More than a third of candidates worldwide make a decision about a job within the first five minutes, or even sooner, according to research commissioned by Robert Half.

A study of 9,000 candidates in 11 countries across four continents revealed that nearly half admit they decide whether they would or wouldn’t accept a position straight after the initial meeting. Emphasizing the importance of first impressions, a further 20% know if they are interested after the first communication while 17% typically decide within the first five minutes of the interview. Less than one in 10 wait until they have completed subsequent interviews to decide and merely 7% decide during contractual negotiations.

Matt Weston, UK managing director at Robert Half, commented that top candidates are receiving multiple job offers in the current economic climate and are motivated by more than remuneration.

"Companies need to sell the job, the company culture, benefits and reasons why they are a great place for a prospective employee to build their career.”

Even once candidates accepted a role, 91% admitted they would consider leaving a job within the first month and 93% during their probation period.

Reasons for leaving during the first month include poor management and a discrepancy between the job in practice and how it was advertised. More than a third of respondents would consider leaving because of a mismatch with corporate culture, a lack of proper onboarding (36%) or they received a more attractive job offer (23%).

David D’Souza, membership secretary for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development believes that it’s vital that organizations don’t over-sell job opportunities.

"It makes sense you want to attract the best talent to the organization but if you attract by over-promising in terms of work environment and in terms of how you will be welcomed then it’s very easy for people to become disillusioned or distrustful.”

Weston believes that companies need to select attentively and hire passionately.

"Hiring managers need to give information in detail – have the discussions during the interview process and also after they hire about what the role or company is now and where it’s going. If you can get the employee on the journey with you early, they are more likely to be motivated to see it through.”

The lack of onboarding is symptomatic of hiring managers thinking that once they’ve made that hire that their job is done, remarks Weston.

"Hiring is only 50% of the job, the other 50% comes within the first 30 days and if you fail to embed them into the team, you’ve lost them.”

"Poor management is cited as one of the main reasons that people would consider leaving their job within the first month. D’Souza believes that organizations need to take the role of management far more seriously than they currently do. “It’s a key predictor of why people leave organizations. We don’t have enough investment in management skills.”

Weston advises organizations to think about their attraction, recruitment and retention practices in a more holistic manner.

"Long, drawn-out recruitment processes magnify the opportunity for a candidate to change their mind which in turn costs the company time and money. Businesses that are serious about finding the best talent need to commit to providing an efficient and engaging experience at every stage – from initial contact through on-boarding and beyond.”