New research reveals more than two-thirds of jobseekers would turn down an offer of employment if their first impression of an organisation is substandard.
This is according to Monster.co.uk, which has published data on the factors influencing interviewees' decisions. The findings could help HR professionals ensure the recruitment process isn't jeopardised by external factors.
Appearances play a significant role in decision-making, with 35 per cent of interviewees saying they would not accept a job if they did not like a company's reception area.
Interviewers also play a key role and 50 per cent say they could be influenced by a recruiter's dress sense, while 60 per cent make judgements based on their handshake and 58 per cent on the quality of their conversations.
Some 51 per cent of job candidates said they would turn down a job if they were kept waiting too long in reception.
First impressions play a crucial role for both interviewers and interviewees. According to the report, applicants have just 6 minutes and 25 seconds during the first meeting in which to make a good impression on interviewers.
Only work experience (36 per cent) ranks higher than first impressions (24 per cent) in employers' minds, while education is the third most important factor (12 per cent).
Punctuality is the best way for candidates to make a good first impression, with 96 per cent of managers saying good timekeeping is important. Level of interview preparation is important for 93 per cent, while the ability to hold eye contact is valued by 82 per cent.
A candidate's physical appearance is also important to interviewers, with more than two-thirds (72 per cent) of employers admitting they would be deterred by tattoos and 62 per cent saying an applicant's dress sense could influence their decision making.
Corinne Sweet, organisational behaviour psychologist, commented: "We make instant assumptions about people and can judge harshly or form fantasies, based on external factors including: style, tattoos, skin colour and their accent. These impressions can be right or wrong, but employers need to understand that employees are forming their impressions too!"