According to a running poll on Searchfirm.com, 39% of hiring managers feel they form an accurate opinion of a job candidate in less than five minutes. Thirty-three percent believe they can do it in less than 1 minute. This means 71% of hiring managers believe they form an accurate opinion of you within five minutes of meeting you. Whether they can really do this or not is irrelevant. They believe they can and so it is crucial to make a good impression in the first five minutes of the interview or else you’re not only wasting their time but yours. Who has ever driven fifty miles to a job interview or raced across town over their lunch break to interview for a new job? If you’ve done either of these, its a bit disconcerting to realize you could be out of the running in only five minutes. Naturally the hiring manager will continue to interview you for the next twenty minutes or so, but if you’re out of the running in the first five, than those extra twenty minutes are a waste of your time.
Monster and Careerbuilder, two large job boards, often post helpful articles for job seekers. To avoid five minute elimination you might try a few of these helpful interviewing techniques as listed in this article by Monster.
With every rejection however, have perspective. If you are turned down for a job, that does not mean you are not a good fit for every job, only for that one. Keep hitting the pavement and be yourself. The more interviews you do, the more skilled at interviewing you will become. Always keep in mind though that those first five minutes can be the most crucial.