First impressions count - one in four people decide on a job within first five minutes of an interview

Latest research from Robert Half UK finds 53% of people make up their minds about a new job before their first interview has even finished.

•    53% of people make a decision about a job opportunity during the first interview 
•    24% make that decision within the first five minutes of the interview 

London, 15 March 2018 – Over half (53%) of people make up their minds about a new job before their first interview has even finished, research by Robert Half UK reveals. In fact, almost a quarter of job hunters (24%) decide whether it’s for them within five minutes of their first meeting. 

For many, deciding if they want to work for a company, comes even earlier in the job hunting process. Nearly two in five (37%) settle on whether a role or company is the right fit for them after the very first contact with the firm – including calls or emails to set-up an interview or asking for more information. 

However, even after capturing initial interest, businesses could still lose out on a great candidate if they don’t move quickly. Nearly three in five (58%) job hunters will look at alternative options if they are left waiting to hear back about the next stage of the recruitment process for too long.

“We often talk about why candidates should make a good first impression at an interview. But more and more job interviews are becoming an opportunity for the employer to convince a candidate of the role, as much as the candidate is selling themselves for the position,” commented Matt Weston, Managing Director at Robert Half UK. “The UK is in the middle of a skills shortage, and as a result, strong candidates are in the driving seat when looking for their next opportunity. Employers should recognise that these skilled candidates are evaluating their company and the job opportunity at every stage of the process – not just during the interview itself.”

To effectively attract a new hire to your business, avoid these common interview mistakes:

1.    Poor time management
It’s expected that interviewees should arrive on time, or even 10 minutes early. Yet, hiring managers aren’t as concerned about leaving a candidate waiting in reception while they organise themselves. Being respectful of the candidate’s time can only present your company in a positive light.

2.    Not familiarising yourself with the candidate’s CV
Simply having a printed copy of the candidate’s CV at hand you during the job interview is not enough. Just as interview preparation is important for the candidate, you should take time to review the candidate’s education, experience and skills so that time in the interview can be used effectively.

3.    Becoming distracted
Checking emails or taking phone calls during the job interview doesn’t allow you to be fully present. Not only is it rude to interrupt a candidate’s response to your questions, but it also means that you risk missing the subtle cues on whether the candidate is a good fit for your firm.

4.    Not having structure to the job interview
You should have a clear understanding of the expertise, characteristics and qualities of the ideal candidate and tailor your interview questions accordingly. Asking questions that are obscure, unexpected or left field can appear unprofessional and interrupt the flow of the interview.

5.    Unable to ‘sell’ the company and role
Strong candidates will have already researched the company and will be expecting to learn more insights directly from the interviewer. An interview is a two-way street, therefore it’s important to consider the key attractions of the role and company and how the candidate will develop his/her career in the long-term.

Robert Half has provided a list of recommendations for hiring managers to streamline the hiring process. To find out more, visit


Research methodology 
The study was developed by Robert Half and conducted in December 2017 - January 2018 by an independent research firm among 1,000 jobseekers in the UK. This survey is part of an international study on hiring trends and career ambitions in the modern workplace.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at and