two points should be considered. Experience and trust. Not all applicants have the same amount of experience in job interviews. However, practical experience and practice are essential to make the “perfect” first impression.
Likewise, there is no basis of trust at the beginning. Also on this basis, some candidates will be more reserved or nervous and not reveal much about themselves.

The behavior after the application

This can also be another important selection tool. Is the person really behind it? Does he or she get in touch and ask again about the job? Is he or she trying hard to get the job?
Contrasting behavior, namely restraint, can also be of a tactical nature. In this approach, one would like to express “I don’t have to chase a job. The company does not choose me, I choose the company”.


Asking previous employers is also another important point. However one gets in this way only a one-sided opinion obtained. Consultation with the aspirant about the information provided is essential to obtain an undistorted picture.


The existing team should also have a say. Especially in micro and small businesses their opinion should not only be respected but also taken into account. If the employees are unhappy, this affects the entire company. In addition, the newcomer will find it difficult to settle in.

Please note

As soon as a person from your own network is recommended, this casts a positive light on him or her in advance. The same is true for people with whom you have worked before or even worked together.
With former colleagues one knows finally already that one has already in the past together a successful project responsibly. But just because you were able to work well with this person in the past does not automatically mean that the same is true for the new job.
Work behavior is determined by the environment, the setting and, of course, the work required. So you have to prove yourself anew in every new position.

As already mentioned, it is a process until you realize whether or not the right decision has been made when choosing an employee. It is only through a longer period of cooperation that the “true self” of a person becomes apparent.
Newcomers may need time to settle in before they can develop and show their full potential.
In contrast, some people lose their initial enthusiasm after some time.

Of course, there are also tips for employees to find the optimal company for long-term employment.

Feigning behavior

To pretend to be a workstation is illusory. Sooner or later you betray yourself and if you don’t, you will only be unhappy. With this attitude you won’t get every job, but that’s not the point. In the end, it’s about finding a job that makes you happy and that you enjoy doing for a long time.


Thinking that you are overqualified for banalities is the wrong approach to a good working relationship. Whether it is bringing someone a coffee, or bringing milk or fruit for the entire office. This is not inappropriate work, but appreciation for the team.


If there are fundamental differences between employers and employees in terms of their values and principles, it is better to look for another job. For example, an environmentally conscious person has applied for a job and during the interview he/she notices that the company is only profit-oriented and that they do not care about climate change, recycling, the oceans and nature. Even if this employment covers financial needs, this fundamental difference would affect the personal well-being.

Zu beachten

Also for employees applies: the first impression is not necessarily decisive, because, also here one can be deceived by different factors. One should not make the professional career dependent on the first meeting or conversation. Sometimes employers seem cool and reserved at the beginning, but then prove to be friendly managers.

It exists, the first impression, and we humans only need 150 milliseconds for it, as the well-known study by the Max Planck Institute for Economics shows. After seven seconds at the latest, the first impression is formed. Harvard University also conducted a study on this topic. After this short period of time, we already have our own, biased picture of our counterpart, without even knowing him or her. This image is based largely on our posture and facial expression. Even the language style plays an important role.
It is not the aim of this article to say that the first impression is unimportant and that it should not be considered. Of course, getting a good picture of yourself can be crucial. But at the same time, we must not attribute too much importance to it, otherwise we might miss opportunities.

For these reasons, my guiding principle on this subject is

“First impressions count, but second impressions really matter.”

By: Yvonne Maria Göstl & Kambis Kohansal Vajargah

Kambis Kohansal Vajargah ist Head of Startup-Services der Wirtschaftskammer Österreich. Als Entrepreneur, Company Builder und Startup Mentor unterstützt er außerdem Startups in der frühen Entwicklungsphase bei der marktreifen Umsetzung ihrer Ideen. Zu seinen erfolgreichen Unternehmungen zählen Startups, wie Carployee und die Softwareschmiede vendevio. Der Schwerpunkt seiner Tätigkeiten liegt in den Bereichen digitales Marketing, strategische Unternehmensentwicklung und Leadership Management. Vom World Economic Forum zum europäischen Digital Leader ernannt, treibt er als aktive Kraft die Digitalisierung Europas voran. Sein Motto: Believe. Execute. Learn Mehr zur neuen WKO Startup-Initiative, dem Head of Startup-Services, unseren Open Office Hours & der österreichweiten Spotlight-Tour: www.startupnow.at

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