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Avoid Moment 1 Mistakes When Hiring

Avoid Moment 1 Mistakes When Hiring

Nov 09, 2016

Lou Adler’s’ book, The Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired, talks about 5 mistakes companies often make when interviewing candidates in person. They refer to these as “Moment 1 Mistakes” because most of them happen in the first moment you meet the candidate.

At The Talmadge Group, we know first impressions matter, however, we force ourselves to wait until the END of the interview to actually measure our first impression, regardless of how impressive they may have been at the start of the process.

Here are 5 more ways Lou Adler recommends to avoid Moment 1 Mistakes:


When preparing for a face to face interview, put a little yellow post-it note on the resume to remind you to hold off any rush to judgement for at least 30 minutes after you meet the candidate. This gives the candidate time to get relaxed and gives you time to start the conversation. As in almost all interviews, it’s important to conduct a work-history review and ask the candidate one job related accomplishment question. After 30 minutes of conversation, your initial reaction to the candidate may have changed.


When you first greet the candidate, give yourself a plus or minus notation. Then, as Adler points out, do the exact opposite of what you would normally do. For people you gave a minus too, ask easier questions. This way you give them a chance to prove their skills for the position. On the flipside, ask those you first liked the tougher questions. You might even go out of your way to try and prove they are not qualified for the job and see if they can prove otherwise.


When talking with candidates, pretend they are paid consultants for the job they are interviewing for. If you were to outsource specific work to this consultant, what would they provide for the cost? This forces the candidate into a proactive role by putting you in the customer seat and them in the service seat.


Phone screening is not just a formality: it's a first-round interview and your willingness to spend time on the phone with a candidate up front can save you a lot of wasted time in the long run. A candidate's answers to phone screening interview questions allows you to quickly identify the most promising individuals so you only invite those with the highest scores in for a face to face interview.


Almost all candidates are nervous during interviews, especially at the start. Learn to expect it and see it as a plus because it could mean they really care about the job they want. However, if the obvious nervousness continues for 30 minutes or more, it could be a red flag that this candidate is not able to handle this position. One of the best ways to ease a candidate’s anxiety is to take them on a tour of your office or offer them something to drink. Moving around often helps candidates become more comfortable with their surroundings and also helps you keep your first impression sentiments in check!

Moment 1 Mistakes are common so it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of the candidate so you don’t make rush judgements in the first few minutes. Candidates will eventually show you their true colors, but only if you give them more than one moment to shine!