Final Hiring Decisions Based on “Chemistry” Say HR Managers


November 17, 2009

Final Hiring Decisions Based on “Chemistry” Say HR Managers

Hiring managers size up candidates in 5-15 minutes of meeting

Alexandria, Va. A new SHRM poll, “Interviewing Do’s and Don’ts for Job Seekers,” shows that a majority of HR professionals — 54 percent — make their final decision to hire based on chemistry.

A closer look shows that 15 percent of HR professionals polled say “chemistry” is 75 percent of the final hire decision while 39 percent of those polled report chemistry is 50 percent of the final decision.

Highlighting the importance of chemistry, 30 percent of HR professionals say the “not-to-hire decision” is made within 15 minutes of meeting the job candidate. Another 28 percent make the decision to not hire someone within five minutes of meeting.

Interview Do’s

  • The SHRM poll also asked HR professionals to rank the characteristics and behaviors that stand out “most positively” during the interview. Nearly six in 10 (56 percent) HR managers polled rank first a candidate’s “skills directly related to the job” while 42 percent say “a good fit with team members/the organization”.
  • The HR professionals surveyed also say that candidates who stand out during the job interview demonstrate professionalism and a strong work ethic (32 percent), passion for the job (20 percent), and are personable (14 percent).

Interview Don’ts

  • While the SHRM poll details the qualities likely to get a candidate hired, it also shows what makes for a poor job candidate.
  • Among the 16 interview and recruiting deal breakers cited, HR professionals report the worst offenses to be:

Typos or grammatical errors in cover letters and resumes – (58 percent say “deal breaker” and 41 percent say “somewhat of a problem”);

Arriving late for the interview – (58 percent say “deal breaker” and 39 percent say “somewhat of a problem”); and

Dressing too provocatively – (67 percent say “deal breaker” and 28 percent say “somewhat of a problem”).

Social Networking Don’ts

  • HR managers said unprofessional social networking profiles include drunken party photos sexually suggestive content, and indiscreet comments about a former employer or boss.

Post-interview etiquette

  • Fifty percent of HR respondents surveyed say post-interview thank-you notes are best delivered via email (50 percent) compared with regular mail (28 percent), orcombination of both (17 percent).
  • The SHRM poll shows that HR professionals prefer candidates keep to a minimum inquiries about the status of the job opening. Specifically, 76 percent of HR respondents recommend job candidates call or email no more than once a week.Five percent say that a candidate should never call or email to inquire about the job opening post-interview.

About the Poll, “Interviewing Do’s and Don’ts for Job Seekers”

The SHRM poll highlighting interview strategies for job seekers surveyed 498 randomly selected SHRM members who are recruiting professionals.

Nearly 50 percent of the respondents work in large companies (500 or more employees), while 28 percent work in medium-size companies (100 to 499 employees), and 19 percent work in small companies (fewer than 100 employees).


About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at


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