Survey Finds Employers Form Opinions of Job Interviewees Within 12 Minutes

    TORONTO, April 25 /CNW/ - Hiring managers often know whether they might
hire someone soon after the opening handshake and small talk, a new survey
suggests. Executives polled said it takes them just 12 minutes to form an
opinion of job seekers, despite meeting with staff-level applicants for an
hour and management-level candidates for 103 minutes, on average.
    The survey was developed by Robert Half Finance & Accounting, the world's
first and largest specialized financial recruitment service. It was conducted
by an independent research firm and includes responses from 100 senior
Canadian executives.
    Canadian executives were asked, "How long does it typically take you to
form either a positive or negative opinion of a job candidate during an
initial interview?" The mean response was 12 minutes.
    In addition, executives were asked, "How many minutes, on average, do you
spend meeting with a staff-level candidate during a job interview?" The mean
response was 60 minutes.
    Respondents were also asked, "How many minutes, on average, do you spend
meeting with a management-level candidate during a job interview?" The mean
response was 103 minutes.
    "The interview begins the moment job seekers arrive, so applicants need
to project enthusiasm and confidence from the start," said Max Messmer,
chairman and CEO of Robert Half International and author of Job Hunting For
Dummies(R), 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). "The opening minutes of the
conversation often set the tone for the rest of the discussion, making it wise
to prepare especially well for the first few interview questions."

    Following are five questions frequently asked at the beginning of an
interview and tips for responding:

    1.  Can you tell me a little about yourself? Concisely discuss your
        professional goals and interests as they relate to the job
        opportunity. Your answer should provide insight into why you are the
        right fit for the position and the company.

    2.  What do you know about our firm? Research the business beforehand and
        be prepared to describe how your skill set and experience will help
        you contribute to its success.

    3.  Why do you want to work here? Whether it's the company's values,
        history of success or reputation in the industry that attracted you,
        respond in a way that shows you understand the organization's
        priorities and business objectives.

    4.  Why are you looking to leave your current position? Keep your answer
        focused on the opportunity - for example, a chance to advance your
        career. Remain positive and avoid disparaging other employers.

    5.  What is your most significant professional accomplishment? Cite an
        achievement that demonstrates your abilities and shows you value

    Founded in 1948, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a division of Robert
Half International, has more than 350 locations throughout North America,
Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, and offers online job search services at

    EDITOR'S NOTE: To schedule an interview for local commentary in Montreal,
Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton or Vancouver, please contact Jason
Chapman at 416-350-2330 extension 62070.

For further information:

For further information: Jason Chapman at (416) 350-2330 extension

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