First 12 words candidates say make or break the interview

Recruiters have already made up their minds about candidates within minutes of first meeting them, according to a new report.

Resurgo Trust, a charity which helps disadvantaged people into work, has conducted a study which found that recruiters judge jobseekers almost instantaneously on the quality of their small talk.

The report also explained that candidates without privileged backgrounds were more likely to struggle with small talk, and as such were put at a disadvantage during interviews.

Researchers who carried out the study found that the first 12 words candidates utter to an interviewer could be a deciding factor of whether or not they are offered the role. The first impression that jobseekers give to recruiters is made during the walk from the waiting area into the interview room, during which, according to the survey, the recruiter assesses their characteristics.

Iona Ledwidge, a spokesperson for the charity, explained the results to the MailOnline, saying: “Unlocking the secret world of the workplace is not about being posh. It is asking simple questions such as “How are you?” or “How was your weekend?”

“It is things like how you greet the receptionist, what you say in the first few minutes or when walking down the corridor. It is smoothing over the gaps; a lot is social graces which (some) young people haven’t been exposed to.

“Small talk is part of building confidence and communication skills in the workplace.”

In related news, last year Recruitment Grapevine reported on the amount of time recruiters spent looking at a candidate's CV...and you wouldn't believe the results. Click here to read the full story


What do you think? Is small talk all that important? Tell us in the comments below.

Comments (4)
Wed, 3 Feb 2016 4:04pm GMT
Voice of Reason@ Jacky Price
You're wrong.
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Tue, 2 Feb 2016 5:21pm GMT
Jacky Price
I find the idea of small talk being exclusive to privileged backgrounds a little offensive, narrow-minded and elitist.
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Thu, 28 Jan 2016 10:49am GMT
Claire Farley
This article really confirms by belief that traditional interviewing really should not be the only basis upon which you employ someone. Companies should start to think differently about interviewing full stop. It's far too one sided towards the recruiting company not the candidate. If you want to see the true working style of someone you need to see them in action, not judge their competence or their fit for the role based on asking them a series of questions.
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Wed, 27 Jan 2016 3:01pm GMT
Hmmm, yes and no. I think recruiters (me included) definitely make certain assumptions about people very quickly but I'd base my decision on the whole meeting, not just the first few seconds.

However...... how someone comes across in that first initial contact is often a very good indicator of what they are like. So while I wouldn't reject someone based on the first 12 words, I'd actually be surprised if they turned out better than they first seemed.
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