Do you believe in the "First Act"

As Managers or interviewers many a times, we get impressed by the 'first act'. Some call it "first impression". I consciously call it the 'first act', as this makes a whole lot of difference, in building quick value, of what we got impressed by.
Be it excellent introduction to that metaphoric quote or an intended pun!, we usually get swayed by the 'first act.'

I remember a candidate talking too tall at his introduction session, on the New Hire Orientation day to bunch of joiners, where he mentioned that he has got 7 years of experience working in Mobile tech services sales, client engagement, huge experience in Employee Relations function and has his own plastic business running for past 7 years. Looks like very enterprising and to some accomplished and arrived in life.
Come day -2 or at expanse , week-2 and you will be surprised to see how quickly that enigma of the "first act" fizzles! The same came true with the above mentioned "cosmetic" profile.

Though do not get biased with every "first act"! It is anyways, an entertaining Game!

I have found many such "first acts" falling through in later appearances/encounters, especially, when that person hits the "brass-tacks" earlier than he/she thought, and here comes the wall!

Watch out for the "first act" to keep your acts (read plans) together!

How can you test the "first act"?
Remember, "first acts" are powerful and rehearsed tools!
Best way to handle is not to express surprise or express joy or glitter in your eyes, over what is claimed/said.

Surprise is a weak stand, as surprise is a state of confusion more than excitement!

Ideal way to manage the "first act" maker is, by putting her/him, in  polite yet, uncomfortable position, from the first response/question!
Play with your eyes! Keep posture straight and controlling, arms on the table or on your knees, firmly placed and no movement, look into person's eyes with intensity and keep looking (with serious interest) "emotion & expression less". Keep your interest intact!
Let that person complete what he/she has to say. Do not interrupt, even if the speech is too long! Keep your attention and eyes still firm with smallest smile through your lips (remember your smile shall shut faster than you blink). Take a good 5 Sec pause and ask your shortest question to her first sentence, she uttered to clarify. "First actors" normally, do not remember what they said, when they started.

For example, if he said, I have 12 years of experience selling Server solutions. Ask what was your first product/Service offering?
Keep asking small and quick questions, next one, which year was this?, DO NOT ALLOW TOO MUCH DETAILS. EXPECT ANSWERS AS QUICK AS YOUR QUESTIONS ARE. Next, who was your first client? Next,what was the deal value? Next, Who were your competitors for that account? Next,
How much time it took from first call to closure?, Next, What were your 3 apprehensions (deal breakers) on winning this account?, Next, where do you place this client in your account list (key/non-key) and why?...


"First actors" or fakers, who fake it to make it are never ready for rapid fire quick questions!

Conduct your testing and validation rounds of questions, like Karan Johar does in Coffee with Karan and Karan Thapar does in his show "Hard talk".

Remember, whether you uncover the first actor or discover a great guy, after your tough talks, you will take a better decision, than you ever thought.
Fakers fear tough guys and great guys love tough guys and want to work with!

All the best!


  1. Good article, and equally good finishing with the reference of both the Karan's! (Though their attributes don't match anywhere closer, the former being an ambivalent entertainer and the latter an exemplary orator owing to his genes inherited to him by his father who was a col. in Raj Rif)

    I would agree to most of it however this idea should not make the recruiter/interviewer self-complacent and the "First response" should not become an adapted reaction which may take away the zeal from the candidate.

    What worries me more is the expectation mismatch and poor branding (of their respective employers) which is done unknowingly by both the parties.

    I wish the candidates become more smart (little less that I am :) ) and the recruiters get the clue of an artificial candidate irrespective of so called "experience" which's highly over-rated in India!



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