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Impression Management

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”  This was a Head & Shoulders (shampoo) ad from the past.  This was also said to me in 10th grade English class – a story for another time. 

Candidate Market

News stories and articles tell us this all the time – finding people for jobs is a huge challenge in this market.  This is true with hourly employees as well as senior executive roles.  In January (2019), this Blog was about the candidate marketplace we are in.  I encouraged companies to never ‘settle’ and hire only when they found that great candidate.  That advice still holds.  This time, the Blog article is for the candidate. 


That is the Subject Line from a candidate who apparently wanted to get my attention.  The e-mail address used was mine (  The body of the e-mail started with:

  • To whom it may concern:

And this was the ‘content’ of the e-mail: 

  • I'm interested in exploring new opportunities and found your firm noted as one of the best in the state so I wanted to reach out and share my resume with you.  I also noticed that you do searches in IT and product, and that's right up my alley! Thank you, and I hope to connect soon!

There was a link to his resume.  I did not open it. 

Multiple First Impression Opportunities

Each candidate and each hiring organization has the opportunity to make multiple first impressions.  For the candidate, it can be the e-mail, LinkedIn message or phone call (likely leaving a voicemail).  For the organization, it can be how they respond (an auto-reply versus a personalized message), a voicemail left for the candidate, the ease of scheduling a meeting if that is the desired outcome, and how the candidate is treated during interviews. 

Back To The Candidate

Even in this market, each action you take is assessed.  The standard may change, but performance during your reach-out to the company (wording of the initial e-mail or voicemail) predicts how you will address people once you are there.  Past performance predicts future performance – it is one of the ways (a key method) hiring decisions are made. 

The Seasonality Of Search

We are about to enter the post-Labor Day job market.  Candidates who were on the sidelines during the summer are about to reenter.  The same is true for employers. 

Make All First Impressions Count!