First impressions really DO count: Employers make decisions about job applicants in under seven minutes

Next time you're at a job interview, make sure your first six minutes and 25 seconds count.

According to new research, that's exactly the amount of time you have to make a good first impression and clinch your dream job.

And it appears those early thoughts are significant because interviewers take just 385 seconds to decide if the candidate is right for the role.

The study shows how first impressions can completely ruin a candidate’s chance of being offered a job.

More than two thirds of employers (71 per cent are) are immediately put off if the interviewee has tattoos.

Meanwhile, 70 per cent also say the way a candidate applies makeup impacts on their first impression.

What’s more, six in ten bosses (62 per cent) say an interviewee’s dress sense has a big impact on their employability.

The research, carried out by , talked to 273 managers and 3,286 employees about their interview experiences.

It found bosses want their potential staff members to be able to hold eye contact when they are talking to them (82 per cent).

Employers also say an interviewee’s quality of ‘banter’ or small talk (60 per cent) influences their decision.

Meanwhile, more than half (55 per cent) also make up their mind based on the strength of their handshake.

But it appears employers rank first impressions as the second most important factor when considering a candidate.

The most important attribute is a candidate’s work experience (36 per cent), followed by first impressions (24 per cent) and their education (12 per cent).

And it also seems the majority of job seekers (70 per cent) are just as likely to be swayed by their first impressions.

They will decide whether to accept the job based on the interviewer’s handshake (60 per cent), their quality of small talk (58 per cent) and dress sense (50 per cent).

Corinne Sweet, an organisational behaviour psychologist, said: 'We make instant assumptions about people and can judge harshly or form fantasies.

'These are based on external factors including: style, tattoos, skin colour and their accent. These impressions can be right or wrong, but candidates should know employers are forming an opinion from the very first contact.

'Plus, employers should understand that employees are forming their impressions too.

'Of course first impressions need to be backed up by performance, but getting your foot in the door and succeeding during the interview - or even just getting one - is the main challenge these days.'